>A Review of 2010 in Survey Form

>This is the yearly meme I’ve been doing for I think 7 years now (I think this is the 7th Year, I mean).  I love it, some of the answers don’t seem to change but others do.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

The first thing that comes to mind is getting paid for a piece of writing.  I put a lot more effort into my writing and getting it “out there” then I’ve ever done before.  Also, learning to crochet, doing the mosaic making day and doing gateway at CAB (although gateway was new for pretty much everyone).  And book reviewing!  That was a pretty huge part of my year and I’d not done it before.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My only real resolution was to continue with my 101 in 1001 list.  I made some great progress with that and some of those goals led to drastic changes for me – which have all been good.  I hope to continue with these goals and that progress in 2011 but I’m also looking forward to starting a new 101 in 1001 list in September – I already have one or two ideas for it.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No. I have never, ever, been able to answer this question with a yes.  Which is most disappointing.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No! I most especially like years when I can answer no to this question.

5. What countries did you visit?

None (yet again)

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

I’m not sure.  The word peace comes to mind but that’s mostly because I didn’t sleep well last night and my neighbour was playing music whilst I was still in bed this morning.  I suppose the best answer is progress for The Broken of Britain.  And lots more writing opportunities for me!

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The day I submitted my magazine article and then heard a couple of hours later that it had been accepted.  It was a Tuesday in late ish September but I can’t remember date.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Giving up coke and chocolate for so long

9. What was your biggest failure?

I could (and probably should) have made more of an effort with some of my friends

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

In a word: Yes.  Several colds, a chest infection (or two, one I had treatment for anyway) and a day of kidney infection and gall bladder nastiness that ended with me at the out of hours GP with him asking me if I wanted to go into hospital and saying he wasn’t sure if I needed to be admitted or not (if there is anything more freaky than being asked if you want to go into hospital because the dr isn’t sure I’ve not found it.  Because, no, I didn’t but if he was asking the question should I have said yes?). Two injections and sending me home to “wait and see” along with the comment “I think we’ll be seeing you again, don’t be a hero” turned the corner for me thought.  I was out of action for a week though.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My Kindle!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

I don’t really want to single out just one or two people.  Lets just say different people at different times and for different reasons.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Same as above really.  There wasn’t any one major person.  Apart from the duty doctor at my surgery the other day who refused to sort my regular prescription (after snow stopped me getting to see my own GP and the surgery messed it up) as she “didn’t know me”.  I actually find it very worrying that she could do that.  Well, I find the fact that she had the receptionist call me rather than calling me herself so we could discuss it and maybe reach a compromise to be the most worrying.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, clothes, gadgets.  I seem to have bought a lot of gadgets this year (wii, new tv, kindle).  I still need to work on improving my budgeting and finances although it is getting better.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My article being published in Disability Now.  I was running round the house going “oh my god oh my god oh my god” for ages.  I had to wait most of a week to tell my mum which prolonged the excitement.  But then her flight home was so badly delayed I couldn’t sp

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

That’s easy – anything from the first season of Glee. Especially What It Feels Like For A Girl

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? About the same. Happier at times but struggling a little at the moment
ii. thinner or fatter? 19lb lighter!  Yayness. That’s so great that I’m not beating myself up about having gained a few pounds.
iii. richer or poorer? About the same I think. Not easy but managing.,
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spending time with certain friends. Writing.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing.  And being snowbound but there wasn’t much I could do about that!
20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I was at my parents house. I was supposed to go home late Boxing Day but due to the snow at the very last minute I had to stay another night and go home first thing (literally, much earlier than I would have wanted to be up given it was the best I slept whilst there) on the 27th.  For the most part it was enjoyable but I must admit I did lose it crying when it was decided I needed to stay another night.  My parents house isn’t properly accessible and I need a lot more help and support there which makes it difficult.
22. Did you fall in love in 2010?

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Downton Abbey. I love period dramas and this is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.  Their twitter streams also crack me up!  I also enjoyed Glee but it continually has a very bad portrayal of disability in it which stopped it being the best for me.  If anyone doesn’t know what I mean, you tube glee safety dance. Love the song, love flashmobs, hate what they did.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

As I’ve said before when doing this survey and I’m sure I’ll say again, hate is too strong a word.  There are a few people I’ve gotten to know better and found they weren’t who I thought they were though.  That can be disappointing.
26. What was the best book you read?

This is a very very difficult question for me to answer but then it always is!  I’ve read something like 108 books this year.
I’m very tempted to say Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll because I was given it to review and would never have read it otherwise (it’s a paranormal romance which I’ve been avoiding like the plague) but I really enjoyed it.  I’m not sure I like the precedent which might be set by listing a paranormal romance though.  
Possibly The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is the best but Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte and The Long Reach by Peter Cocks deserve mentions as well for being unputdownable.  Oh and I discovered Sherlock Holmes this year in both film and book forms – great, loved it/them!
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

28. What did you want and get?

To get a magazine article published
A Kindle
A Wii
30. What was your favourite film of this year?

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 29. I had “party tea” with my family then we watched Tim Minchin’s DVD.  I think I enjoyed it more than most of the fam.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I’m pretty pleased with how this year has been overall.  So being slighly tongue in cheek – less snow!
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Very similar to previous years just in a succession of smaller sizes!
34. What kept you sane?

I’m going to repeat last years answer because it’s still true.  I will add crafts to the list however.
Different things at different times. Good friends. Reading. Afternoon naps.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I’m not sure there was one.  I’m not a huge celebrity fan. I have enjoyed watching Lord Sugar on both versions of The Apprentice as he cracks me up and I’m looking forward to reading his autobiography but that’s not fancying.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The cuts, especially as they target disabled people the most (or so it seems to me) and the government readily admit they haven’t fully researched the impact they are likely to have on disabled people.
37. Who did you miss?

I missed lots of people at different times and in different ways.  My family and friends who are no longer with us, people I didn’t see for a while and others too.  I don’t want to write a list and possibly miss people off.
38. Who was the best new person you met?

This is my stock answer for this question but – I don’t like this question so I’m not answering.  That said I don’t think I’ve met anyone and taken a violent dislike to them.  I might answer the opposite question if that were the case!
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:

Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith even if you aren’t sure about it – great things can happen as a result.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

But you’ve got to be tough when consumed by desire
‘Cause it’s not enough just to stand outside the fire 

(From Standing Outside The Fire by Garth Brooks)

>Announcing One Month Before Heartbreak

>I can’t believe I’m so behind in my blogging that I officially announced this more than a week ago and I’m only just getting round to posting about it here on my own blog.

A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of a brainwave of something that The Broken of Britain could do.  After having a couple of twitter chats with Kaliya and some thinking this was announced the Friday before last

One Month Before Heartbreak
A Broken of Britain
14th – 16th January 2011

What is it?

It’s something a bit similar to Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD). Although I will run this yearly if I need to, I’m really hoping not to need to. Basically it’s people getting together to all blog on a subject or a theme at a specified time. The hope is that by all writing at the same time it raises awareness and makes more of an impact.
Why One Month Before Heartbreak?

The consultation that’s currently ongoing about DLA reform ends on 14th February 2011.Which is Valentine’s Day, traditionally a day for love but which could severely affect disabled people if DLA reforms aren’t handled correctly. We need to ensure that our voices are heard. We’re holding this event a month before the consultation ends in order to raise awareness of the consultation and give people to chance to respond to it if they wish. Bendy Girl came up with the name of this event.
What do I do?

Basically, write about whatever you want. Obviously, it should have something to do with disability and it would be great if you could mention this event and Broken of Britain. You don’t need to write specifically about the DLA consultation and your personal experience.Those are welcome but this isn’t topic specific.
Nor do you need to write. You can do a video, a recording, write a poem, draw a picture, anything you want!
I plan to make space available on my own blog to anyone that doesn’t have somewhere to share and wants it.
Who can take part?

Anyone. You don’t need to be disabled or a carer or know a disabled person to take part.Nor do you need to live in the UK or be British. For our campaign and especially for this event to be successful we need to get this out to the wider community, including the international disabled community and the non disabled community.
What can I do to help?

Post on your blog, twitter, Facebook, any website you go on about this event. We need to people to know it’s happening. And keep doing so until the date comes. Use the #BofB hashtag on twitter.

I have a more concise version of this announcement people can repost if they wish.Comment here if you want it or let me know where you think it should be reposted.
Take part if you feel able. This event runs over three days in the hopes that more people will be able to contribute than if it was tied to a single day. It’s not necessary to participate each day although you can if you wish.
If you spot something to do with One Month Before Heartbreak that you like, tell the person who wrote or otherwise made it. Who doesn’t love feedback?
Equally if you spot something you like share the link so others see it.
More will be posted about this along with some other ideas on how to take part as we get closer to the time. Please let me know of any suggestions or ideas you have.

Language is important. However people have very different ideas about what is and isn’t acceptable. And they have their reasons for it. For example in some areas “disabled people” is acceptable but in others “people with disabilities” is considered more appropriate. Please respect that everyone has a choice. The Goldfish, creator of BADD, has given me permission to link to her Language of Disability Post which explains more about this.
And Finally…

Please don’t feel any pressure to take part or do more than you’re able to. I want people to stay safe and enjoy this!
Don’t forget the date!
One Month Before Heartbreak
A Broken of Britain
14th – 16th January 2011

>Merry Christmas to All and To All A Good Night!

>Just a super quick blog entry to wish everyone a very very Merry Christmas.  I meant to get here much sooner and write more but I am well and truly out of time (and my internet is playing up again as it has every evening for the past week or so) so that will have to do for now!

Have a great one no matter what you do.

Lots of love to you all for all your friendship and support this year, it’s very very appreciated and you’ll probably never know how much!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Emma xxx

>Postcards from the Heart by Ella Griffin

>I was given a pre release copy of this book, Postcards from the Heart by Ella Griffin, by Waterstones.com.  It will be published on 20th January 2011.  And I really loved it, so highly recommend it!

Here’s the synopsis from Waterstones website:

Life is looking up for Saffy. She has a great job, a gorgeous flat in the most desirable part of Dublin and – after six years – it looks like her boyfriend, Greg, is going to propose. Greg (just voted the 9th most eligible man in Ireland) is on a high, too – he’s about to swap his part as a heart-throb in an Irish soap for a break in Hollywood. His best mate Conor wakes up every morning with Jess, the most beautiful woman on the planet but, even after seven years and two kids, she won’t get married. He spends his days teaching teenagers and his nights writing the book he hopes will change everything, including Jess’s mind. But their happy endings are playing hard to get. It seems everyone’s keeping secrets – one night stands, heartbreak, grief and loss are all in the mix. It’s going to take some tough questions and even tougher answers before anyone’s being honest – even with themselves. POSTCARDS FROM THE HEART is a book about four friends in their thirties. It’s about love, lust, life, death, balloon rides and missing hamsters. But most of all it’s about figuring out how to stop saying ‘I don’t’ and how to start saying ‘I do’.

My review:
I really, really enjoyed this book.  It reminded me of early Marian Keyes and I think Ella Griffin will definitely be a writer to watch out for.
This book has it all: laughs (I’m still chuckling at one particular line two days after reading it), love, friendship, twists and pretty much anything you might want in a book of this genre.  One or two of the things that happened were obvious but then it went further with them than I expected which is great. I love books that surprise me!  The best bit is that it all works and nothing in it had me thinking it was unrealistic or didn’t work with the plot.
I hope to read more by Ella Griffin.
Two side notes I didn’t put in the review: How refreshing it is not to read a just written book and find the R word in it. And on the waterstones website you have to put your age. strange to think that unless I finish my next review book in the next few days that will be the last one I show up as Emma C, 28.

>101 in 1001 – Item 50…


Have a go at mosaic making

…has been completed!

I went to a mosaic making workshop last Saturday (a week ago, not yesterday).  It was a whole day thing and it was so much fun.

My mum was supposed to come with me but was unable to.  So a friend came with me and that made it better.  I would have enjoyed it with my mum and I was sorry she wasn’t there.  But my friend isn’t crafty and was looking forward to it but wasn’t sure she’d be able to do it as she’s not creative.  She’d even told her husband to expect her to come back with a pile of materials in a bag, in a bad mood because it hadn’t worked out.  She got really really into it and enjoyed it loads, so that made it fun.

I’d half wondered if I would struggled to cut the tiles etc.  And then when I got there and saw the nippers and the cutters I’d wondered that even more.  But I managed really well.  And the only tiles I couldn’t cut, my friend tried and failed to cut too.  So that made me feel better.

The first several times I cut tiles it made my legs spasm (clonus, not extension), then they’d stop, I’d cut something else and they’d go again.  A combination possibly of the amount of pressure needed on the nippers and cutters (especially the nippers) and also the loud noise when they cut through – it didn’t exactly make me jump but it was louder than I expected and I do tend towards things making me jump and then spasm.  I was joking that it would be a good way to burn some extra calories, those shaky legs but thankfully it didn’t last very long and it did eventually stop.  The tiles I used/cut are all different shapes and one or two are on as is.

We didn’t do grouting in the workshop, just cutting tiles and arranging etc.  There weren’t any facilities for grouting where we were.  Two of my pieces I love as they are but another two I wonder how grout would make them look.  We were told to leave gaps so the background would show through like grout.  I didn’t do so great at that with some of my pieces!

I made four things throughout the day.  I think the first thing I made is my favourite.  I would like to give it another go but I don’t think it’ll be something I do all the time, just maybe if they had another workshop.

I think this is a flower, but the woman running the workshop described it as a star.  It’s a piece of wood painted black with tiles on it. Mostly red and blue but with some silver and a tiny amount of yellow as an accent colour.  The yellow was the tutors idea and it really made it pop.  This is the first piece I made and as I said, my favourite.  It has a navy ribbon at the top so it can hang.  I plan to hang it in front of the window but it’s on my desk here.

This isn’t a particularly great photo, I took them on my phone and although it usually takes relative good pics this isn’t one of them!  It’s a small silver box.  On to top it has light purple and pink tiles in various shapes with one bit in blue as an accent.  The sides of the box have black tiles and each side has one bit of the blue.

Two coasters.  These are the last two things I made and the two I wonder how they would look grouted., especially the one on the left.  There are a lot more gaps in these.  One is all different shades of green, including a bit of a sparkly one.  The other is green, purple, a small amount of a bronzey brown and a dark pinky purple in each corner.  In the absence of grout I have considered taking some glitter and putting that in the gaps on these but I’m worried it might break it make it look terrible (and I only have pritt stick in the house glue wise).

I plan to do some more all day craft workshops, it’s a lovely (if tiring!) way to spend a day, especially with a friend to enjoy it with.

>101 in 1001 – Item 72…


create/buy notecards with some of my photos

…has been completed!

I’ve played around with doing this a few times but I could never get the image right, or decide which one I wanted to use or something.

But I finally got them ordered last week and they came this week.  In fact I even sent one to my friend the day after I got them.  In true Emma fashion however when it comes to these cards, what I got wasn’t what I thought I had ordered.

I thought I’d ordered proper notecards.  They were to have a photo of the sunset I took out at sea on one of my JST voyages and on the back I typed “sunset at sea, emma crees” no capitals, i thought it looked artistic.  The inside was to be blank.  This is the photo I used, it was the second one I choose

Turns out, I ordered postcards. With envelopes.

 They are gorgeous and I really like them, but I can’t figure out where I went wrong.  It’s slightly annoying but no big deal.  And at least I set the type to be right at the top and not in the middle.  I can write a decent note on them anyway, just not the long one I might have otherwise done!

>101 in 1001 – Item 6


Make a serious attempt at learning to crochet

…has been completed!

I’m really, really pleased with this one it’s something I’ve been wanting to learn for what feels like forever.  I learned to knit in 2007 and I wanted to learn to crochet before I’d properly considered knitting.  In fact, Christmas 2006 I received a crochet book, a few hooks and a pile of yarn.  I just couldn’t get the hang of it however.  My mum tried to teach me several times both then and again a few years ago.  It just wasn’t happening and we were both convinced that it was something to do with my CP that was stopping it for clicking and making me a crocheter.  The yarn has mostly been used for knitting, the hooks very rarely used for sewing in ends and the book I received sat on my shelf alone, unread and unloved.

A couple of weeks ago I was knitting something in a pattern that was mostly stockinette but with enough modifications that supposedly it wouldn’t roll.  It rolled like you wouldn’t believe.  My friend C who goes to stitch and bitch suggested a type of blocking using an iron and a damp cloth.  But as 1) it was acrylic yarn and 2) I don’t own an iron.  I wasn’t convinced.  I’d been thinking what it needed was a crochet border.  So she offered to teach me the following week.

When I set this goal back in 2008 as a part of my 101 in 1001 it was just to have a last attempt, a proper attempt at learning to crochet. If I couldn’t do it this time I’d give up on that idea.  I really wasn’t convinced I could do it.

So about 10 days ago we sat down and in the space of about ten minutes she showed me how to do a double crochet into the border of my knitting.  She taught me a different technique, not the official one, but one that feels much more similar to knitting as it uses just one hand and you have both hook and yarn in it.  And finally that switch went click and I became a crocheter.

My mum has since shown me how to chain and what to do when you finish.  I’m really loving it.  In fact, you could say I’m completely hooked!

And before I get comments saying “Photos! We want photos!” I can’t show you what I’ve been working on because it’s either the piece C taught me on which is a gift for someone. Or its a rough attempt at chaining etc which I’ve ripped out to reuse as much of the yarn as possible.  But I’ll share some soon, promise.

>This is going to be a super short blog post because when I really had time and wanted to be writing it earlier my internet was coming on and off like a prostitutes knickers.  Or some such metaphor, possibly a more appropriate one I can’t think of right now.  Suggestions anyone?

I’m not that tired but I’m a bit worried that if I wrote a huge entry my Internet might go stupid again and I’d lose it.  Also, I was going to share photos and I don’t want to mess around with them at the moment.  But I’ve been learning (or have learnt, actually I guess) two new crafts in the past few days.  One of the many reasons I’ve not been blogging.

Other reasons include having absolutely no energy and being completely and utterly hooked on listening to an audiobook of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  It’s so good!

I’m working on some disability related posts because I’ve been chatting a lot about different issues and reading a lot of very scary disability related news in the past week or so.  Ashley X has been back in the news, DLA is under threat, the term “special needs” and language as it relates to disability in general are some of those.

Today I heard about a guy writing a book based on his “inspirational” life overcoming CP.  Which he hid for most of his life and his parents asked the drs not to put it in his medical records when they diagnosed him.

And I have a question for some of my American Crip friends. This woman on a message board I post on (not disability related but I used an example of the DDA to clarify/contest a point she made) is telling me that your version of the DDA – the ADA I think? protects you in public buildings and organisations but that private companies can discriminate all they want.

I find that very, very scary.  Is it correct? Seems to me like it couldn’t be law.  But I was wanted to ask someone of my peeps who are in the know about these things.

>Reverb 10 – Wisdom

>I know I’m late to this but I only found out about it yesterday.  I’ve just signed up to Reverb 10.  I may very well go back and touch on some of the previous prompts as a couple of them are very interesting to me. But I’ll have to see how things go time wise.

Today’s prompt is Wisdom.  What was the wisest decision you made this year and how did that pan out for you?

My first thought was that I needed to put my (not really blogged about) decision to try and take better care of myself down as the wisest decision I made this year.  But then I stopped for a minute and thought about it more. That’s not the best or wisest decision I made this year.

In May I gave up Coke and Chocolate.  I was totally addicted to the both of them, drinking roughly a litre of “normal” coke each day and eating at least 100g of chocolate.  Originally that was supposed to be for three weeks, to prove that I could.  Three weeks was a random period of time that I picked in 2008 when I set that as a goal on my current 101 in 1001 list.  I was determined that was one of the goals I was definitely going to achieve.

And after the three weeks I didn’t go back to the coke or to the chocolate.  In fact I didn’t have any again until about ten days ago, over six and a half months later.

Another of my goals was six months of no missed medication.  I’ve not missed any for 10 months now.  I’m taking better care of myself in other ways, realising my limits more and trying to be more OK with who I am and what I’m doing.  I’m achieving goals and forgiving myself and being realistic when I can’t or don’t manage others.

I’ve lost a lot of weight, I feel better in many ways and my depression is more stable then it’s been in a long time.  I really struggle at this time of year usually and I’m struggling now – just not as much as before.  I’m not as stressed or worried about Christmas as I might previously have been.  Most importantly I feel like I’m clearer on what my goals are and how I’m going to reach them.

Taking better care of myself, loving myself I suppose you could say, is definitely one of the best decisions I made this year.  But when I look at it, it all traces back to that small first step of giving up the coke and the chocolate – I didn’t expect it to have such an impact on my mentally as well as physically.  And I’m not sure I could have made the decisions that I need to take better care of myself if I’d not made that decision first.

>Random Facts About Me


  1. I am working on several promised blog posts but only have the energy to write something fun tonight
  2. I learned how to crochet a border onto some knitting last night after several failed attempts at learning to crochet. Crocheting onto knitting was clearly the way to learn
  3. I started eating chocolate and drinking coke again ten days ago after more than 6 months without. Might have been a mistake.
  4. I really love Thunderbirds and read a lot of Thunderbirds fanfiction
  5. I’ve lost about 2 stone (28lb) this year. It’s not behind the couch, I checked.
  6. If I had to choose between twitter and facebook I’d choose twitter
  7. My manual chair is an action 3 (from invacare) with a j3 backrest (from Jay) on it. It’s about 14 months old and needs a new cushion and a decent clean.
  8. My powerchair is a Pride Jazzy 1121 with tilt in space. I got it second hand but it had been hardly used and you couldn’t tell. I’ve had it a few years and it’s battered as fuck now. I love the tilt in space but don’t technically need it.
  9. I’m going away next year for the first time in several years.
  10. I’ve already started planning some of my 101 in 1001 goals for when I write my next list in September
  11. There are 7 grab rails in my bathroom, one of which pretty much never gets used.
  12. I fell this evening (landed in/on my wheelchair and didn’t hurt myself) and laughed my head off at the sheer stupidity of it.
  13. 3d films make me feel sick. I wonder if that’s because the wheelchair spaces are right at the front at my local cinema?
  14. I’ve got a feeling an old school friend might have cut my hair on Monday but I didn’t ask and don’t have the nerve to facebook her and ask her.
  15. There’s someone else on facebook that I know where I know them from but I’m not sure who they are and haven’t asked and it’s been months and I now can’t
  16. I’m probably going to be ML (or one of the MLs) of my local NaNoWriMo group next year.
  17. I started listening to an audiobook yesterday (the first for years) and forgot how good they are for knitting along too.
  18. I have read 107 books so far this year
  19. And I’ve read 375 books since I started keeping track at the beginning of 2007 – although some of those I’ve read more than once in that time meaning the number of different books is less than that.
  20. I’m drinking bitter lemon as I type this
  21. I’m really really hoping to get Just Dance 2 for my birthday (or for Christmas)