Listography - songs that transport me to a particular time and place

Musical memories, they work better than anything else for me. They are the backing track to every important event in my life. To choose just five for Kate's latest Listography was not easy, but some do stand out. I wouldn't listen to most of them now, but just hearing their opening bars transports me right back there. Who needs a De Lorean when you have songs?

The Calm After The Storm

You know how it is when things build and build and build and then there's a crisis, then it blows over and everything calms down. That's been the story of the past seven days. Though there have been a few squalls of a different kind: alarm systems that had to be urgently fixed, loss of all communication with the outside world - the house phone, broadband and mobile all going down simultaneously, and there was me thinking I was safe from that by going with different providers!

But I have reasons to be cheerful too.

Autism and Exhaustion

Let's get one thing straight first. I'm not blaming autism. I blame myself, my inability to cope, to get things completely right, my history, my situation, the menopause, the stress of bringing Smiley to a public pool for the first time in a year (with the help of some fabulous friends) and the general indifference of a world that seem unwilling or unable to make the accommodations that adults and children like my son badly need.

It was late on Thursday night. Another busy day lay ahead, another early start. I'd made it clear that I needed to sleep as soon as possible - I could barely keep my eyes open. But just as I was about to finish up, I was told that there would be a delay, of unknown length. The cause? Some of those reasons above and more. My son needed me.

I did not react well. The tiredness makes it all a bit blurry, but I do remember that the sense of injustice and frustration was too much to bear.

My Busy Day

Do you dream of being creative? But need a bit of support to make it happen?

The answer could be the new Creativity Salon that has been set up by the inspiring blogger behind That Curious Love Of Green. I love the idea, but was finding it hard to explain why I cannot get involved with anything else right now because I'm too busy. But we're all busy, right?

Using the phone to hang out the washing and other reasons to be cheerful

Thank you to the lovely person who told me this evening that she was looking forward to reading this post, it made me feel very cheerful indeed, and more than made up for plummeting down the Tots 100 blog rankings this month. I have a few more reasons too...

Driving Test

Just in case anyone missed it and because it really is THE news of the week, I'll say it again: Angel passed her driving test last Saturday and that makes me very happy.

The driving test and how to pass it!

It's been a long road to this test, with many twists and turns, and we've both learned a lot on the way from that first bumpy session in the IKEA car park so long ago.

It was the best of days and the worst of days. I'd planned for everything except the weather. Do you remember last Saturday? There were rivers running down the streets with the kind of rain that would make a duck paddle for shelter.

In between, the sun shone. Making everything pretty and blindingly silvery and shiny. Perfect for an anxious 23 year old sitting her driving test for the first time, no?

How to lose your fear of the gym with the Milon Circle

Disclosure: I have been offered a free month's membership of the fabulous Icon Health Club to try out the Milon Circle training circuit. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.

Are you afraid of the big bad gym? Do you imagine that it's full of young, fit, slim people in expensive workout gear all knowing exactly what to do on the shiny machines, while you wander round sweaty and mortified doing everything wrong and looking fat and stupid?

That was me. And that was why I didn't manage to stay with any of the three gyms I have joined in my life for more than a few weeks.

Until now. Well hopefully.

You see I've been wanting to join a proper gym, for lots of reasons. Even though I'm middle-aged and overweight and have little spare time, keeping body and mind healthy is becoming more and more important if I'm going to be up to the task of caring for my two teenagers as long as they need me to do so.

I'm also worried about the cult of personal responsibility, that blames you if you're poor, unhealthy or depressed and I've no confidence that there will be services available to help me and my family when I need them. So I need to look after myself.

Working out in a gym should help with my back problems by strengthening my core, reduce stress and anxiety, and even help me to lose weight, as well as avoiding osteoporosis.

Sounds important, doesn't it?

But like so many other things, I never actually got around to it. At least not properly. When I did join a gym, I wouldn't ask for help, so always ended up leaving. It takes someone else to give me a push. This time it was the opportunity for a month's free gym membership of the Icon Health Club in Dublin to try out the Milon Circuit Workout, with an introduction from a personal trainer and a date to attend. So I had to go!