Almost daily diary!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Always expect the unexpected!

Always expect the unexpected, especially at this time of year. There is something very annoying about New Year, and it's not just the way that the TV programmes are the same every single year for eternity, though that goes some way to explaining it, no its more than that. It is expectation.

Two years ago I had a friend and her family around for a meal, but ended up walking the streets with her, close to midnight, listening to her marriage problems. I expected an uncomplicated evening with food and friendship but got very cold and missed saying Happy New Year to my children.

This year I will miss them too, they are with their dad having a party at the nit children's house. Who'd have thought my lovely children would be out partying all night at barely 14 and 10 whilst I am in bed blogging and having a virtual blog party by myself?!

I've enjoyed visiting you all tonight and leaving my best wishes. I didn't bring the lump of coal because it was making a mess of my keyboard, however I would have loved to have partied with you all and maybe had a drink or two of something nice and sparkly over at yours. However, things are never as you expect and so tonight I think I'll just toddle off and have an almost early night.

See you all next year (at least I'll wake up without a hangover in 2011!)

HAPPY 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking back, looking forward...

Last Christmas was not one of the best in the world, it was the culmination of a whole year of living in the same house but apart. It was hard, a strain, but it happened none the less and we all survived it. A whole year ago. I keep getting flash backs of it. My world was much smaller then and I spent a lot of time in my room. I can remember wondering, where I would be and what I would be doing at Christmas and New Year the following year, for these are our markers in time. And all of a sudden, here I am, here we are.

Are we nearly 'there' yet? Well almost, not quite but almost. The next three months will be a challenge but I have plans and I can see them more clearly now. 

Two years ago, when I suddenly knew what had to be done, it seemed such a massive task. There are 2 things that I remember from back then. The first is the feeling of being immersed in my work one day therefore forgetting about the massive thing I was about to do, and then coming out of work and the whole enormity of it hitting me, almost physically, with a stomach wrenching terror. The second thing is Small Sprogs smile. 

He always smiled, and I imagined how, once I started to put my plans into motion, his smile might disappear forever. I still worry about his smile... 

However I have faired well so far, fingers crossed. We are very very lucky. I followed my plan, and it's worked out better than I could have imagined. And as for Small Sprog, he couldn't wait for Christmas, he bounced with excitement and he is still smiling, a lot.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Christmas 'grateful' list

Things I am enjoying about this time of year:

Icicles and the fun of watching them grow!

The biggest window on the advent calendar, I can still feel the excitement and anticipation of wanting to see what's inside as if I was small again.

Looking back at the good things that have happened this year.

The luxury and good fortune of pottering in the kitchen, making Christmas food that we don't really need but is fun to make.

Turkish Delight, the box of it beckoning from the side table in the sitting room! Small Sprog has some now, he is lying prostrate on the fur throw on the old sofa, Turkish Delight held high, before liking off all the icing sugar and then devouring it. Decadence indeed!

Feeling the stress of work wash slowly away.

Close friends and loved ones, spending happy times together. There's nothing like joint celebrations to bring everyone together. I loved my present wrapping evening with my girl friends, which turned into a very late night!

Watching Small Sprog on his home made sledge whizz dangerously about screaming, or is it me screaming?

Planning! There's nothing like having a project and a list!

The hope that this time of year brings, not just for what is under the tree but for the coming year ahead.

The excitement of children. My lovely children, sometimes I feel as though my heart will burst. At others I feel the normal things like 'Oh for goodness sake!'

Not being at work. Waking in the morning with out having to set the alarm.

The bliss of sitting in bed, radio on and a large cup of steaming tea on the bedside table.

Simple pleasures all. I am content and making the most of the next 48 hours before my children go away...
Merry Christmas
I know this time of year can be sometimes far from perfect, take heart in
 the fact that things never stay the same forever.

 May all your hopes come true.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another email from Mum

It has been hazardous pavement wise in Cheltenham. Mum likes to walk the dog regularly, though I'm sure the ancient animal would prefer to stay at home! Anyway, here is Mums solution to slippery, accident inducing pavements; dog walking....inside! Here is her description:

'Not walked Jassy, don't want a broken leg for Christmas so ...........don't laugh !  I put her on her lead and walk 50 circuits round the bungalow, through the lounge, down the hall, through the kitchen and into the dining room . After 25 circuits I let her out in the garden and she dutifully does a poo and a wee and then we continue on our way. She is very good. She must have some exercise or her muscle tone in her back legs will deteriorate....she has to be helped in to the car now. And it's also good for me too! ! It takes just over 20 mins! ! 

I screamed with laughter at the thought, and the mental picture, of them both doing circuits of the house on the inside! It's only an average sized Bungalow. Whatever next?!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It must be nearly Christmas!

Tall Girl came home from school on the bus tonight. She has been at her Dads over the last few nights, so I was really looking forward to seeing her. She knocked on the door, rather than using her key, so I galloped down the hall, towards the door, in a rather undignified and excitable fashion! (I have to admit to being quite excited about Christmas this year) I opened the door with a big grin and saw... A grumpy Teenager!

All my hopes were dashed, words spilled out of her mouth and tears fell from her eyes. "My breathing's bad, I feel sick- I went to the nurse and she wouldn't send me home - told me to have a drink- and a net ball hit me on the head- it really hurt-and I felt all shivery - didn't eat my dinner..." etc etc etc and this is all before crossing the threshold! I sigh. My hypochondriac daughter. There was I thinking all was right with the world.

I let her in and feel her brow, no temperature. I sit her down and give her a drink and something to eat. We talk. She tells it all to me over again, but more coherently. I listen and nod. She worries a lot. She worries about worrying. These symptoms, apart from a netball landing on her head, are a regular occurrence when she is in this state of mind and the more she worries the worse the symptoms get. Even the school nurse is getting wise to her, which is thankful because I used to get a lot of calls to go and pick her up when there was nothing really wrong.

We talk about more ranging subjects. I sit a large packet of Tortilla chips beside her and she digs in. The worry subsides, the symptoms go. She is herself again, for now. I breath a sigh of relief.

She talks about spending New Year with her Dad, and how they have so much to do, he may not be able to take her to her regular physio appointment. She needs to attend her regular appointment. 'I'm really looking forward to New Year' She says, calmer now. And as I listen to these words I am telling myself that that does not mean she is not looking forward to Christmas with me. Does it? It is just words. I hope. I know that she is stressing about Christmas and how it will be different this year. She is the negative to my positive. I feel drained.

Small Sprog, on the other hand is a boy. He is not yet a teen and things seem very simple in comparison. Tonight he has a friend home from school. I have just been into the sitting room to see what they're up to. They have the bowl of 'obligatory' Christmas nuts and the implement to crack them with the carpet. All over the carpet. They are shelling them. Everywhere! I think I may need to hoover later! Is it the technicalities of nut cracking that make it such an interesting pastime for small boys or are men just obsessed with their nuts?!

Anyway, I'm off to let the cat out before he shreds the front door. Give me strength to keep it together for the festive season. Please!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday night is curry night!

Friday night is curry night!

A Christmas outing with the girls. We are friends, brought together only by the fact that we gave birth within the same 2 months. That was 14 years ago.

We are diverse; medical, educational, artistic, scientific, all brought together by chance, yet women with so much in common. Our talk ranges over many subjects, children, men, work, men, holidays, men! We discuss what happens when you Google 'Thermos lunch box' and how parental controls are for kids not to protect the parents, though that would have been useful in this case! We pick up snippets of conversation from those around us. The men in the next booth are discussing 'Mankinis'! We take a look, trying to be discrete. We cannot imagine any of them owning such a garment (there are some amongst us who need a blow by blow account of what one actually is!) There is much giggling. It is good for the soul.

At about 6pm this evening the last thing I felt like doing was going out and socialising. I was all for curling up exhausted in a heap. But I made the effort and it was such a tonic.

The company of women. You can't beat it. I am raising a glass to 'The Sisterhood'. I am happy.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Too much, too soon?

Too much perhaps, forgetting myself, thinking that everything was all right, that we were out of the woods. And for me it is all right, yet for Tall Girl...

"Christmas won't be the same this year" She said to me, her beautiful brown eyes filling with tears.

What could I say? No it will not be the same and thank goodness for that?! No I could not say that. Is it her teenage state of mind? I cried through vast amounts of mine! In a way I hope it is, it relieves me of the huge weight of responsibility.

I told her we will have a fine Christmas, I told her that we are forging new traditions and making happy memories that we will keep until, God willing, she grows up and no longer wants to come home for Christmas. I told her to focus on all that we have to be grateful for, there is much to consider; rather than thinking of all that has been lost.

Can she do that? Is it too big a concept for her at 14 years of age?

It's OK for me I guess. I was unhappy with the situation, my marriage, but it was their normality, their ontological security. I know that their father hates Christmas, but they don't really understand this, it has not crossed their path. When we were living as a unit I was the one making the memories, protecting them from the negative as much as I could. Perhaps it worked. They have different memories to mine.

I look at my lovely daughter, I worry about how I have changed her life, their lives, in a whirl wind. Though I am 'out of the woods' for them it is different. They still return to the family home to visit their father. For me it is over. I am glad never to cross the threshold of my old house, my old life, again. But they do it every 2 weeks. It is hard for me to understand how that effects them, no matter how much I try.

My beautiful son has written Christmas cards already and bought some very thoughtful presents, with no help from me at all. My lovely daughter has wavered in shops. No matter how I try to persuade her, she has not written one card, despite receiving several. I am hoping she has not inherited her fathers dislike of all things festive!

I will try to make our Christmas special. I am doing all the things I have always done. I hope the continuity will be a comfort and not a reminder? For me all is well. For Tall Girl? My heart hopes so.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The here and now

Before was like mud, dull and sodden, cold and without beauty.
There was a shadow, a presence of unsaid disgruntledness.
We scooted around it, the children and me, we still sang our songs, and baked our treats, we still opened calendars and oozed excitement, yet there was always a moment when I was reminded that we were
too noisy,
too soon,
too much.

That was then.

Now it is real.
It is sharing and excitement and planning.
It is whispering gifts and hiding packages.
It is singing loudly without need for closed doors.
It is counting and longing and looking ahead.
Not just to a brighter Christmas but to a more vibrant future.
It is making the most of the moment, playing the Christmas CD too loudly and knowing no one will say it is too soon,
too noisy,
too much.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Saying goodnight to Small Sprog tonight we chatted about friendship and what a great thing it is.
"You cannot be my friend though" He said to me
"Oh" I said a little hurt "I'd like to be"
"Well you can't be" He said "Because you're a loved one" He was so matter a fact.

I am more than content with that though, 'A Loved One'. Who could ask for more?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

How long to cook the cat!

I received an e mail from Mum this week: ''How long to cook the cat?''!

I thought and thought. Could it be a conundrum? Had I sent an email with a spelling mistake which she was pulling me up on? Did she think the stray that we feed sometimes was worth eating if it should expire? It's as skinny as a stick insect, not much to get ones teeth into should one be so inclined! Cat instead of Turkey this Christmas? Surely not. Had she, I seriously wondered, lost her marbles?

I emailed back ''I have no idea!'' Perhaps it was some sort of 'Knock Knock who's there' joke and a witty reply would follow on soon.

Later her reply did pop into my inbox:
''FIMO silly! I made a cat with Fimo, I thought you would remember how long and at what temperature it needed to be cooked''

As it happens I do remember, around 130 degrees for 30 mins. If only I could mind read too!