Greek Life & debates!

I was only 23 when I went out to Kos on holiday with the girls.  Typical girly holiday.  We fell in love with the place and on our return to the UK quickly realised that we wanted to go back.

I quit my Job as a Business Development Manager and stopped the purchase of a house and jetted back out to Kos 3 weeks later to have some fun!

I remember thinking……..’if I do not do this now I never will’.  So my friend and I jetted off into the sunset.

ImageI worked In a bar as a waitress and I loved it.  Slept and sunbathed most of the day, did a few hours work then partied the night away.  It was a great life.

ImageA year later I was still working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I met my Nik.  That song will be our wedding song if we ever get round to getting married that is.

He was younger than me, and no longer had we got together he was whisked off into the Greek Army to do his national Service.  By this time my friend had gone back to the UK but I stayed, I had something to stay for.

His parents were not overly impressed that he was seeing an English girl.  You have to remember that many English abroad give some of us a rather bad reputation, and I understood their initial concerns, but soon put those to rest.

His family are traditional Greeks, big into their religion and beliefs and this was huge culture shock for them to have a foreigner lurking about.  His brothers were great as was his father, the mother is a different story.  I was ‘stealing’ her boy.

When we got engaged his Mother went crazy.  We didn’t do it the Greek traditional way you see, we did it OUR way.  She ranted and raved for a bit and eventually came round.  You have to remember Greeks are known for this ranting and raving thing they do…..having a normal quiet conversation is not do-able…..it has to be loud with lots of hands and arm shaking!

After a while I was being accepted into this family.  They had met my parents and his mother was pleased to see my father wasn’t covered in tattoos (her words).  

When we announced we were pregnant having been together nearly 6 years, his Mother flipped again.  We were about to approach the whole “you must marry immediately” debate. I knew this would be a good one.  

I will not be bullied into anything, and certainly not by my mother in law.  Nik and I had no intention to rush down the aisle just because we were about to have a baby.  She was very insistent, but we continued to say no.

ImageTimes have changed you must remember.  His parents are from a whole different generation whereas Nik and his generation have had a new world opened up to them and they want to grab it.

His parents have never been off their tiny island all their lives and know no different of the world.  What they do know, generations of their family have done before.  However, what they fail to realise is that it was not me who changed their son, it was time.

We moved to the UK when I was 4 months pregnant after some early complications.

ImageWhen I had the baby, I waited for the next debate of the childs name and baptising/christening.  It is traditional in Greece to name your children after the fathers parents.  This is very true of the Fathers name but not the mothers.  So when I had baby girl we chose a name we both liked and that was EVA.  Yet, his mother still insisted on sending cards etc addressed to my daughter as ELENI, which was her name.  Hmmmm, not happening.  She finally gave up on all this when Nik told her no more.

They came to the UK to visit not long after I had the baby (just what I needed).  They were amazed by the UK and were in complete awe of the place.  The houses, the way we lived etc.  They could not understand why people would leave the UK to live elsewhere.  They were under the impression that so many Brits lived abroad because English life was poor.  Now you have to have lived in Greece to understand this, but unless you are extremely wealthy in Greece you mainly live in poverty as did we.  The houses are damp, no heating (yes winter is cold out there), expensive supermarkets, expensive household bills.  His parents could not understand why you would give up the luxury life to live in Greece for example.

ImageSuddenly, little old me was raking in the brownie points as their son had a fabulous life in the UK with a lovely house, good job etc.

Now, when we had a Son two years later, I went along with the whole ‘after the father’ name.  He is called Christos.  This went down really well and I got lots of Brownie points.

Then the rows about Baptising the kids.  This was a tricky one as Nik too would have like them Baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church but I didn’t agree.  I said if they grow up and turn round at 15 and say thats what they want, they will have my blessing 100%, but I was not going to choose their religion for them.  Nik agreed with me, but his parents certainly didn’t.

However, this is all in the past, as these Greek Grandparents adore our kids and that is all that matters, and they too have come to realise that.  It is not all about traditions, what will the neighbours say etc, it’s about what we have now, which is love and happiness.  They realise that we have a good life, our kids are amazing and we’re happy and all those rows and debates were actually their battles with change………. not with us personally.

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Day 1 BC or NOT BC

Today is the day I have been to the GP about a lump I have found near my breast in my armpit.

I will be documenting my story as I go along.  I feel I need somewhere to write about this and my blog is the ideal place.

I noticed this lump about a week ago.  Its very deep down in the armpit and I struggle to find it, but when I do it scares be to death!  I plucked up the courage to pop along and see my GP today…….it’s best to get these things checked.

After a good old grope, which was at times rather painful I must admit she found the lump and also said the tissue in the breast felt a little different to the other one…..something I hadn’t noticed so that may be nothing. She advised she make me an appointment at the breast clinic.

Ok so by now the real panic is starting to kick in.  I had sort have hoped she would say “ahhh thats nothing, off you go now”……I hadn’t really prepared myself for further investigation.

My appointment is on the 7th May and I counting the days already.  Apparently I will undergo a mammogram and an ultrasound.  If they suspect anything from those tests they will biopsy there and then too!  These tests won’t confirm any stage of cancer, but will confirm if its there.   Whoooaaa a lot of stuff all at once and really bloody scary.  Saying that, I’d prefer it that way than having to wait for days after.

So…..what am I feeling?  In all honesty my only real worry at this moment in time is my kids.  You do start fearing the worse.  I am a big believer in “what will be, will be” so I am not actually scared for me but I TERRIFIED for my children.  At only 6 and 4 its heartbreaking.

You’ll be thinking “she doesn’t even know if she has breast cancer (BC) yet and shes waffling on like this”.  Trust me faced with something like this is a huge eye opener and has knocked the wind out of me.

When I was 18 I had my first smear test and it turned out I had cervical cancer cells.  I had a diathermy loop excision on my cervix to remove the cells and have been clear ever since with yearly checks.  I remember the Doctor telling me all this and looking back I was so relaxed with the whole ordeal, I didn’t worry at all about any of it.  Thats the difference being 18 and free.  Being 37 with two young children is a whole different ball game, it makes the whole thought of “what if?” soul destroying.

Greek man is concerned too.  He has sat a lot of the day staring out the window.  He is worried, I can tell.  People often think of the patient but people need to think of those around the patient too.

NOTHING will be mentioned to my babies……I want them to stay selfish in their own little world.

I plan on using this blog as a bit of a diary of my feelings etc. along with all the usual drivel I blog about!

So there you go…..day 1 of BC OR NOT BC.  (yes you say that in a Shakespeare voice)

Things I did but my Kids will not do.

Playing out 

When I was a kid it was normal to play with all the kids in the street all day and all night, well at least until it got dark.  We would rush in from school, dump the bags,   get changed and meet ‘out the front’.  We’d play rounders, Akky 1,2,3, curbies, race around on bikes (helmet free) and sometimes with no hands, rollerskating down huge hills and of course the odd naughty game of knock n run!

I loved my bike, I had a Raleigh Racer, blue with white flashes on it.  My brother had a skateboard which he drove the neighbours’ mad with as he would skate along their front walls bashing all their plants.  Neighbours thought nothing in those days of coming out and shouting at you and you would apologise for fear of them telling your parents.  Respect was still a big thing then, none of this answering back malarkey!

Friends had a farm which was two fields away.  We would wander over these fields and tracks alone and play in the woods.  We would collect frog spawn from the pond, climb trees, build dens and paddle in the stream, all unsupervised.

They had a huge hay barn filled high with hay bales, we’d climb to the top and make slides all the way to bottom.  Had I have known it was full of rats it probably wouldn’t have bothered me then, but today I would FREAK OUT!

I remember lobbing huge sticks up at the conker trees and watching all the conkers fall, along with many branches which you had to dodge…..quickly.  Are you even allowed to do this anymore?  I don’t know?

We also used to walk to local park, in which we would have to cut through a dodgy looking alley, a graveyard and cross a main road to get to.  Beacon Park was a great park back then, it felt safe.  Friends and I would spend many summer holidays in that park.  My mam would wave us off and tell us to be home by tea time and nothing more was said.

I was never really the type of child who was into going to play in other kids houses,  I was always wanting to be outdoors. Amazing times and happy memories….would I let my kids out alone to cross two fields into the unknown?  Would I let them cut down alleyways and cross main roads to a park……?   I doubt it very much, which saddens me.

Today is a different world.  Who is lurking in woods?  What if a car stops on the main road?  What if they fell in that pond or fell out of that tree?

How times have changed.

 

 

 

Image provided by 

image &copy; <A HREF=http://spinotti.openphoto.net>Gerhard Spinotti</A>
for <A HREF=http://15441.openphoto.net>openphoto.net</A> CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

 

 

 

 

A week of soup, crochet, grass growing and Nuclear Medicine!

Firstly I have to rant about the limited edition Heinz Tomato soup with chili!  WOW, its yum bloody yum.  Even more nice with crusty bread spread with lashings of unhealthy Lurpak!  I am not big into soup, I have to be in the mood to have this by choice.  This, however, prompted me to return to Morrisons the following day and stock pile a little bit.
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Crochet….busy making apples to hang in my kitchen.  I have very bare white walls (easy to clean with kids about) and want to brighten them up a bit.  My first attempt turned out quite well….I am thinking maybe a garland of different fruit and vegetables.
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I also finished this cute summer cardy off for my daughter.  Very basic and white but will match everything!  That’s the whole point.
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Meet Bert and Bob.  Grandma got these for the kids in their Easter box.  You just soak them in water every now and again and they grow GRASS hair!  The kids think they are fab.  Personally I think they are an eyesore (and they smell a bit)…..but hey I’m mam, what do I know?!
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Nuclear Medicine…..the name of the place I went to in the hospital today.  I was going for a Heart Scan.  I often get chest pains and we are just trying to rule everything out.  This today was pretty scary though.  I was hooked up to ECG, blood pressure monitors then injected with a substance that opens the blood vessels and some radioactive matter.  I had to lie on the bed and move my legs up and down for 4 mins whilst it was administered.  My legs were killing me…..4 mins is a long time doing this!

When they injected it over a period of 4 minutes it was the most odd experience.  My chest and throat tightened and my face flushed bright red and I became breathless.  All perfectly normal as this was the effects of all my blood vessels opening up.  I then had to drink 2 pints of water and walk around for over an hour (in the bloody rain may I add).  On my return I was taken into the big Scanning room where I lay for a further 20 mins whilst this machine moved around my body taking pictures of my heart.  I lay there bursting for the toilet as I’d gobbled down 2 pints of water….not a fun time.

I won’t know the results for a week or so but hoping my littler ticker is ok.

To be honest the thing that annoyed me the most was having to pay over £5 to park in the NHS car park whilst having all this done.  Shocking prices.

Oh finally before I go, I am very excited to be receiving my new suite tomorrow.  Its been 8 long weeks since we sat admiring it in the showroom…..pictures to follow.

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I miss him.

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This is Oscar. Our beloved dog of 11 years and 3 months. We sadly had to have him put to sleep five weeks ago and my heart still aches.

I miss him everyday. I can still feel him and I can still hear him. Does the pain of losing a pet ever go away?

We noticed that he had a lump growing on the roof of his mouth. The vet barely glanced at it and I knew from her reaction that all was not good. My heart began to melt. She gave us all the options.

Over the following two weeks I watched him closely. He had changed. He looked old all of a sudden. He seemed to have lost his spark. I noticed how he would pant without reason. How he would screw his eyes up and look unhappy. These things were minor but I knew somehow they were linked to what was lurking in his mouth. I went back to see the vet. Yes, we could go down the road of biopsies and further tests but the bottom line was, even if this lump was not a cancerous tumour, it was still a lump that could not be removed as it was on the hard palate in the roof of his mouth. SO what did that leave us with? The vet knew when I walked in what we had decided. I told her we did not want to wait until he became really poorly. It was not fair on him. I also didn’t want to wake up one morning and find his mouth bleeding or crying in pain. There was also the consideration of the children…..what if he turned nasty? If he was in pain this was a possibility. He was the softest dog you could ever meet and was wonderful with our children…..but there is always that “what if?”.

The vet was so supportive and agreed with our decision 100%. She also said that due to the nature of the tumour it was likely it has already spread to his lungs……this may now explain the unnecessary panting. She said from the glance alone she was over 95% sure it was cancerous.

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We gave ourselves a week to prepare and spoil him rotten! I can quite honestly say, mentally it was the worst week of my life. Were we doing the right thing? Should we give him a chance? Any anaesthetic would have killed him as he had a bad heart murmer but that element of doubt was still there. Again, even if we’d gone ahead, the chemo etc after would only have prolonged his life by maybe 8-9 months, and what a miserable 8-9 months they would have been for him.

That week before I spoiled him so much. He had all his favorite foods….chicken, ham, buscuits, watermelon (odd one I know) and he loved it! The night before I let him sleep on our bed with me and the hubby.

Then the day came. I made the kids cuddle him before they went off to school that day. They had no idea what was going to happen. What was rather surreal though was that my daughter mentioned when leaving the house that Oscar looked sad and poorly. I came back from the school run and sat and sobbed holding him close. I mean big proper sobbing, it was awful. But then hubby came home and as he walked through the door, he broke down. It had suddenly hit him and it broke my heart.

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I won’t give you all the details, but his passing was remarkably peaceful at the vets. We sobbed and sobbed our way through it as he drifted off cuddled up in my arms., but we knew he was at peace and would not suffer. As we walked home with just his collar and an empty lead there was silence. We couldn’t talk.

We had to tell the children when they came home from school. We said that he was very poorly and very old and that he had died when we took him to the vets. Kids of that age do not need to know all the details. They sat and drew pictures and wrote letters that they wanted Mammy to send to Doggy Heaven. My heart was splitting in two.

We had Oscar from the day he was born when we lived in Greece and when we moved to the UK he came with us! He was our baby!

I miss him barking when someone is at the door…..I miss his claws on the wood floors, I miss him cuddling in when the kids had gone to bed.  He was such a huge part of our little family and I will never get over losing him.

We love and miss you so much Oscar!!! xxxxx

FREE Crochet Circles in Squares pattern

I made this square up as I went along and made a lovely blanket out of some cotton yarns I had andImage I loved how it turned out.  I thought I would share the pattern with you all!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circles in Squares

Ch6 and join with sl st to make a ring
R1. Ch3 (counts as 1tr), 15tr into ring, sl st into 3rd ch.
R2. Ch5 (counts as 1tr and ch2) [1tr into next tr, ch2] 15 times, join with sl st into 3ch of ch5.
R3. Sl to next ch2 sp. Ch3 (counts as 1tr) 2tr into same space, ch1, *[3tr ch1] into next ch2 sp, repeat from * to end, join with sl st into ch3.
R4. In the Same ch1 sp, dc. *[ch3, 1dc into next ch1 sp] three times, ch6 to make corner, **1dc into next ch1 sp: rep from * twice and from *to** once more. Join with sl st into first ch3.
R5. Sl into next ch3 space, 3tr into each of next two ch3 sps, *[5tr, ch2, 5tr] into ch6 corner sp, **3tr into each of the next three ch3 sp: rep from *last ch6 corner sp and rep from * to ** once more. Join with sl st into ch3.
R5. Ch3, 1tr into each tr of the previous round, working [2tr, ch2, 2tr] into each ch2 corner sp. Join with sl st into top of ch3.
R6. Ch3, repeat R5.

Ta Dah.

BooPollyBoo Crochet

 

 

 

Work, wine and 999.

Phew what a day.  Started work at 8am this morning until 4pm.  I work for the Ambulance service as a 111 call handler.  It has been non-stop today and I am mentally drained.

I only started back in January and I only work the weekends as it fits in nicely with homelife.  I do like my job, and I am hoping it is just because I am new that I am finding it mentally draining.  The majority of patients I talk to are lovely and are appreciative of my help, but you always get the odd one who is just nothing put a pain in the backside.  I wish I could share stories, but due to patient confidentiality I am unable to.  It is such an interesting role, there are never two calls the same.  I do come home with a sigh of relief  though and thank my lucky stars that me and mine are all happy and healthy.  Life is so short and precious and in a job like mine you realise that very quickly.

I do get very annoyed when I read bad articles in the press about the new 111 service.  You only ever hear the bad experiences of people, it seems very unfair.  This is primarily an Out Of Hours Service.  It’s all about getting the patient “the right care at the right place at the right time”.  When a patient calls they have it in their mind what care they want to receive and expect that outcome, however that is not always the case.  We rule out life threatening conditions and situations through a thorough assessment and then find the appropriate care for their present symptoms.  This is where conflict is often met.  It can be quite hard as a call handler to tell the patient that from the information they have given you regarding their symptoms it would be safe to wait to see their own Doctor during normal hours.  This is not what they want to hear, they want to see a Doctor there and then.  It’s so very hard.  As I said, I do hate to see this system put down, it does a fabulous job for so many people and I wish the public could hear more of this.

After today I am due a large glass of the white stuff.  I do like my wine, especially after a day at work.  It helps me unwind and helps me sleep without thinking about patients.  During the week I am fine but of a weekend calls are going through my head….did I do this, did I do that? etc.  It drives me wild.  So glass number two is on the way!

Little people & their friends

Well my 6 year old daughter and my 4 year old son each had a friend around today to play.  In honesty I was dreading it.  The kids have never had friends around before, it’s not my thing.  I don’t really remember doing it myself much as a child.  I feel anxious having my house raided by outsiders.  My home is our little world, complete with dry toast under the sofa and unflushed toilets (the kids do this by way not us).  The thought of people who are not family coming around fills me with fear.  I know it shouldn’t, but it does.  I always think they will look at the dust on the skirting boards or the little handprints on the window and think “what does this woman do all day?”.  Wow I do sound crazy, I swear I am not.  I’m just a homey type of person.  However today I took the plunge today and around they came with their mams. Lots of noise, lots of thudding from upstairs, a pizza eating competition followed by bouncing on the trampoline.  Had a good old gossip with the girls too which is always good! So after all that, all was ok…..the only thing is the kids want this to happen again!!!! ARRRRGGHHHH PASS ME THE DUSTER!Image

My Crochet madness!

Thought I would share some of my crochet makes with you. What do you think??