Monday, 30 January 2012

Losing body parts?

After a pretty sleepless night last night, all down to a continual pain I've been having in my right ankle over the last year or so but which has gotten a lot worse over the last couple of months, I gave in and rang a podiatrist. Luckily she could fit me in this afternoon. The outcome is I have Sinus Tarsi Syndrome, or what is better known as a bloody painful ankle.

So now when I go out to sporting activities the right side of my body now has to put up with an ankle brace to go with the knee brace and toe strappings. The podiatrist also altered my shoe inserts with some very non high tech sticky padding to help move my foot when I walk so that the sinus tarsi can get freed up and also told me to take a high dose anti-inflammatory at night.

I have to go back in a month and if this doesn't work then I'm for the hospital. Please, please keep everything crossed that this doesn't happen. Every time I've had any orthopaedic intervention I've eventually, after a couple of ops, lost joints. No right knee, no joint in my second toe from the end on my right foot and I really, really don't want to lose any more.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A rant

Sorry about this, but I can't help myself. Have any of you seen the latest Rimmel advert for Wake Me Up foundation, as modelled by Kate Moss? They quote that 75% out of 52 people think this is a fab product.

Okay, well I'm no mathematician, but really even I know this is crap as far as amount of people go. That's only 39 people. And when did 52 people constitute a proper sample for commenting on a product anyway?

Of course if I looked like Kate Moss then it wouldn't really matter. A whole load of make-up and a bit of photoshop on a perfectly balanced face = looking good. A whole load of makeup and a bit of photoshop on a face like mine = not one jot of difference.

Now of course if it was a bit of makeup and a whole load of photoshop... well now you're talking!

Rant over.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

What to do?

I'm wondering if I should change the title of this blog. Or in fact start a whole new blog, or just leave it as it is.

When I started it on 6th February 2010, a whole 340 posts ago, it was supposed to be about my coffee plants, but, quite frankly they are so slow growing with very little change from one month to the next I reckon I'd post about once every 6 months if it was just about them. And so, with the best will in the world I realised if I was going to blog it would need to be about more than my beloved coffee plants. And so I started writing about the day to day inconsequentialities that go to make up my life.

But I often wonder who reads this stuff? Does anyone get anything from it?

Today I was at a talk by Nichola Morgan on how to get yourself the best chance to get published and she, as always, says that you need an online presence. The only problem is, that I'm not sure a publisher, or in fact anyone more than a friend would want to read what I write here, and yet sometimes I think if it weren't for this blog I would do far less writing than I do. I'm not sure I want to do more because I actually like other people's blogs that are more than about writing, or literary stuff, and say more about the actual person.

So the dilemma is this: do I close this down and start anew, making it a bit more like other people's blogs, or do I keep writing this in the knowledge that there's a whole lot of stuff in here that may keep people up to date with what I'm about at the most, keep them amused at the least, as well as being a mine of info I could also use for stories, both short and novel length?

Over to you...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Oh dear

After being decidedly unwell yesterday, I woke this morning to feeling slightly better which was all to the good as I had a phone meeting to attend. From there on in things went a bit pear shaped.

My phone meeting got cancelled because the person I was supposed to be talking to had a family problem.

Then I got in the shower and promptly had a nosebleed - starting with one nostril, but rapidly spread to the other - thank goodness MM was around otherwise there'd have been a bloodbath on the floor.

I also received notification that my NHS pension is coming through, whahey - it didn't take them the 4 months they said it would to sign a form and send me the money - but it's going to get taxed, so my measly sum is even more measly.

Believe me I am grateful for what I get, it's just always slightly disappointing to find out it's not what I was lead to believe. I'm beginning to think this is the story of my life!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

All in a day's work

Today was supposed to be a work day. Mountain Man was away overnight doing a recce for some running/cycling thing to take place in the summer up in Stirling so it was my turn to walk the dog. After the bliss of bright blue sky yesterday I opened the blinds this morning to find it was snowing... ugh!

I was also supposed to go to Zumba as it's Tuesday, but, what with the snow and the fact that my knee was a bit sore and I could ill afford the time to get over to Galashiels and back, I made the decision to stay home and do Zumba on the Wii instead. After doing that I decided my hair, which was immensely sun bleached after going to South Africa in November, needed a bit of a dyeing. That was another 45 minutes. Then I realised my train ticket for my journey to London next weekend was missing. There followed a frantic search for a good hour before I worked out that instead of actual tickets, they were on a pdf file on my computer. I did sit down and do a bit of work, but then I was really hungry and decided on lunch - a vegetarian bacon, spinach and lettuce toasted sandwich for the record and very yummy too.

And so here I am, afternoon already part way through and I'm on here blogging instead of getting on with my work. I wonder what other things I can find to do before it gets dark and MM is back home and I can sit in front of the telly watching Masterchef?

Please don't answer that!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A modicum of success

Grey and white was definitely the dress for success. I played a storm, which was very rewarding. Sadly my partner wasn't playing so well. Still we won one, drew two and lost one. The one we lost was to the eventual winners so made our losing not quite so bad.

One good thing was that our win was against a Scottish champion, Gail Lindores, who is out today at the Scottish Two Bowls Pairs Competition. I have to say that felt very good indeed. I was actually in her team on Wednesday night, when I played pretty badly. I couldn't throw the jack in the right direction at all, something I've always suffered with, and at the end she spent about ten minutes with me trying to help. I think she regretted that yesterday!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Dressed for success?

Today was a bowls competition and Rabbie Burns lunch, and of course now I'm (almost) retired I have the time to take part in such activities. So at 10 o'clock this morning I could be found down at Tweedbank Indoor Bowls Centre, the only person out of the 50 people there, which included two non-players, who was dressed inappropriately. Everyone had come in the statutory grey and white that's worn for competitions. And me? I was dressed in purple and black. You'd have thought someone might've told me when I was playing on Wednesday night and they were all reminding me that I was playing today.

I played ok. Not so well in the first game, which my team lost and really quite well in the second, which we won. However we weren't up for any prizes. What was quite amazing though is that I won two prizes in the raffle. A lovely bottle of vintage Merlot and a Parker Pen. What was rather extraordinary is that three members out of the four in my team won raffle prizes. Others at the lunch weren't so amused.

I'm playing again tomorrow in a two bowl pairs competition which I came runner-up in last year. This year my partner isn't so good and I'm not playing all that well so don't expect to win anything, but hopefully it'll be fun and at least I shall be dressed appropriately and not stick out like the proverbial.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The mystery of the vanishing bank manager

I have wanted to sort my Royal Bank of Scotland account out for a while. I'm only with RBS because when I first moved to the Highlands in 1985 I wanted a bank in the village and RBS was the only one who had a branch there. Of course since 1985 a lot has changed.

When I moved to The Borders, as I do most of my banking online, it seemed silly to change branches. Then the financial crisis hit and I was not at all happy with RBS, but as I have another account with The Nationwide, I felt that all the direct debits etc that I do and that have always gone through RBS could stay as it just seemed too much to move them. RBS are actually very customer friendly over the phone and web, and so do have some good points. However, just before Christmas I got a letter from them to say that they were changing the terms of accounts like mine and I'd have to pay £8 per month for the privilege. I don't bloody think so!

So yesterday, being the first day I've had some time to sort this, I looked up the phone number on Google for the RBS in Kelso and phoned. I spoke to a lovely lady called Marion and made an appointment to see her at 12 o'clock today. Off I went. Got there on time to find that not only did I not have an appointment, no-one called Marion works there. What a mystery. But anyway, the woman I spoke to said they do have a Marion in their Jedburgh branch. I did say that there was no way I'd have made an appointment to go all the way to Jedburgh, but why didn't she phone to see if I'd made a mistake. But no. I wasn't down to see Marion in Jedburgh either. Mystery deepens. I made an appointment to go into the Kelso branch next week to see a man called David anyway and apparently they'll give me some money back for not logging my appointment in the system.

When I got home there was a message from Marion. I phoned the number and this was the following conversation:

Bank Worker: Bank of Scotland Kelso, can I help you?
Me: Did you say Bank of Scotland?
BW: Yes.
Me: I thought I'd phoned Royal Bank of Scotland in Kelso.
BW: Oh did you get the number from Google?
Me: Yes.
BW (laughing): Oh dear it's wrong on Google.

Anyway, after that exchange I told her about my missed appointment with Marion and apologised. She said, 'Don't worry and of course if you decide to change to Bank of Scotland you already know the number.' Well now, I hardly think I'm likely to want to change to a bank that has the wrong telephone number displayed on Google, but she's a trier and it made me laugh.

I have to say I am mightily relieved to find out who Marion is, as I was a bit perturbed that my new found OAP status had rather gone to my head and I was losing my marbles. I'll have to come clean with David at RBS next week, though the fact that they don't have the right number on Google either does make me wonder and maybe they'll compensate me anyway. We'll see.

Monday, 16 January 2012

This retiring lark

This morning I got my bus pass! Complete with hideous photo... I'm blaming MM myself (for the photo obviously not the fact that I've got my bus pass). Sadly I didn't have time to go and get on a bus, and I'm not sure I'll have time for the rest of the week as it's quite a busy one. But I'm determined to go somewhere, anywhere, asap, just because I can.

Retirement is a becoming a 'game of two halves'. On the one hand I was very good and said no to taking on another client who was my absolute ideal in the terms of problems. I was oh so tempted but managed to stop myself and put her in the direction of someone very good. On the other hand I've had a meeting today to look at the possibility of doing some joined up work with a University. We'll see. I haven't said yes yet, and to be fair neither have they. We're both in 'thinking about it' mode and have another meeting set up for April.

It'll be interesting to see how all this pans out. I don't think I'm as good at retiring as I'd hoped I'd be!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Saturday night at the movies - Borders style

Mountain Man took me to the cinema to see War Horse at The Pavilion in Galashiels yesterday.

Two rows and to the left of us were three people with learning difficulties who sat and talked in very loud voices for a lot of the film. No-one told them to be quiet, which I thought was rather nice, even though it was a touch irritating. Then, about 10 minutes before the film finished, one couple walked out. Very strange. But better than that, at the end of the film quite a lot of the audience burst into spontaneous applause. The Borders lot like to do things their way.

The film itself was good and I did enjoy it, but some of the scenes were so unreal which spoilt it a bit for me. Mountain Man and I discussed this on the way home. For him it didn't matter. For me it did. I'm not going to tell you which scenes because I don't want to spoil it for you, but it'd be interesting to know what you thought if you've seen it.

It was moving and emotional in places and certainly most of the war scenes were a triumph. There's one early scene where the cavalry charge into a German camp and then... well again, I'm saying no more, but trust me it's an amazing depiction of war and was one of the most powerful scenes of the whole movie.

Many of the horse scenes were poignant and they were counterbalanced with some moments of hilarity, which made me think how great it was to have the audience sniffling into their hankies one moment and laughing out loud the next.

So all in all a good movie, but I felt it let itself down when it didn't need to. Last night I was prepared to give it 7 out of 10, however after sleeping on it I've downgraded it to a 6.

On the way out I overheard a conversation about the stage play, and about how it was so much better than the movie. I'm off to London in February and thought it'd be good to see for myself. Sadly it's completely sold out for quite a few months. Once the date for the next meeting is set hopefully I can book a seat for then as it's always interesting to see different adaptations.

What last night did do though, was make MM and I think we ought to go to the cinema more often and because Galashiels is only 20 minutes or so away, we don't have much of an excuse. I also rather like The Pavilion, which, although it looks like it'd be a tiny cinema on the outside, actually has 4 screens and lots of choice. It has a slight quirkiness to it which appeals to me and makes it feel like going to the flicks is less of a corporate affair, if you see what I mean.

Do let me know what you thought of the film though, as I'm always intrigued to see if others are as critical as I seem to be. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Unlucky for some

Last night was the Borders Search and Rescue Unit's Christmas meal. They do things differently in the Borders, so a Christmas meal nowhere near Christmas is just fine. The other thing they do differently is, instead of looking at all the great things they do over the previous year, they come up with an awards ceremony that looks at how incompetent some of them are.

We went to The Cobbles Inn in Kelso and pretty good it was too. The food was excellent and so was the wine. We were put in a room on our own (all 23 of us), away from the good Border folk who the BSARU serve, which, it occurred to me, was just as well. I mean who wants to hear about, let alone look at the film of team members who, it seems, are in dire need of being rescued? Needless to say my Mountain Man was not in that club, so my trust in him is intact.

Meanwhile yesterday daytime  I went to my Friday bowls assignation and I'm pleased to report that my string of exceptionally bad play came to a halt and, not only did my team win, but we won the prize money (a whole £3 each) for the afternoon. However, it didn't start out so well as we were losing 1-10, but we ground it out and eventually won 19-10. The other team were not amused at all and I did feel a bit sorry for them, but I put all that to one side and enjoyed my victory. Oh yes, and I played very well indeed. I have more league games next week so I'm hoping this continues.

I also had another piece of very good news. I have been trying to get my head round how to create an online course. I came across another psychologist who had offered her services to help those of us who want to work in this way to fulfill our dreams and we'd had a conversation just before Christmas, but when I looked into it I realised that I needed a lot more help. Anyway, last week this particular person was offering 3 people a free breakthrough session, which we had to apply for. And I'm thrilled to say that I was one of the 3 who gained a place. So watch this space for my upcoming course, which hopefully should be ready in a few months time.

So lots of good things all in one day. And that was Friday 13th. Might be unlucky for some, but definitely not for me.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Thank fate for contacts

Sometimes I feel that fate plays a big hand in things.

Yesterday, on my fantastic birthday spa day, when I had a whole day swimming, saunaing, hydropooling, steamrooming, lying down on heated shaped tiled beds, followed by three hours of treatments I was so pleased I'd opted for contact lenses.

I was told by the optician not to wear my contact lenses while swimming in chlorinated pools, which was fine because I started the day by swimming in the infinity pool. Just great. Then off to the Thermal Suite. On the wall as you go in is a chart to tell you how you might get the best from each room. Could I read it? Heck as like! So off I went back down to my locker where I'd left a pair of contact lenses in my make-up bag. I managed to put them in within seconds and off I went back up to the Thermal Suite to thoroughly enjoy my time.

The hydropool was interesting as it was out on the roof of the hotel. I was really having a good time til I realised there were a whole lot of workmen on the roof opposite. I decided to go back indoors to enjoy the delights of the steam room before I became the laughing stock of Edinburgh City's workforce.

My favourite bits of the Thermal Suite were the Laconium and the Trepidarium. The latter of which I fell asleep on and woke up to realise that if I didn't get a wriggle on I'd be late for my lunch and then my treatments. A definite no-no. Amazing how hungry lying about on heated couches can make you.

After lunch I enjoyed the delights of a salt and oil scrub, which made me realise why I don't like the feel of sand but left my body feeling really smooth. Then it was the hot stone massage, which I highly recommend. I did have an embarrassing moment when I must've been asleep because I became aware I was snoring. Luckily my masseur ignored the noises I was making and carried on, but not my finest moment. And I finished with a facial.

I felt truly pampered and special.

Then I was picked up and taken home to get changed and go out for dinner at The Witchery. A lovely meal with my man and my boys was had.

This morning I got to have a meet up with Cathy the Bookseller who had an assignation of the work kind in Edinburgh yesterday. We had a lovely morning of chat and then I went upstairs to get something from my bedroom and found my glasses, which were lying on the chair, the very ones that Nigel at the Opticians had so kindly repaired for me before I went on holiday, were bloody well broken again. I've had those glasses for 10 years with no problem and then within 2 months I've broken them twice. Was I ever pleased that I was wearing contact lenses!

And so now I am a fully fledged contact lens wearer, like it or not. I do have my spare glasses, which are fine, but not ones I would wear the whole time as I find them a bit too heavy. So contact lenses it is. I'm so relieved that I've been practising with them and getting used to them otherwise I would have been well and truly scuppered.

Obviously I'm meant to be a contact lens wearer, it's just that I didn't know it until now.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

My last evening... my 50's.

Yes, the big six oh is beckoning tomorrow and because I've got a day of birthday good things happening, I'm going to be away from all computers, telephones, and anything that smacks of interaction all day.

I'm having a spa day at The Sheraton in Edinburgh, which I'm looking forward to tremendously and I have to say, after going back to Zumba today after the Xmas break, I shall need it. I've already stiffened up and could have done with a swim and a massage today, but tomorrow it'll have to be. And after all that pampering and relaxing, I'm being taken out to dinner by the three lovely men in my life.

I had one disappointment though today, and that is the Open Studies course I'd signed up for at Edinburgh Uni has been cancelled due to lack of participants. They've offered me another course, but I've realised I don't want to do a course just for the sake of it, and the titles of the courses I could do don't inspire me much, so maybe I'm not supposed to do anything with my spare time yet.

This last added to yesterday's disappointment when I was told by the NHS Pension people that it would take them 4 months to sort out my pension. Yup... 4 months is what I said! And what terrifyingly difficult things do they have to do to get this in order? Sign the bloody form and give me my money that's what!

Now I have an evening to myself (as Mountain Man has gone climbing and left me and Nell to our own devices) and to help with life's frustrations I shall have a glass or two of wine and a curl up with my book and relax.

So goodbye 50's, you've been interesting and fun, and hello 60's... bring it on!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A bit of balance

I wanted to spend today curled up with another book, but No. 1 son is coming for a visit and so there's no time for slobbing. He's the active sort and will demand that we're up and at'em - that's the royal 'we' you understand, because Mountain Man has just been out on one of his extensive runs while I've not long prised myself from my pit and got some clothes on.

Mountain Man has taken on the 2012 miles in 2012 and is very keen at the moment. Funny really as the more active he becomes, the more inactive I seem to become. One of the vagaries of life I suppose.

Anyway, he's just announced he's used up over 1080 calories this morning, which is rather strange as I've just eaten about that for my lunch. Nice to know we complement each other so well. Nothing like a bit of balance in a relationship.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A book review or two

What to do on a cold, miserable, windy January day? Why read a book of course. And luckily I was given 3 review copies of new books in my goodie bag from Cathy the Bookseller (who's job I unutterably envy I have to say) at our pre-Xmas get together. I couldn't think of a better way to spend today than to spend it reading a book that isn't yet on the shelves.

It's called 'The Good Father' by Noah Hawley. The story is a good one. A son kills a senator billed to be the next President of the USA and the novel is about how the father deals with this news. Sadly, the author has the rather annoying habit of employing similes on a lot of pages and I found it very irritating. And then he killed the story for me by introducing an outrageous scenario that I just couldn't believe in near the end. I'm not going to spoil it for you just in case you buy the book for yourself. Suffice it to say the book dropped a star because of this and it gets a 3 out of 5.

This is a whole lot better than the biography of Peggy Guggenheim by Anton Gill I've just finished. 528 pages of facts which left me cold. It was a slog, but I refuse to be beaten by a book unless it's absolute crap, which would get nul points (French accent) in my rating system. This one got one star. I don't recommend you read it unless you're suffering from insomnia.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Today's the day...

...I handed in my letter to tell my work I'm retiring.

When I say 'retiring' I mean that I'm not taking on any new people. I have one long-term client who I will see through to the end and that might take some time. I'm also facilitating Mindfulness groups there. So as you can see, I'm not leaving, just psychologically the intention is now made and is in print. Which I think means it's official!

I still have the other two jobs, neither of which is full-time, but work is work. And this year I've also got a workshop at a rather large conference at Birmingham NEC in March that I'm presenting, and I'm also hoping to have an online course up and running by the end of the summer... tho the latter is in the pipeline so to speak at the moment and not a reality. So lots to occupy me.

And what will I do with my 'spare' time, I hear you ask? Fill it of course!

I'm going to do an Open Studies course in Writing for Competitions at Edinburgh Uni. It's only once a week for 5 weeks, which is not too much of a commitment. It's also quite a good price at £42. I'm just hoping the price doesn't reflect the quality, but at least by the end of it I shall know what the difference between nano fiction and flash fiction is.

I can already tell I'm going to like this retirement lark!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


The going to bed and hoping for a better day today didn't work. Today has been awful from every angle. I tried, I really did to get in the mood for anything, but I just couldn't get myself in the swing. Everything I touched seemed to go wrong added to by the fact that it's a horrible grey, rainy, January day.

I was trying to tidy my office, but every time I shifted a bit of paper, something else revealed itself and I found myself sidetracked and what's worse is there's still the same mess everywhere, but just in different piles.

I found a letter which was supposed to have been posted a couple of weeks ago. It somehow got lost in the pre-Xmas tidying, which also somehow got sidetracked. It needed to be where it needs to be by the end of this week, so I shall have to keep my fingers severely crossed and hope that the Royal Mail does it's job a little better than they promise to do with my bus pass.

That was the other thing that got me shifted off purpose today. My bus pass. I found the form in one of my many 'to do' piles and realised I needed a recent passport photo. Thus ensued approx 2 hours of trying to take a photo with my computer that a) was light enough, b) actually looked like me, c) was not too hideous; and d) was printed in the right size. I gave up in the end and got Mountain Man to take a photo with his camera. It fulfilled the first two criteria, d) took a while, and as for c)... well least said.

Then off to the Post Office to claim my free bus pass. It says on the top of the form that you can fill it out and take it along up to 2 weeks in advance of a 60th birthday. Well mine's next week and I thought I was on target. But no. The guy in the PO informed me that it will take 21 days to get to me. Mmmm... makes you think doesn't it... you can get the form in 2 weeks before, but on no account will you ever get it on your birthday!

Another frustration was my NHS pension. I was only in the NHS for 15 years so it was never going to be one of those huge ones, but I was grateful for whatever I was going to get. Ah yes, well that's fine and well, but the wonderful joined up system that says that the world knows when you change addresses, change names, change your phone number etc, never knew that I'd moved. And so that's one further thing I won't be getting on my birthday. I'd been informed long ago that my actual pension isn't going to be with me for 20 more months, which I'd resigned myself to, but my NHS one... ok least said about that now too.

And the rest of the day's frustrations? What with Nell being sick and my taking ages to work out if my contact lenses were in the right way round (I think not) were the tip of the rest, I shall leave it to your imaginations to think what else my day held for me.

I shall be pleased it'll soon be over and I can try again tomorrow. On second thoughts that's what I said yesterday...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The most depressing day of the year

Well that's according to something I read somewhere... can't even remember where now, but frankly it's working for me.

First of all there's the tree and the decorations to come down, which we're doing tonight and it means it's the end of the festivities and time to get back to work.

Secondly, it's been awful weather, with gale force winds since late last night which has continued for the whole day. We're lucky, as some in the village have lost loads of slates. We had a gate and a fence that wanted to go wandering, but luckily Mountain Man spotted it in time and headed outdoors with his trusty rope. His trusty dog was going to accompany him, but one look outside and that was enough for her. She went straight back to bed where she's remained for all but 20 minutes of her day when she was forced to go out walking.

And thirdly, I played the worst game of bowls I can remember. It was the last one of this league session and we lost 10-19. I can't say I was the only one in my team playing badly, but I certainly made it a lot easier for our opponents. At least we didn't need to win today as we've won our section, but it was a disastrous game. I think we now need to play off against the other section and with my current form I can only hope it's on a Thursday when I'm at work. Bizarrely, in spite of a bad performance, I've been asked to join a women's league team too, which starts in February. Even more bizarrely I accepted. I can only hope my game picks up before then or I shall be off everyone's Xmas card list for next year.

Ah well, that's almost the end of the depressing day, and time to get in the mood for good things. And to help me on my way there's half a bottle of fizz that needs finishing. So that's it for today... I shall go and drown my sorrows and wake up refreshed and ready for some positivity tomorrow.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Day

If New Year's Day is all about feeling hungover and spending the day watching films, then I've done a good job.

New Year's Eve itself was an enjoyable affair, with much eating and game playing. The only problem was that, having gone to the trouble of buying expensive M&S nibbles so that I could get a couple of *free* bottles of Cava, I decided it should be drunk. Shirley and Mountain Man don't drink, but my usual drinking companion Andy also bowed out, as he was on some particular antibiotic. And so it came to be that I was the only one who imbibed (not all of it I hasten to add, but I did myself proud) and therefore the only one who woke up this morning feeling somewhat worse for wear.

Once Shirley and Andy left, I'm afraid to say that I headed for my day in front of the telly and I've not moved since. Shame in some ways as it was a beautiful day outside, but the way I see it is there'll be others and a day doing nothing at all is probably a good thing. Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it.