Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween 2007

What has happened to Halloween?

When we were younger a black bin liner with holes cut through for your head and arms and a false face (back in the day we didn’t call them masks) was suffice to make a scary costume.

But, alas, today that won’t cut it.

And I am afraid this year I have joined the league of parents who are gluing, sticking and pasting cardboard, tinfoil and whatever else it takes to make an ‘original’ costume.  Or at least something no one else has dressed up as before in the school fancy dress competition.  It gets harder every year.  I have the misfortune that my youngest daughter is in school with children whose parents are VERY creative……and  their children win a lot.  And deservedly so…..I mean these people could be working in the costume department of  a movie set.

We’ve had some successes in the past with my older children but my youngest daughter has never won.  She is ten years old and was born with  a rare chromosome disorder which impacts on her learning ability. She struggles at school, not only with the curriculum but also with developing friendships.  She isn’t autistic but certainly has some traits which can make life very challenging for her…..and us. Her self-esteem and self-confidence has taken quite a battering and I would love for her to feel good about school for a change.

Of course, I tell her it’s all about the taking part and not about the winning, but secretly I want her to win.  Or, maybe not so secretly, as my older children tell me I’ve turned into one of those competitive dance moms……now that is scary!

But what to go as?  She has her own little quirks and very firm ideas about the way things should be.  In the past I’ve come up with various ideas and she has flat out refused to go with any of them.  She wants to be a zombie every year and this won’t cut it in a class of costumes such as, the rotten cookie, or the haunted house, never mind the head on a plate!

But she has surprised me this year as she came up with the idea of dressing up as an iPad. Maybe not very scary, but original, as no one in school has gone as one before.   And from my point of view an iPad would be easy to make, wouldn’t it?

Without further ado off I went to gather the materials.  Usually I make do with what I have at home but not this year.  Oh no!  This year I went all out to get proper materials.  I scoured the internet to find ideas for making iPad costumes and I found one which recommended using foam filled poster board.    After traipsing around  the stationery shop, the art shop, the discount store and finally the office suppliers and no one had even heard of bloody foam filled poster board, far less stock it, I realised this was going to be a lot harder than I thought.

Ah a mothers lot is a hard one.

But help was on hand.  A friendly guy at the office suppliers offered me a massive cardboard box he was about to dump.  It was better than nothing and he even offered to fold it up and carry it out to the car for me.  Now who could refuse an offer like that?  Especially when it didn’t cost me anything!

Back at home and everything else went to pot.  Children went hungry, as I like a woman possessed, fought with the cardboard box until it yielded to the scissors.  I have an iPad so I was able to copy it exactly for our costume.  I did get very technical and measured everything to make sure it was in proportion.  (Yes, I think it’s fair to say I’ve gone over into dance mom territory).  Three coats of white emulsion paint, wrapping paper, (two rolls for the price of one), and icons which my daughter had printed off from the internet, and we were good to go.  And here is the finished product…..

ipad costume 002 (2)    ipad costume 003 (2)

Not bad, even if I do say so myself.

And more importantly….SHE WON!!!





“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”

~ Rumi


Life Lessons

I will always be here to take care of you.
ohdearbarb / Foter / CC BY-NC

21 Lessons life has taught me…..so far! (I’m still learning!)

  • Above all else be true to yourself. Live the life you want and not what others expect of you.
  • Be where you are. Each moment is precious and tomorrow is promised to no one.
  • Sometimes the worst experience can turn out to be your greatest blessing.
  • Get outside at least once a day, but stop power walking! Slow down, take your time, notice!
  • Laugh loudly!
  • Cry if you need to. Unshed tears will only lead to illness later.  ( I must have a lot of tears to shed!)
  • When life gets tough focus on what you have. There is always something to be grateful for.
  • It is better to have one true friend than a crowd of insincere acquaintances. Cherish your friends. They will be your safe harbour when life gets rough.
  • Atticus Finch said, “to understand another’s point of view you need to climb into his skin and walk around in it.” The wisest words you will ever read. If you have no idea who Atticus Finch is then I suggest you read ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’. In my humble opinion the greatest book ever written.
  • Don’t wait for your dreams. Live them now. Someday life may not be as accommodating and it may be much more difficult to travel the world, climb those mountains, and dance until dawn. Just do it!
  • Look after your body and it will look after you….(Obviously I haven’t been looking after mine well enough!)
  • Head up, shoulders back. No one can tell how you really feel inside.
  • Embrace your education; it doesn’t stop when you leave school or college.
  • Appreciate your parents. You will probably only understand this when you are a parent yourself.
  • You may or may not have children. If you do, know that you don’t own them. You just have them on loan for a little while. Love them as they are and not as you wish them to be.  Teach through example; forget preaching- they won’t listen.  On the other hand if your example is swearing, drinking and blaming the world for your own problems – forget that too.
  • Stop blaming everyone else for your problems. Stand up and be your own solution.
  • Speak your truth honestly in a way that honours you and the other person. It really will set you free.
  • Negativity is contagious, protect yourself against infection! Give a wide berth to those people who find joy in criticising and judging others. If they criticise others, they will criticise you.
  • Don’t deny your feelings. Don’t tarry with people who dismiss them either.
  • There is always a choice if you are brave enough to handle the consequence.
  • Smile!

Jumping hurdles


I had my operation a couple of days ago.  On the morning of the surgery I was very apprehensive as I felt the lump was getting bigger.  I told my surgeon of my fears and we agreed that if I gave consent he would take everything away including my breast implant.  So when I woke in the recovery ward after the operation, groggy and slightly out of it as I was, my first thoughts were of what was left of my breast area.  How far did he have to draw the scalpel?

I  was building up the courage to examine my body when my surgeon came round and told me he was pleased with how surgery went.  He felt all was contained and localised and only necessitated a smaller operation.   Such a relief!  I felt I had jumped another hurdle. However, they will now test the breast tissue they took away to see if there is any scatter. More waiting!  Although, the results of this will make no difference to my treatment plan……Mr Chemo and I will be becoming reacquainted.

So more hurdles to come but I’ve just cleared another one……my bone scan is clear!

Right now I feel like the luckiest person alive.



The Story of the Taoist Farmer

taoist farmer
I love this story…..and it gives me hope in my own situation….who knows what is good or bad?

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbours came to console over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”

A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbours became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”

The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbours were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbours congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.

As told by Executive editor, Elise Hancock, in the Johns Hopkins Magazine, November 1993, page 2, in section entitled Editor’s Note.