Happy 70th Birthday Mam!!

Yes.....She made it!! And here's the proof!

My strong words last Wednesday obviously did the trick. There's definitely a lesson there for me too. The nurses helped by saying the same to her. I rang her EVERY day to re-inforce the "lesson".

I had a bit of a mad weekend getting things organised for Sunday, but I got there. I collected her at 11.30 am. The nurses had her looking lovely. They'd washed and blow-dried her hair , painted her nails and dressed her in the clothes I'd brought in to her on Saturday.

So, we went to mass first. That was fun. I'd Snuggles on one side of me wanting to go to the toilet just before the Priest came out! He was as giddy and chatty as hell, i.e. Bored!! "How many minutes left Mum..... How many minutes left Mum.... How many....." you get the picture!! Meanwhile herself was snoring on the other side of me!! Then, when it came to the part where my dad's name was to be mentioned I had to keep poking her awake whilst shushing Snuggles ( "What's his name Mum....What's his name mum....what's etc etc"!!- he doesn't remember him) Gaawwwdd!!! And then of course, the Priest never mentions my dad at all!! After all that!

Like I say........ fun!

But, we lit a candle and the nice young Priest apologised and said he'd do it at the evening Mass. Problem sorted.

We got to the Barracuda Restaurant, very early so we had a cup of tea while waiting for the others to arrive. When my mam is well she eats CONSTANTLY, so she asked the waiter for something to eat with the cuppa! I persuaded her not to as we'd be having a 4 course lunch soon ...... or at least I thought I had persuaded her. When I came back from the loo there she was snaffling half a packet of biccies she had stashed away in her handbag!! Mortification!! Here she is too busy munching to smile!.......

I was caught trying to hide the evidence by the very nice, and extremely helpful, Manager!! he told me not to be worrying and that he'd have given her a scone!

By this stage I'd told her exactly who'd be coming as I knew she could now handle it. She was delighted! Her sister and her best friend for years (in pink top) came along .......

Sorry photo's a bit blurred .... my camera's acting up on me. Anyway, her friend P shares the same Birthday with her. She'll be 76 this Thursday and celebrated it the previous night..... so she had a bit of a hangover and wasn't drinking wine!! EVER AGAIN!! Sound familiar??!!. She's a real character and SO independant. She still drives, babysits her Grandchildren and goes to weekly classes. She's a great artist and makes wonderful jewellery. She made my mam a lovely necklace from fabulous beads, for her Birthday. They were presented in a handmade gift box with a handmade birthday card. She's an amazing woman ..... and great fun! She'd lots of one liners. Her best one was announcing to the whole group that her fabulous Chocolate Brownie dessert was "good for your sex life"!! It's a pity she lives so far away because shes' a good influence for my mam.

Her two friends from home came along too, representing her friends in the Local Ladies Club.

They brought some lovely presents for her too. Soon the whole group was there, we kept it small so no stress .............

My two cousins, Godchild and sister-in-law completed the group.

Everyone made a complete fuss of her and she got lots of pressies. Mostly clothes. That need name tags sewn on them. Guess who gets that lovely job??!!

And as for Snuggles? He was a great boy ...... very well behaved in the restaurant. Sure he had company.......

........ the same company he'll have in Legoland!! I am SO looking forward to that! xx J
P.S. I'll do that tag next Blogdog.... didn't want to put it in this post!

Stop This Mental Health RollerCoaster... I Wanna get off.

I've been a secondary passenger on this RollerCoaster ride for most of my life, as I accompany my mother through the Highs and Lows. I'm not a willing passenger...I HATE RollerCoasters....but I don't have any choice. Neither does my brother, or his wife...or Mr Jazzy, or even Snuggles...now that I come to think of it. We are ALL affected by it though. My mother mostly, of course.

With most RollerCoasters you can see the HIGHS and the LOWS ahead.... you know what's coming and WHEN. You can even choose whether or not to get on board. With some RollerCoasters there's even scary Loop-the- Loops. Our RollerCoaster definitely has Loop-the-Loops. It also has a name, it's called: The Bi-Polar Express. But there's no plan with our RollerCoaster, you can't really see what's ahead. The Highs and Lows ...and the Loop-the-Loops...come at you out of the blue. They can totally blindside you. My mother, of course is the most affected by this.... she has no say in when they occur either. Or does she?

I am now going to ask a really difficult question here..... and I wholeheartedly apologise in advance if I offend anyone reading this who suffers with Depression. This question is based on my perspective of a close family member dealing with Mental Illness, it doesn't reflect anyone elses. It is a genuine question asked for genuine reasons.

How selective is Mental Illness??

Is it possible to choose when you'll have a Nervous Breakdown??


Do you simply choose to OPT OUT when life is tough or things are simply not going your way??


Is it that you suffer from Depression or Bi-Polar Disorder and have no control over when it hits??

Then again, maybe it's a mixture of all three??

Or maybe I'm just being cold and heartless.

But, before you judge me, please let me explain why I ask this question.

My mam will be 70 on the 30th April which is next Thursday. She has been suffering with Depression since she was 19 and has been on medication since that time. Counselling for depression wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eyes then. She's been given a few different Diagnoses over the years. The latest one, given a long time ago, is Bi-Polar Disorder with Dementia. The Dementia bit was only added in the last 8 yrs approx. Like with all labels given to members of this family, sometimes the professionals argue about what the correct one is! Hence I'm using the umbrella term for the title of this Post i.e. Mental Illness. A bit like the umbrella term PDD-NOS used within Autism Diagnoses!! We're back to that old chestnut.... the Wolf and the Duck.... eh Lisadom?! In fact someone will probably diagnose my mam with BP-NOS. Believe it or not there is such a label!

There's no doubt that my mam has had a tough life. But she's been a brilliant mam, when she's been well enough. She raised us well.

The past 11 years were very difficult for her though. Both my brother and I moved out within 12 months of each other. Shortly after that, my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers (aged 60) and died 4 yrs later. It's his 8th Anniversary this Sunday actually. And , of course in the middle of all of this, Snuggles was born.

Then, 5 years ago this August, She had a Triple By-Pass, followed by a massive stroke. She was in hospital for 3 months. Most Triple By-Pass patients are home within 3 weeks. Unfortunately, her stay was also prolonged by Psychiatric episodes, MRSA and C-Diff. As a result of this she (reluctantly) agreed to go into a Nursing Home. She needs constant care....more so when she is mentally unwell. There is very limited support for Psychiatric Patients in Ireland... Monday to Friday. There is ZILCH at weekends.

You see... in Ireland, if you break your leg you may have to wait a few hours in A & E, but it will be fixed. But, if your head/mind is "broken"??? TOUGH. Wait until Monday ( Tuesday if it's a Bank Holiday ), or..... as we're usually told.........WAIT TIL OUR NEXT CLINIC!!! That could be a week away! I kid you not. So keeping her at home is NOT an option. We have had some truly HORRENDOUS experiences at home (through lack of support) believe me. At least in the nursing home there are nurses there who can take care of her properly until the rest of the HSE gets "with the programme".

Unfortunately, she's not really happy in the Nursing Home. We're reluctant to move her though, because the level of care there is great. Particularly when the Bi-Polar Express runs through. No guarantee we'd get that anywhere else. When she's well she's great though! She's very lucid and we take her out everytime we visit. She comes home to our house for the day....regularly. So, she gets out a bit. Not all the residents do.

So now, back to my question....and my current dilemma.

My mam's Bi-Polar hits every 3 to 4 weeks approx. It takes about 2 weeks, maybe longer to get back on track. And then the cycle starts again.

So, does she choose to be unwell or does the Bi-Polar choose her??

Sometimes it does just happen.

But I think at other times she can make it happen. There are ways of doing this. She can simply choose NOT to take her tablets..... she KNOWS the effect this can have. It is a finely tuned cocktail of tablets she takes on board every day. Must be a total pain for her, in fairness. I mean, it's kind of understandable isn't it? "I feel fine, so why do I need to keep taking the tablets"? Most people on Anti-biotics say that.... and their ailment returns with a vengance when they stop the course. But I don't believe that's the reason she stops.

There are also preceeding incidents ....... or Triggers..... that set off her behaviour. The most common one is when I tell her I'm going on Holidays..... even just going away for a weekend will do the trick. My brother, on the other hand, can go away whenever he likes. I do not say this lightly.... I've proved it. I now only tell her the day before I go away and she's perfectly fine while I'm gone.

Upcoming events are also a Trigger. Like Christmas for example.

At the moment she knows it's her 70th soon. There was talk of maybe a small gathering to celebrate. She wanted it....didn't want it.... wanted it....... Bi-Polar paranoia setting in, big time. So, to defuse the situation I stopped entertaining any talk of it.... and went ahead and booked the restaurant for Sunday Lunch for 12 people. This Sunday. I've also arranged for a Mass to be said for my dad so I'm bringing her to mass too. Snuggles and I will be bringing her..... while Mr Jazzy plays golf in bloody Portugal!!

Oh, and more importantly, she's aware that Snuggles and I are going away for a weekend "in May". I truly believe that's the real trigger. ( We're off to Legoland in Denmark on May 1st!! Shhhh say NOTHING yet!!)

As we approach these dates, The Bi-Polar Express is stopping and starting CONSTANTLY for the last 2 weeks. It came just before Easter, right on schedule and left very quickly. Only to return, completely unscheduled within 10 days. It is totally bizarre. One day she's completely incoherent ( unless there's something important she wants you to know...like "I can't open my easter Egg!") and can't be brought anywhere. The next day she's absolutely fine... not a bother. I get a sense that she's opting in and out. The staff agree with me.... you see they now know her pretty well. So it's no longer me (or my brother) saying it.

For example 2 days ago she was totally incoherent but yesterday I took her out and we had a lovely lunch. I got firm with her and asked her how come she was so well today and not the day before?? She told me that she told herself to get up and get on with it.... something like that . She DECIDED to be well, you see. She absolutely made that choice.

So, I tried a bit of Marte Meo and said "I know it's hard for you, I do understand but I want you to remember that feeling tomorrow morning and do EXACTLY the same thing. And do it every morning." I told her she had the power to be well or unwell. It was her choice and that we would help her. I told her about the lunch and the Mass and she seemed happy about it .... at the time. I asked her not to let her 70th Birthday slip by as it only happens once. We shook hands on it and she promised me. If I could have set up a Star Chart or given her check-marks for reaching her goals I would have!!!

I'm being hard on her because I want her to enjoy the occasion. Life is easier FOR HER when she's well. But I won't be mentioning the upcoming trip to legoland! And woe betide anyone who does!!

So, now I'm gonna make the dreaded call and see if the Bi- Polar Express has arrived today...... on current scheduling it would be due!

Wish me luck!! I truly hope to be posting pictures of a 70th Birthday celebration here on Sunday evening!! xx J

Scamp Update: The Hound from Hell!

I Thought I'd do an update on our mad, unruly, Hound-Dog Scamp! He truly is a handful and while it's fair to say he has calmed down somewhat since last summer he ain't no Blogdog.... that's for sure! There's no amount of money that would pay for training him at this stage!

The last time I wrote about him was here.... recounting the sorry tail (!) of when he had a large portion of his ear bitten off ( see other post under "Scamp" if this link doesn't work.) He has now fully recovered and you wouldn't even notice that he's missing some of his gorgeous ear. BrayVet did a great job!

Scamp can still be a little hyper at times. Especially when he's in the house. He won't settle and he can't stay still and be petted.... or get his photo taken !

He begs to come in......

......... and then runs mad around the place when he gets in! Please excuse the state of the garden...haven't got around to fixing that up yet! Hey, we're not that long back home yet!

Then, when my back is turned, he INSISTS on sitting where he's NOT allowed.......

Please?? Just for 5 minutes? I'll be good..... pwomise!!

Oh, alright then. It's the ONLY time he behaves in the house.

He loves his comfort outside too. He also loves to sunbathe. Here's his favourite, most comfortable position.......

Of course, as soon as my back is turned he sits here..........

"Get Down Scampy!!"

He also LOVES his walks. And there are lovely places to walk around here. We're 5 mins from a stoney beach (via a lovely, leafy, country lane) which is right beside a park. I can let him off the lead now. He comes back to me for treats. He knows the rules..... I call him........ he runs back to me.......

....and I say "Good Boy" ...... and then he waits til I say the magic word....."TREAT".... and he immediately receives his treat! So, it's kinda Doggie ABA....if you like! There's no recorded data though!

Sometimes we go further afield and he travels in the boot of the car......

He has no problem with this now. Everytime we open the boot...... or the car doors.... in he jumps!

In fact, ahem........ anytime ANY car door/boot is open, in he jumps!! He still goes M.I.A. a bit. Especially there in January when the Painters were inside the house and the Builder was outside doing the patio, we simply could not contain Scamp ! So he kept getting away. He jumped into the builders car one day with his extremely mucky paws! Builder had barely opened his door and in Scamp got! He also got into a couple of neighbour's houses and was up the stairs and in their bedrooms.... mucky paws and all!! God, I was so embarrassed! They understood.... kind of!

The funniest thing though, was when he got as far as the local recycling Plant which is a good distance away. And, as you know there are lots of cars at these plants..... with their carboots wide open!! Yeah, you guessed it .... Scamp was trying to get into all the cars!! "Walkies please"!! Thankfully, there was a very nice man in charge who rang our house CONSTANTLY til the painter friend of mine answered and arranged to go collect the dog!!

There are some very nice dog-friendly people about so we've been very lucky. He ran off again last week and was found by a dog-lover (who minds dogs when you're away.... hmmm that's handy, I got his number!!!) and he reckons Scamp is a Beagle/ Harrier mix . We'd thought he was a Beagle/ Foxhound mix. Well, I googled Harrier. I know the markings are different.... Scamp has very little Tan colour in him... but facially they're very similar. Don't you think?

Scamp eats everything.... still. It's a nightmare, I can't leave him alone for a second. Here's a selection of his recent feasts.......

Yep.... I caught him eating the battery out of my mobile phone..... Snuggles pocket- money.... one of a pair of slippers from Santa, and... a cuddly toy!! I was very upset about the cuddly toy actually. It was part of a 21st present I got, many moons ago! He was called George and is of great sentimental value to me.

You see, George became our show mascot for the many shows we did throughout the years. It became absolutely mandatory for every female dancer ( the boys weren't allowed!) to kiss George before we went on stage! Woe betide anyone who didn't! It became a tradition. In fact, you could say George was kind of famous! And now he's missing an ear..... a paw and both his eyes. How sad!!

Scamp is kind of a Dumb Dog, really. I mean he actually tries to catch Bees and Wasps in his mouth!! He still eats poos.... and the glass door! He thinks he can bite his way through! And when that doesn't work he licks it.... softening it up so he can get in!! He's always trying to drink the sea water, he just NEVER learns.......

Then again..... he knows when it's walkies.... basically anytime he sees us put on our shoes or coats! He's also worked out when it's his dinner time.... and ours..... and that that's around the time he's allowed inside for a while, otherwise he scratches my new back door to pieces. He doesn't scratch it too much for the rest of the day ( when it's just me around.) And when it's dark out it's bedtime and he goes into his kennel....... for the night! Usually, that is! So, he's kinda clever..... for a Dumb Dog, that is! Doncha think??!

Also, he has very good Social Skills. And he nows how to initiate a conversation appropriately with another dog .........

........ if you catch my drift!

He's a very good natured dog. Very friendly towards people (too friendly sometimes!) and other dogs. He is not aggressive....... even now, after been attacked by those horrible dogs last year. In fact, he knows just what to do if another dog is aggressive with him. He simply..... "walks away"!! Well, he hasn't quite worked out how to "Tell an Adult" yet!!

He may be a Hound from Hell but..... he's OUR Hound from Hell!! Very much part of the family. xx J

The 2000th Hit Prize....... It Could Be You!!

For the 2000th hit on this blog.........

............... A Virtual Bottle of Champagne!
Now I know, like Hammie, we'd all prefer the real thing but sure it's a bit of fun!!
At last glance it was 1975.....only 25 to go!!
Remember..... Please comment and collect! xx J

Out and About in "Pre-Boom" Dublin Today......

Right. I'm fighting the urge real bad, and am resisting writing the post that's in me to write slating this Government and bemoaning our (public Servant) serious reduction in salary (€440pm, i.e. €110pw). It's extremely worrying. I'm on Career Break and can't get back, even if I wanted to (which I don't.....too busy with Snuggles) and currently have no services for him. How are we supposed to pay privately for them now?????
Anyway...nuff said! I am going to remain positive, and send positive vibes out there to the wild and wonderful Universe! All will be well! Somehow.
Whilst I'm with Hammie on banning the "r" word I'm stretching that further and banning the other "r" word....... "re...s...n"! From here on in it will be known as our "Pre-Boom" period! As suggested by our school's "Pre -Boom 2nd hand Book Fair". I LOVED that and held it back planning another post around it! These things are cyclical. Things will turn around. Not to the heady days of the Celtic Tiger...but that's no bad thing. That was too much. Too many people got greedy.
And so, to today. I planned a trip to the National Museum of Ireland in Kildare St. Snuggles likes History. He constantly asks me questions like: "what was it like in the caveman days or in the olden times...how did people cook ... what did they wear" etc, etc, etc. How old does the child think I am for Godsakes?!!! I was tiring of that so I thought I'd let him see for himself!
It was amazing! We saw the extremely long (2.5m I think?) dug-out canoe found in a bog in 1902 that was thousands of years old. We saw bodies, or parts of bodies, again found in bogs that dated from 400BC - 175 BC. The hair was intact! And fingernails...some teeth even! The preservative qualities of our boglands are truly amazing.
And it was free! No entrance fee! I was however, relieved of €15 in the giftshop! The little monkey! Although, he (kind of) agreed to pay something towards it from his "stash"!!
Then we strolled down Nassau St, as we were to meet Mr Jazzy at the bottom of Grafton St after work. Gosh, that was a stroll down Memory Lane for me! I used to work in Setanta Centre.... above Kilkenny Design... in the 1980's. Income Tax at that time was up to 70% for high earners at the height of things! In the era when our then Taoiseach Charlie Haughey told us to tighten our belts ( as he lived the high life) the low-middle waged paid tax at 65% on a salary of €15,000pa!! But you see....that eventually proved to be our "Pre-Boom" era also!
We then paid a quick visit to Marks & Spencers, where I bought some clothes for my Mother's 70th Birthday gathering which will be on 26th April. If her mental health holds out that is (I haven't told her I've booked anything yet, to ensure she stays well!) No bargains there though....hmmm. Everything full price. Cop on M & S! Maybe we should start "naming and shaming"?!!
Then we met a lucky ( I hope!) Leprechaun at the bottom of Grafton St! Threw 50c into the hat for the luxury of taking a photo!

And we saw the Molly Malone statue dubbed the "Tart with the Cart"!! No charge here! That was presented to the city in 1988!! Oh my..... I'm older than I thought!!

Then we headed to Thunder Road Cafe for Tea! Nice treat after busy day.

Unexpected bargain to be had here! Good EarlyBird special! 2 course meal for €13.95 with free glass of wine! And as Mr jazzy doesn't drink wine, guess who got his glass? Yup...me!! This day just keeps getting better!

And then we rode off into the night.........

......... Nah, we got the Dart home! But that's a WHOLE other story! (This is not the place to disclose the conversation we overheard....believe me!)

I think the label "Rambling Ruminations" is DEFINITELY a good fit for this post!!!!

Night night!! xx J

Hammie's Definitive Q & A

Thanks to Hammie for tagging me to do this mother-of-all Q and A session! And just when I thought I had gotten enough Brain Training from all those Mainstream Posts too! I thought I could just sit back and retire early into blissful oblivion.

Ah now, can't be having that! Onwards and upwards.

Right so, finger tips at the ready...... deep breath and away we go................

Here are the guidelines:

1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention; add a question of your own.

2. Tag eight other un-tagged people.

What is your current obsession? Oh, gotta be blogging and facebook. I will really have to start curtailing myself. Seriously. Dinners are late. "Hey Snuggles: go start the dinner"...... a lesson in Independance??? Child abuse more like! House cleaning, dog walking, grocery shopping etc put on hold.

Am also quite addicted, but not obsessed, with that evening glass of wine after a hectic day!

Good Coffee Shop Whilst I don't drink coffee, (yuck!) Philistine that I am, I do enjoy a good cuppa and scone (with jam AND cream!) In Avoca Handweavers, Kilmacanague, Co Wicklow. With a good friend of course. Or without.... I'm easy!

Do you nap a lot? Hey, you're talkin to the Queen of Power Naps here! I tend to "hit the wall" EVERY day at about 2pm. I keep it together to get himself from school and as "he's very tired and needs a rest" (or so I convince myself!) I give him a snack and some TV for 30 mins while I snooze on the couch! I swear to God it totally revives me. To be recommended. When possible.

Who was the last person you hugged? Oh, Snuggles of course. 10 times a day. He's so..... what's the word??....eh..... "snuggable"!!

What’s for dinner? We had Superquinn Chicken Kiev with baby potatoes (with REAL butter on top!), carrots and Sugar Snap Peas cooked with Garlic, Ginger, Olive Oil and red & black pepper flakes. You see I knew I'd have to answer this question today so I made an effort! Back to frozen fish, croquette potatoes and peas for dinner tomorrow so....ha ha ha!

What was the last thing you bought? I bought a white & black crossover dress in Dunnes Stores! Well, I'm keeping my spends for hols!

What are you listening to right now? Snuggles sitting in the other room playing on Nintendo, some yells of delight and tears of frustration whilst TV is on in the backround! All while I'm feeding my current obsession with blogging! See what I mean? I should be out there helping him to make up his Bionicle toy. Ah well, there's always tomorrow!

What is your favourite weather? That's easy: sun and a pleasant heat. And I have to be free just to sit, relax and enjoy it.

What’s on your bedside table? Em, a lamp, an alarmclock/radio that's never used, bottle of Avon Nail Strengthener and 3 boxes of photos to be put in albums. They're there 2 years. Did I also mention that I am TOTALLY the Queen of Procrastination??

Oh, and a cuddly toy! Couldn't resist the Generation Game quip!!

Say something to the person/s who tagged you. Hammie you are truly Hamazing. I am in awe of you. Not only for all you do but for your generosity of spirit in encouraging others in their endeavours.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be? I have to be real boring here and say....there's no place like home. Particularly after all we've been through the last few months with house flooding, having to move out to the Horrible House of Horrors and dealing with builders etc! Nothing like that to make you appreciate your home. Especially when you end up with a new kitchen, furniture and FAB extention!! Oh, yeah..... oh yeah!!

Of course, had I been asked this question BEFORE last August my answer might have been quite different! I probably would have said a house in the sun. Gotta be sun! You know those Villas they show on those Househunter TV programmes? Some of them are divine...not the ones in the cities though. A little bit out from the towns yet not too far sounds good!

Favourite vacation spot? Clonea Strand Hotel, Dungarvan, Co Waterford for short breaks in Ireland. HEAVEN. And Estival Park, La Pineda (near Salou) in Spain for our annual break. We will be making our 4th visit there in May, such creatures of habit are we! Well, nuthin like knowing the layout of a place when you get there..... removes all the stress. And, as we're regulars, we get upgraded to ground floor 2 bed Appartment on arrival if one's available! Fingers crossed. Clonea Strand also look after us extremely well... they NEVER charge us for snuggles! Hope to make it there this year too.

Name the things you can’t live without. Snuggles, Mr Jazzy and snuggles with Snuggles! Although I'm quite addicted to my mobile phone I could live without it. I certainly give it plenty of practise as I constantly leave it behind me or leave it uncharged!! Just when I need it most!

What is your favourite tea flavour? I love Barry's Gold Label for "normal" Tea drinking. I like Green Tea and Earl Grey for a change. Oh.... and I really liked that Peppermint Tea I got a pressie of.

What would you like to get rid of? The flabby bits!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

Somewhere, hotel probably, that has a large Jacuzzi Bath filled with Lavender scented bubbles, surrounded by Lavender scented candles, a good book and a looong cold glass of wine. Ahh.... Heaven!

What did you want to become as a child? A Dancer and an Air Hostess??!!

What do you miss? When Mr Jazzy and I were going out and during our first year of marriage, we used to go a certain pub after work on a friday, get the last bus home and get chips from the chipper!! Ah the simple things! It was fun! I missed that, for a while.
The freedom to do it, that is. But not for long! Other fun things have taken it's place.

What are you reading right now? I just finished the splendid "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and am now reading the thought provoking "The Memory Keepers Daughter". They are both a welcome change from my usual diet of Forensic and Psychological Thriller based novels I normally devour. Actually, they are another obsession of mine!

What's your favourite brand of jeans? I love my Tommy Hilfiger jeans I bought in Orlando last year. And they still fit too!

What designer piece of clothing would you most like to own (new or vintage)?

I'm not really into designer labels but I'd like to own something I didn't buy in Dunnes Stores .... or M & S!! You should have seen me shopping (for myself) in the Outlets in Florida last year! Totally hopeless! I walked out of Nine West and Guess 'cos I just couldn't choose..... Brain Overload! If I ever go on a shopping trip to Boston or NY I'd need a personal shopper! And I have just the friend for that job..... she can sniff out a bargain at 10 paces!

If you could go back in time and talk to your 17 year old self, what would you say? (Hammie's own question )

  1. You will live up to what you say and you won't get married 'til you're in your 30's.

  2. Meanwhile, you will travel to many wonderful places..... Bermuda...... Africa..... Australia...... Bangkok......... Bali.

  3. You will live at home for waaay too long. How else do you think you'll get to do all that travelling!

  4. You CAN and you WILL learn to drive.

  5. You will get to dance in many great (and some not-so-great!) shows. You will also form many great friendships during that time.

  6. Some years later you will get to rekindle some of those friendships through a yet-to-be-invented social medium: Facebook!

  7. You will learn, eventually, that not ALL men are pigs!

  8. You will not have loads of children that you said, at a much younger age, you'd have! You will, however, have one very special child who will bring you lots of joy.

  9. You will find inner strength you never knew you had.

  10. Oh.... and don't forget to wear sunscreen!!! (HA...couldn't resist that reference either!!)

What's the weirdest dream you've ever had? (my own question...suggested by Snuggles)

I had some strange experiences in the house we lived in until I just turned 7. From memories of being in a cot at age 2 to walking into my bedroom (age 6?), in the pitch dark, standing there and feeling that I was rising up to the ceiling and back down again.... Levitating as it were.

Then one night I had a very strange and scary dream (?) Though I SWORE I was awake and not dreaming when I ran crying into my parents later. My eyes were open and I looked at the end of my bed and saw my nanny's head.... just her head! She was alive at the time so it wasn't a ghost! I didn't know what to do so I stretched out my hand and asked her for something I could only get at her house.... a slice of Batch Loaf!!!! Beat that! (Snuggles LOVES this story!)

Now, I could let that go...but years later the same thing happened again but I was most definitely awake. I was in my 20's and went out to the backgarden in the dark to get something and there on top of the neighbour 's wall I saw.....one of her son's heads!! I swear this is true...he was alive too! Two seconds later it was gone!

Do-Do-Do-Do, Do-Do-Do-Do..... cue Twilight Zone music!!

My Tags: First off I'm tagging Lynanne then I'll be a little unorthodox here and I'll tag my other followers V, Grufalomum and Milftastic.... maybe you can be tempted into Blogsphere?? How better to introduce yourself than through this Q & A? When you read this consider yourself tagged! Maybe I could also tag Sesame and drag her back into the fold? Oh and the next 3 people to happen across this blog.... consider yourself tagged also!
And so Hammie et al, what's the reward for doing all this??? What??..........What's that you say??..... Glass..... of...... wine?? Oh, ok then. Don't mind if I do!
Cheers! XX J