Playing games

Since I’m struggling to blog properly these days, I have decided to just go with it for now and post as and when the mood/time allows which quite possibly means short posts with just a snapshot of what I’m up to.

Just to reassure you, I am still (of course) watching and attending City matches (every game) and I’m still playing darts every week. I just seem to have lost my mojo to blog about them but hopefully I’ll manage short snippets again in future.

However, I’ve discovered a new (somewhat addictive) way to destress at the end of the day – Microsoft’s Xbox Solitaire games pack that came with my new laptop (I got a new one on the NHS home computer scheme so I have a small amount of money deducted from my salary to pay for it.) I can lose myself in the rhythm of the cards – whilst hopefully fighting off Alzheimers at the same time 😀

How do I sound?

Testing, 1,2,3….
(Play button is far left, try reloading if you can’t see it, or click there anyway)

Hm, thanks Alan. I may give this a go from time to time. I confess, I don’t like the sound of my voice, but it’s well worth considering on occasion.

Not doing; just being.

We spent a lovely, leisurely Boxing Day at home (mainly eating what we wanted, when we wanted it 😉 ) I watched the Sunderland 1 v 0 City match on a very hit-and-miss webstream whilst Billy watched ManUre 4 v 3 Newcastle and we were both wanting each other’s team to win; we were both disappointed! Ho hum! (MCFC’s 60-second highlights here and extended ones here)

On the 27th, Nel and I drove down to mum’s to spend the night and just have some girls’ time out. Nel went shopping with her friend who lives nearby and mum and I did……………. absolutely nothing! 🙂 We just sat and chatted and it was lovely. Nel returned in time for dinner (braised steak, mmmm.) She had asked if she could sleep in the living room on the camp bed and as soon as we’d made it up ready, Rocky decided it looked very cosy (which it did, as mum always makes it so) and promptly claimed it! 😀 Nel going to bed later didn’t bother him a bit – since he had his spot, right in the middle and wasn’t budging! At some point in the night though, he did decide to let Nel get some sleep and he went upstairs to sleep with mummy. The next morning we went for a mooch in the shops and though we enjoyed ourselves, we didn’t actually buy much (and even then what we bought was from the 99p shop!) so we clearly hadn’t missed much the day before. We had a lovely late lunch of mum’s home-made chips with Bockwurst before we set off for home again. What a wonderfully relaxing visit – not doing, just being 🙂

I couldn’t get a web stream for the Norwich 3 v 4 City match and had to content myself with the radio commentary instead. It sounded a fantastic match and of course, the result was very pleasing too. The effort was certainly better than the apparent lack of interest on Boxing Day and fans of both clubs got their moneys-worth. (MCFC’s 60-second highlights here.)

Other than this, I just enjoyed being at home for a few days – no work, no plans, just pottering around doing little things like catching up with some blogging, cleaning up my laptop (backing up files, doing a defrag etc.) and playing with my new phone, installing apps etc. 🙂 I was not missing work at all!

New look!

I am sure you noticed that this blog has had a makeover! Isn’t it great? 🙂

My lovely friend Jen at Six28 Design did it for me, taking all the things in my life/blog and the blog elements I most like and combining them to give me this nice clean updated look. She also incorporated some new toys which I hope to get round to playing with sometime.

Thanks so much Jen, I love it. If anyone out there has a WordPress blog and would like a makeover, you know whom to ask – she’s good!

Microsoft MASTER!


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Guess who has passed her last Microsoft Office exam!?! Yep! Outlook was my last one. I am now officially a Master 🙂

My journey began in November 2010 when I passed Excel core
Then I passed Word core
Then Word Expert and Excel Expert.
Then Power Point core and finally Outlook core.

I wonder what I will get up to next…..

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Back to work and Power Point

Having arrived home late on the Sunday night, it was straight back to work the next morning – though I had an odd day.

As you know, I am working towards my Microsoft Office Master qualification and it’s always difficult to book my tests on days that the IT team are at this site plus times when I don’t have a clinic to run. This first day back happened to be the first such time in months so I had booked it for my Power Point testing.

I had half an hour in my office to try and find my feet again, catch up on what was left from the previous week and organise the office and my workload ready for how I like to work. Then I went up to the IT training room and did a practise test to see if I thought I was ready for final testing. We decided that I was so I confirmed my booking for the actual test in the afternoon then went back to my office for an hour and a half to try and do some work. Having done just some of the essential work, I then returned and took my test – and a little to my surprise I passed! 🙂

I am now a Power Point Specialist and have just one more bit to do for my Master qualification – that being Outlook. I was really pleased as I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to do it, especially straight after our holiday.

Recharging batteries, updating technology and blitzing mould.

Since being poorly (that man-flu bug must’ve mutated to cross the gender barrier I reckon 😉 ) I have slowly recovered with the light headedness and low energy persisting for another week. However I managed to work and to do my overtime – the thought of a fortnight off kept me going but I am really pleased to have a two-week break from work now and hope to recharge my batteries 🙂

I have a long list of jobs through which I’m working during my time off – things which have needed doing for ages but I haven’t had the time, and things which will make me feel good knowing they are finally done. These include cleaning, painting (walls/ceilings), and business accounting amongst other things. Already, on day 2, I have done quite a lot even though I’ve felt as though I’ve just been pottering at my own pace.

I’ve finally transferred all the files I want from my old desktop PC to my laptop and then cleaned up and updated the desktop so that it will serve as a family spare in case of dire, ‘cos it’s slower than a slug with a limp need. I’ve backed up my phones and updated the software on my personal mobile – I LOVE this about Nokias – and the update has fixed a bug I had (viewing details of my contacts) and given me lots of new smilies to play with, so look out if you’re someone with whom I exchange texts, ‘cos I have new toys and intend to use them! 😛

One of the jobs on my list is to deal with the mould starting to grow on the bathroom ceiling and then repaint it, and I happened to see a mould remover spray in Aldi at the weekend, which I didn’t think would do much but at £1.59 was worth a dabble. To my amazement, it worked a treat and I ended up hunting down any other mould I could find and zapping it! 😀 The back door had the worst infestation and one panel was solid black – not any longer. This stuff is brilliant and gets 10/10 – but sadly I’ve run out of black stuff to kill and remove 😉

None of my jobs are exciting, I know, but actually I am quite a little home-bird and love nothing more than nesting. I hate that I’ve been working so much and neglecting the home so although my holiday plans may seem like hard work, I’m actually enjoying myself. The beautiful spring weather helps too 🙂

My Top 11 of 2011

Well it’s been a horrible year in the main. Every time I think we’ve hit the bottom and can start clawing our way to better – or even simply more stable – times, new depths are revealed. However, in true Pollyanna style, I thought I’d see if I could find some good things from 2011 and here they are:

#11. Nel’s diagnosis This was huge! It gave us a reason for all her little idiosynchracies and an insight into how her mind works differently to other people’s. I wasn’t a bad mother for not being able to work her out, in fact I’d done well over the years to help her cope without either of us knowing just what the difficulties were. Full story here.

#10. Friends’ Wedding An unexpected invitation to be a part of a very special couple’s big day led to a feeling of extra closeness to two lovely people whom I had met through a football web forum – mum’s club, not even mine – and a wonderful trip to London. Football and the internet have brought me some deep and long-lasting friendships and this event brought home to me just how lucky I am to have friends like these. Full story here.

# 9. A very Sick Swan In a horrible year for me personally, City have had a blinding year and have helped give me something to smile about. There have been a lot of highs for my club, but this was one of the best simply for the pure brilliant surreal-ness of beating THEM on THEIR turf, by such a huge margin 🙂 Full story here.

# 8. Being led astray We have a wonderful circle of friends and this night just summed up all that makes them so great. Even though a few were missing on this occasion, there have obviously been other times with different combinations of friends and all of them are special. Full story here.

# 7. An afternoon exploring with Billy For a married couple we really don’t get much quality time together so I really enjoyed this little interlude. Full story here.

# 6. My son becoming a man – I absolutely love spending time with Stephen, even doing mundane things such as on this occasion here and I was both relieved and proud when he got himself a job too (here .)

# 5. Nel’s 18th Family trips are a rarity these days so I really enjoyed this weekend for Nel’s birthday – everything just fell into place nicely and it was well worth Billy and I pooling our Christmas present cash to fund it. Full story here.

# 4. A new laptop You’ll probably remember this as it was so recent, but never having had a brand new computer before this was a big thing for me 🙂 Full story here.

# 3. A Family Christening This was a high for a few reasons – having time with Billy, having a bit of a holiday, and seeing members of the family whom we love to see. Full story here.

# 2. St George’s Day in Eastbourne A fantastic mini summer holiday in a heat wave, family tradition and time with my wonderful mum plus seeing my brother. Full story here and here.

# 1. FA Cup final An absolutely brilliant day – the stuff of dreams, of the whole range of emotions, of pride, tears, joy, friends, loved ones and a sheer sense of being a part of it all. One of the best days in my life for all those reasons and more and it’ll take some beating. Full story here.

Lovely Laptop.

My new laptop arrived in time for me to spend the weekend playing 🙂

I showed it to Stephen before playing and he looked at the specs and was impressed (it’s one of these, but in silver) so I was pleased. I was even more happy when it came to setting it up with my settings and preferences – SO easy! I did have to create my own back-up discs before starting but it was no problem to do that. I now have a super smooth computer that I can use in other rooms in the house if I want (might be nice to sit in the living room in front of the fire on occasion over winter 🙂 ) and I can watch videos again – my old PC got so bad that I couldn’t which was annoying as I like to watch the CityTV videos. There are also installed programmes and gizmos that I have yet to explore which will be fun. The one thing I UNinstalled immediately was McAffee which I HATE – and I installed my favourite security software instead.

One thing that has always put me off with laptops is the finger-mousepad – I absolutely hate the things, but mum gave me a little laptop mouse that’s perfect 🙂

Never having had a laptop before, I looked online to see how I should care for it and found some pointers here, the most useful to me being not using it on a soft surface such as a lap or bed, and keeping it well ventilated to prevent overheating. On another site (currently unavailable for some reason) I also read that it should remain plugged in as much as possible, and to try to only allow shallow battery drainage, with the very, very occasional application of a full battery drainage to maintain battery life. I also bought – for the princely sum of £1 – a folding stand which sets the laptop at a very slight angle (maybe 15 degrees) to allow air circulation underneath to keep it cool, and it works a treat.

Now I just need to get the last of my documents and files from the old PC, activate Office and then we can reformat the old one to keep as an emergency spare.

I love having a NEW toy, and I love the toy itself 🙂