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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Gossip, giggles and diabetes...

I am neglecting people.

Alas, I am aware of this, as I have had notifications of people's birthdays that I have missed and have barely spoken to anyone on the telephone for over a week.

I am also neglecting myself a little bit. Don't worry, I did at least have time to purchase new tweezers for my Denis Healy eyebrows this week, having lost said tweezers to the hobbits and their new found discovery of how good they are at getting in-between stuck Lego bricks. I also dyed my hair - but other than that everything else has pretty much gone to pot.

Most evenings I have been squirrelling away at writing and I am now aiming for 10,000 words a week in order to get the first draft ready for rehashing/editing by November. So I am stuck in front of my laptop most of the time, headphones in ears so that I am not distracted by text messages or Facebook notifications.

However, all work makes for a very dull wondering woman, so last night I hit the town with the very colourful and entertaining A.

She is entertaining because she is intelligent, funny and a bit daft - all sound qualities in my book; and she is colourful not because her use of the English language is blue (although she can swear like a sailor when required), but because she sports a very decent barnet with no less than than three different colours in it. She confessed to me that tourists have even stopped her and asked her to pose for a photograph such is the design...but she also became slightly alarmed much later when we got caught in the rain as she thought the dye might run.

Not a natural pink, green and purple then babe?

We decided after much deliberation that we would venture into the big smoke...and after a few dress issues, (both) underwear (mine) and train issues we met at London Victoria with scenes reminiscent of an old black and white movie.  Well, not quite but it sounded good and I wanted to put it in.

First things first - food. After wandering around trying to think of something that inspired us, we found ourselves in a bit of a dither - for gods sake don't ask either of us to make an executive decision.
However, we finally settled on pizza.
"Ok, what are the plans for the night?" I ask enjoying my first and only beer for the evening. "Are we staggering off to some night club? Latching onto a stag do and catching the first train back in the morning?"
"Hmm - we could do. Alternatively we could just google something, see what takes our fancy and get the last train back?"

Hmm...I liked the sound of that more and no matter how much I try and pretend, the fact is I am so not rock n roll anymore...not that I am entirely sure that I ever was.

We can't decide where to head out to, however at this point a lovely looking young squaddy walks past the restaurant window.
"Oh where is he going? We could follow him?" I suggest.
"I think that's stalking, not following."
"Yeah, and? Your point is?"
She shrugs as if actually there isn't one and the pair of us watch him wander away.
"There is always the army barracks."
I look at her surprised, "We can go there?"Wow it feels like an Officer and a Gentleman all over again.
"Nope, but we could find out where they drink."
"How?"
"I have a friend who I can text." Which she does, but alas no immediate reply.
"Google it."
"Oh yes," so she googles 'Where do soldiers go to drink in London'. Amazingly it predicts it before she has even finished, clearly we are not the only ones who have thought of this before.

Alas, it all seems a bit too far away for the time that we have and eventually after asking the waiter, who informed us that we were cool enough to go to Brixton, get us...we eventually decide on pottering over to Soho.

It is a great atmosphere; people wandering around just enjoying the evening, listening to someone playing bongos at the side of the road and lots of happy people. Pootle would love it here.

We even come across a Catholic Nightclub. Hmm, really? Alas we weren't tempted and instead plumped for a cocktail bar, where we threw them into disarray by ordering two cokes (told you we were hard core); hung around G-A-Y just in case we saw Kylie Minogue arriving and ordering the biggest, meanest milkshake from an American diner.

"You know I think this milkshake may just be the best ever," says A as we slurp away happily on the tube on the way back.
"I agree."
"A heady tone of chocolate and ice cream, with an undercurrent of diabetes."
"Hell yeah. What would an evening be without the potential of contracting a terminal condition?"

It was just what the doctor ordered. The evening that is, not the diabetes inducing milkshake. An evening of gossip, giggles and diabetes - what more could a girl ask for?

Let's do it again soon my intelligent, colourful friend - but next time I need to bring Pootle - not only would she have loved the evening, but as a nurse she will also be incredibly useful for those hyperglycaemic attacks on the train home.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Temptations...

Ok we are back in a routine again.

Hobbits have returned to school, and although this still makes for a crazy routine, it is a routine nonetheless and I for one feel better for it.

I know that there are many parents all over the world who are happy that the children are back at school. Summer is over and the majority of us have had a good one, but school settles us. We don't have to panic about childcare, we know where they are; bedtimes have a sense of normality about them again and well, we can enjoy the quality time we have together rather than tearing our hair out trying to think of new and innovative ways to entertain small people.

School - ah, let me count the ways I love you...

It has also given me more time to write in the evenings. I am determined to finish 'the book' if it kills me and I am half way through the first draft. Estimated completion of first draft is November - I said estimated, so don't string me up if I am not quite ready.

However, it is very hard to stay focused when you have a tin of biscuits, a kettle, Facebook and to make it worse a new TV.

Facebook is unbelievably tempting to drop into when you are sitting at a computer - that and I have also discovered the new temptations of Twitter.

I had a conversation with Pootle who has an essay to write in three weeks and who is equally as good at procrastinating and inane diversions of interest as I am.

It is amazing how many times we have been tempted to check on Facebook every five to ten minutes just to see if anything unusual has been posted...when really nothing has. Facebook is a bit dangerous...I am almost tempted to deactivate my account just so I can get on and stop being a nosey mare.

The other temptation is the TV. Mine alas, died a death this week. We have had a small funeral for it at the local dump, and have had to purchase a new one. Pootle on the other hand has finally bought one after a year of being without one...consequently the urge to watch crap TV is something she is also fighting.

We did although have an interesting conversation with regards to new televisions just before our extreme purchases.

"How big is yours?" She text me one afternoon.
Hello, I thought. I love Pootle dearly but really sharing 'my size' may be a little bit more than our friendship can handle.
"Your TV." She sends. "I can't decide how many inches I need. It is, after all, all about the inches."
Oh...I think enlightened. "Don't know. Never been very good at guessing inches. Will measure it when I get home later."

So later on that evening I whip out my measuring tape and discover that I have a full 32".
"Hmm.." Pootle ponders..."Too much I think."
"Really? I would go bigger if I could."
She just gives me a look.
"I would - imagine a 42" across the wall. Imagine how fantastic that would be. You would never watch porn in the same way, would you?"
For a moment she looks at me excited. "Yes and you can get those 3D TV's now...how bloody scary would that be having a 20" penis waving around at you in 3D?"
"It would knock off your glasses." I suggest. "Incredibly interactive though." I consider.

Just how interactive it would be is only the limit of your imagination, and Pootle and I consider that actually a normal 32" screen would do just fine.

After all, if we are struggling with concentration with just a normal interactive world - imagine how much trouble we could get into with a 3D world? Especially if it was Hugh Jackman, eh Pootle?

The temptation really would be too much...



Saturday, 14 September 2013

Sixty-eight and a half...

Well the hobbits, Pootle, her boys and I, have just spent a lovely two days away at Legoland in Windsor.

Even more exciting - we went one better this time and stayed at the Legoland Hotel.

We were lucky enough earlier this year to find a good deal. The hobbits have been asking to stay at the Hotel for about two years now, and having spent most of the summer holiday working it felt like a compromise to spend some quality time with the Lord of Lego, and the tiny deity's of mini figures...

If you have never been to Legoland it is pretty awesome - lots of stuff for kids and for adults who want to be kids...rides, toys, build it areas etc etc...however the Hotel is really something else.

As you come into the foyer of the reception, there is a Lego carousel with a hot air balloon and a shark among other things, and amazing Lego constructions all around the hotel and of course, Legoland itself.
A giant Darth Vader, ships, characters from all walks of life;  Pootle and I wondered who built them?

I mean, do you think someone actually gets paid to put these things together or are they made by a robot? It could be a pretty awesome job couldn't it? One that my eldest hobbit would absolutely dream of doing...and I confess, I could possibly make a career move for.


We stayed in the pirate room which was just truly awesome in a big way...As we entered our room, I am not sure who squealed the loudest, the hobbits, Pootle or me... They had Lego sets in their treasure chest, a pirate bunk bed and pirate pillows - but it is their attention to detail that really sets the whole scene; even the headboard had little skull and cross bone buttons which would have made my step-mum green with envy - if I could have got them for you I would have done!


As part of our stay we booked the restaurant at the hotel for something to eat. An unlimited buffet which the the boys and we made the most of...finishing the evening with two Pina Colada's while we watched the boys run around and play on X-Box's...hard life eh?

However it is also funny what you notice in places like these...as I looked around the restaurant each table had a number and happy little Lego chef on the picture. It was the Lego figure on it that made me look twice at first. A little chef with his tongue hanging out, clearly enjoying his food.

I am not quite sure when I noticed it, but slowly it dawned on me when looking around the tables that there was a number missing. I thought I must be wrong, so I counted again...67, 68...70...nope definitely missing.

There was a young girl serving us, Jessie I think (I apologise Jessie if I have your name wrong) so I asked her...where was the number 69? Where was table 69?
"I don't know." she said a little bewildered and looked around, "I have never noticed that before."
She then asked her colleague, who informed her that the number didn't exist - neither did the number 13.

Now I can understand why the number 13 may be considered as an unlucky table to sit at, but the number 69 is not unlucky surely?
"As it is a family restaurant, it was considered inappropriate." Said her colleague.

Ah, really? T'was a shame really, as the happy little Lego chef with his tongue hanging out on the number 69 could have been quite fun. I felt like there should be one like in Harry Potter, an imaginary 68 and a half or something like that.

Alas - the number 69 does not exist in the Lego restaurants. I may have been the first person to observe it, but hey - there is always one isn't there....so although this photo doesn't quite prove it, the girls posing with the numbers does in fact prove that the conversation was had - and I thank both Jessie and Iris for being such great sports about it, and for being so lovely during our stay...

All of us are looking forward to going back again next year - in the meantime we will build the Lego we have purchased, play with the mini figures and marvel at the lack of numerical ordering of the head honchos at HQ...I wonder who even considered that 69 was a problem?


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Acceptance...

Time truly is the healer it maintains it is.

Hindsight makes you realise that. Well, hindsight and good friends around you who remind you that things do, and will, get better.

In the last few weeks I have seen a close friend of mine experience the same pain that I felt last year, and watching her go through the same questions and emotions that I went through was quite humbling. If I could choose a superpower it would be to wipe away emotional pain...with just one wave of my magical wand.

Seeing her this evening I can see that she is finally making a step in the right direction. She is far from over it, but there is a glimmer in her again. She is laughing at things and sometimes, just sometimes, she can focus on other things.

Emotional angst is bloody exhausting isn't it? We punish ourselves by ruminating over what was, what could have been...and then there is the age old question of why? Why did they leave? Why did they not talk to me? Why did they feel that way?

Why was I not good enough?
Ouch...

It is bad enough that we are going through such pain, to then completely and utterly blame ourselves for it as though the pain itself is not enough. Let's just make ourselves feel even crappier.
Last year I felt like her. Alas on more than one occasion. However now, I look back and see things differently. I do not blame myself. None of it was my fault...neither was it his.

Now, I am using the experiences of last years blog to write a book. I am doing ok...I am proud to say I am about a quarter of the way through and I am actually finding it very therapeutic. So much happened in the year of being forty that I am now using it as a base to write a novel...some of it is true and some of it will be purely imagination.

If, and it is a very big IF, it ever gets published it is likely that some people will see themselves, recognise their part in my journey last year. One of those people was very close to me throughout that year, however it is only now that I can look back and see things so much clearer and differently.

I admit, that there are occasions when I miss that person; just in general...shooting the breeze with them, laughing and being daft with them...but that is all normal right? I am sure my friend will also miss the person she has had in her life for the past year for a long time to come.

So having written about them in the 'novel' this evening and writing about what was and what happened has brought things to the forefront of my mind again. Yet, I do not feel pain or anger. I am curious but nothing more.

I have met so many other people since and I am on a different path now. However, I am glad he was in my life. There are certain things that he did that changed who I was, or in reality, reminded me of who I was, so actually I am grateful for that.

My friend will, in time, see the same thing. Sometimes things do not work. We can not see why at the time, what outside influences led to the demise of that relationship; what else was happening - however hopefully, one day we can look back and go, 'oh that's why. Ok, I understand now,' and slap ourselves on our forehead with our palms.

I think it is called acceptance. Not just that it is over, but accepting who we are is ok; accepting that we did nothing wrong and acceptance that sometimes people come in and out of your life to teach us things.

I have had acceptance for quite some time now. Yet it was only this evening that I really recognised it. Sitting there on my windowsill with a big 'acceptance' banner around its waist., blowing its own trumpet.

Acceptance is good and it comes to all of us eventually. I promise.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Time well spent...

I have had a hobbit free weekend...and you know what that means?

It means I get to do all the things I can't do when they are around; like have wild affairs of the heart, smoke dope in my kitchen and walk around the house naked...

Alas, no one has inspired me enough for a weekend fling, I can't afford hallucinating drugs and the weather has changed so it is a tad chilly for walking around in my birthday suit...so I went out on a big motorbike instead...as you do.

It has been a while since I was last out on a motorbike, so inevitably it was a wobbly start. However I was there for the day and Dave, my wonderful flirty instructor took me out on a 125cc, to get me back into 'biker chick' mode.

I have a long way to go for true biker chick-ness...I would require full leathers, a smaller arse and a push up bra, however with regards to the actual ride, I am improving.

After some time on the 125, Dave deemed me worthy of the 500cc ERF so just before lunch I spent an hour or so on a 500cc. I still felt wobbly, even though everyone was telling me that I wouldn't. That being on a bigger bike would make a difference...at this conjecture I was beginning to think perhaps this was a dream I wouldn't realise.

I mean, let's be honest - sometimes we try things that just don't work - so just because I had this dream of owning, riding and loving a big sexy motorbike, perhaps I wasn't destined to?

At this point. the lovely Dave gave me a good talking to. "Being nervous and taking your time is not a bad thing, in fact it is more likely to make you be a better rider than some people who are overly confident and cocky."

Really?

So after we'd had a cup of tea and shared a lunch, we got back out there...on a 600cc.

I confess, I looked at it with trepidation. It sounded different, was heavier, (without a doubt sexier) and just getting my leg over (pardon the pun) felt like I was mounting a very big horse...I said horse.

Just a touch on the throttle and I could feel the difference. Testing the front break it responded quickly and forcefully...as I found much later...ouch!

Dave waited for me at the gate patiently, and I took a deep breathe and put it into first and pulled away....smoothly. Within a few minutes I was comfortable with the controls and the biting point of the clutch, and I was away.

It was fantastic. I felt so much more confident, the bike held the road smoother, I felt more stable and happy to push it that bit further. In fact he deliberately took me to a road where I could do that, and whilst many bikers will laugh at my feeble attempt I did hit 55 once...a figure I was rather chuffed about.

I wasn't going to take it anymore over that, as my confidence really didn't need to take a beating by coming off and the wind was up at this point I could really feel it as the speed increased.

However I spent the next couple of hours feeling that buzz, and feeling like I was actually improving all the time. At last, I can say that I am someone who can ride a bike.

So today S and I perved over some motorbikes on ebay, looking at the types of bike I might like to try, or consider buying in the future...time well spent eh?

I loved riding the bike, it was simply amazing - and as one friend mentioned, 'time to think about that test now'...

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Live like Superman...

About half an hour after bedtime, Superman came down last night clearly upset.

Crawling onto my lap, he sniffled..."I don't want to die." He then snuggles into me as far as he can go.
"Oh babe, why are you thinking about that?" I say holding him closer.
He then starts sobbing and just keeps saying, "I don't want to die," over and over.

I hold him for a while longer, then we start talking about all the great things he is going to do and he tells me when he is older he is going to be a doctor. (Lady London you need to talk to him about that...)

However, he is not to be dismissed, and repeats his mantra again.

I feel stuck for what to say. Really I do. I hope as any mother or father does, that their child will live long after they have gone and that they reach the grand old age of 150. However I do not want to lie, I do not want to say 'you won't die'; because even at his age of 6 and a bit, he knows that everything dies eventually.

So I look at him, tears streaming down his cheeks and just say, "Then don't die. Live."
I know he doesn't really understand what I am saying, but I just say, "Live. Do the things that you want to do, believe in the things that you want to believe in; don't regret anything. Just live and enjoy your life."

We then spend some time talking about all the things he does want to do; Like going to see Father Christmas at the North Pole, or riding a reindeer or buying Lego mini figures and dancing in the rain...that is living man!!

He is eventually calmed and potters back off to bed with his small cuddly monkey for company.

Much later when he is asleep I go in to watch him softly snoring. There is sometimes no greater pleasure than watching your children sleep; there is a gentle appreciation for who they are and their face softens in dreamland as they pass through another night.

It reminds me of what I have created and what my responsibilities are. We make little babies and don't have a handbook for raising kids, but hopefully we do a fairly good job by the skin of our teeth.
As I watch him, I also think that perhaps my advice was not so off balance after all. We mutter all the time about the fact that we have just 'one life' as we have no idea what is around the corner...many of my friends would add testimony to that.

So no regrets, just live...feel empowered by your decisions, believe in yourself and live.

Live like my Superman will, and don't die...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Cheat sheet...

Our abilities as human's to heal never fails to amaze me.

A small cut and the body's process kicks into action before you have even started bleeding; platelets do what they were designed to do and good old coagulation helps to clot the blood to stop it bleeding any further.

But what happens with emotional healing? How do we manage that?

Our emotional psych is pushed constantly through stress and dealing with our own and other people's lives. We can be pushed to the edge and tipped over it by the simplest things.

Sometimes by working through our emotions and actually arriving at the brink of what we feel is the absolute waters edge, enables us to recognise what we need to process before being able to move on.

I have seen that recently in others, these people that I, and others care about, have reached that point where they feel they can not go on and can not take the pain of what is happening around them any more. Something had to give.

Recognising those symptoms and remembering who does care about you, goes a long way to helping that healing process and a long way to putting you back on track again.

Life doesn't stay the same. It is constantly changing and feelings of desperation invariably disappear after a trauma. Our ability to rationalise, consider and reflect on what, why and where is invaluable to helping us move on and if necessary, in finding closure.

Closure may mean accepting the decision, fighting back on an unfair judgement or even finally getting the actual answers you need - but we all need it. Closure is part of the healing process.

The body does find a way...trust the process; but in the meantime, for those of you who need it, here is a cheat sheet...

Emotional Healing for Dummies...