Reasons to be cheerful about photography

I don't have a fancy camera, just an ordinary mobile phone. But I love taking pictures. The joy of spotting something unusual or interesting, cute or topical, and for a few seconds all your worries are banished to the back of your head, as you grab your phone to snap it up before it's gone. It's a little break and just what I need right now, as my son heads towards his Junior Cert exams, with the mocks next week.

So it was perfect timing when I discovered that my blogging friend Nicola from Simply Homemade had launched a February Photo A Day Challenge: it's not too late to join in either, and you can find my photos over on my Instagram. Here's a sample of what I've posted so far.

A message to politicians looking for my vote

So the General Election has been called in Ireland. There will be media coverage of little else from now until polling day on Friday 26th February. But I am so over politicians. I'm even over being an activist.

Things have got nasty over the past five years: I don't agree with imprisoning people in cars, and intimidating someone just because you don't like their policies. It's the start of a slippery slope.

I still have no idea who I should vote for. Once again I am mostly afraid of being disappointed. Afraid of broken promises, and remembering the advice to politicians from one commentator:

"Never make a promise you cannot break"

Yet it seems the election will be all about throwing promises of money and services at voters. Tinkering with this, and tweaking that. No big vision for a better society.

This is what I want, but I don't expect it to happen.

Escaping with Netflix

Do you feel the need to escape from the stresses of everyday life? I know I do. Better still if I can do it every day. And that's where Netflix comes in.

I know my viewing habits seem a bit weird to many other women my age: I've little interest in reality TV or soaps disguised as period drama. No, the high stress levels associated with being a special needs mum mean that total escapism is what I need most, and for me that usually means science fiction and fantasy.
It's not just me either: the rest of the household mostly enjoy this stuff too. And this is how we've been escaping recently.

Overtaken by events

Despite the chaos in the kitchen, I am actually still smiling. It's been an eventful week, and the detritus of it all is still cluttering up the counter tops. But in between all the head-wrecking stuff, I found time to meet friends when I had a free hour on Wednesday morning, and brought Smiley to a coffee morning on her Friday off in aid of a local autism charity that has supported us. Smiley was in cake heaven, but manage to confine herself to just three, and I bagged the best raffle prize ever.

Reasons to be cheerful 21.1.16

I thought that the children couldn't take up any more hours in the day, but they are. I feel that my world is shrinking even further: how can I join conversations on Facebook or Twitter when I know I may only have a few minutes on-line? But I seem to be okay with it, clearly the pills are helping. So I've small and domestic reasons to be cheerful this week:

The trouble with pills

Today is #BlueMonday, another marketing invention apparently, but maybe not such a bad idea if it gets people talking about their mental health. It's supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, but I'm not feeling it. The grey skies and problems at home are not bringing me down. I'm just dealing with them.

I'm doing better, you see, helped by meeting up with Jazzygal this morning for a sneaky coffee.

And the pills the GP gave me.

How David Bowie helped me feel more cheerful

It's always sad when someone dies, but I wasn't David Bowie's biggest fan, though I love a couple of his songs - Rebel, Rebel, and Heroes, in case you're interested - so I was shocked to find myself in floods of tears on Monday when I heard the news. And it hit me that crying like that was something that I just don't do. Lately it's taken all my energy to just keep going and the slightest stress seemed to be pushing me over the edge. This did not impress my children, who always seem to be more empowered when I appear happy and capable. My tears were a wake up call, and an hour later I left the doctors surgery with a full prescription. Within 24 hours I was told I looked better, so it was obviously the right thing to do. Like most people I find it very hard to admit that I'm struggling, but many people need a little extra help at times. Including me. So getting help is my first reason to be cheerful for this week, and I've found a couple more too:

It's all over for the snails.

I've had a snail problem for years. They were everywhere, especially underfoot in the wet weather, so most days they'd be holding snail races up and down the path. The neighbours warned me about them, but I just kept their numbers down, I didn't solve the problem. Apparently they love this pretty purple flower, which flourishes in cracks to paths and walls and especially drainpipes