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Friday, 17 December 2010

Where Am I?

Sometimes I wonder if I really am a middle aged gay man trapped in the body of a barely this side of 40 straight woman. 

That’s how the playlist on my iPod was described to me by a child recently. 

Very advanced these days kids, aren’t they?  I was fifteen before I realised to some people gay wasn’t just the man who used to host the Late Late Show every Saturday night.   Yes I am definitely old enough to remember when it was on Saturday nights.

The first of my closest friends turned 40 this week.  She’s fabulous and taking everything in her stride.  I want to be too.  It’s got me thinking, I’m doing some positive stuff like writing my non bucket bucket list.  But then I go and try out expressions like “Oh no you di ent!” and saying ummmm hummm in a really exaggerated way with my lips stuck out like I fell asleep face down in a bowl of collagen.  Thankfully my children aren’t old enough yet to be embarrassed by me.

I think I’m a little off kilter at the moment.  There are some odd things going on around me, well within me really.  It’s like there are two of me battling it out to see who will come out on top.

I’ve been in a fog of nappies, feeds, temperatures, teething and all the fun stuff that goes along with being a stay at home parent for the last five plus years.  It’s been a rollercoaster and I’ve loved it, but already my children are outgrowing me and I'm not sure where I stand.

I don’t know if I’m getting old, if I’m just lacking too much sleep or if my husband is right about the brain tumours he seems convinced we both have.  To him, it’s just not ok to assume it’s a coincidence that both of us have larger than average heads.

But some days I wonder, where did I go?  Who am I now?  Who should I be?  I used to be introduced as just Laura, now I have loads of titles like Mum and Wife.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being other peoples Mum and Wife, just like I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend, a cousin, a niece etc.

But now, I’m also a doctor, therapist, chef, mind reader, hair un knotter, mediator, finance expert, cleaner, decorator, personal shopper, gum removal specialist, snot wiper and what was that other thing? Oh yes, me.  Aren’t I still me?  Who is that now?  I guess with 40 just around the corner, I’m realising who I am is an ever changing thing.  Parts of me are still the same girl I was 20 years ago and hopefully 30 years ago too.  I’m still learning and growing, just sideways nowadays.

On the Bright Side, the wake up call about my music taste did me a huge favour.  Who else knew the Dixie Chicks weren’t in the Top 20 anymore?  Did any of you know the Top 20 is now the Top 40? 


I have now logged on and downloaded some wonderful stuff and am proud to say I am rocking along to Fiddy Cent & Nelly.  Lovely boys.  Also listening to the new Black Eyed Peas stuff, they’re fantastic.  They can make anything sound cool.  They should cover the Dixie Chicks.

Friday, 10 December 2010

My Non-Bucket Bucket List

I have a guilty pleasure.

It is situation comedies.  You know those silly ones, where everyone looks like they just stepped out of a salon even at seven in the morning.  They go through divorces like it’s the most fun thing in the world.  Have really funny friends who are always there, no need to go to work, deal with their own lives, they’re permanently on tap for the leading lady or man of the show.  Everyone has incredible clothes and really clean houses with beautiful furnishings.  You know the type of program I mean.

Have you ever noticed how they always have unending fresh pots of coffee in their spotlessly clean percolators?  That fascinates me; if I’ve got coffee in my pot first thing in the morning, it’s usually because I forgot to clean it out the night before.

Anyway, the point of this musing is that one of these comedies involves a woman who throughout her career as a full time Mum has been putting together a list of all the things she plans to do once her children are grown and finished their education and essentially don’t need her anymore.

The heroine of this show has written down two hundred and twenty things on her list and so far in episode ten of the show, she appears to have done half of one of them.  They must be expecting a really long run.

Well this list of hers got me thinking, I’m just coming out of the nappy and feeds stage of motherhood on my second child and I’ve decided to do a list of my own.

A list of all the things I want to do between my children fleeing the nest and me kicking the bucket.  I’m hoping that stretch of my life lasts a while.  Even though, according one of the mid wives in the maternity hospital I gave birth in first time around, I came into motherhood late.  Don’t know what she was talking about, I may have been older in years, but I was a damn site more immature than most of the mothers to be in that clinic.

I don't want to call it my bucket list, that's the one you do when you know you're going to die isn't it?  Not that I don’t know I'm going to die, of course I am, I just don’t know when and that suits me fine even though normally, I don’t like surprises.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:
  1. Write something that matters.
  2. Meet A-Ha.
  3. Learn to tango.
  4. See the Northern Lights.
  5. Turn Stephen Fry straight.
  6. Try Botox.
  7. Grow marijuana, just to see if it really is as easy as growing parsley – no other reason.
  8. Finish a book by James Joyce.
  9. Do the 60 second quiz on Larry Gogans radio show.
  10. Get arrested.
  11. Audition for X Factor.
  12. Finally get up the nerve to climb the ladder into the attic.  If, as I suspect I do fall through the ceiling I won’t feel so bad about it when the children are grown up.  Note to self – leave this one till last.
  13. Re master high heels.
  14. Visit India.
  15. Moon someone.
  16. Get a tattoo.
Well, that’s a good start for now, but I’m going to keep going and start ticking things off the list as soon as I can.

How about you?  What’s your bucket list?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Under Pressure

Is it just me or is everything getting harder?

There seems to be so much more to deal with nowadays.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.  Like trying to achieve things that have been beyond my reach for ages - sorting out the attic, losing weight or mastering my nemesis - the iPhone.

Last month it was the washing machine.  It broke beyond repair and we had to buy a new one the day after we put our house on the market.

Then Ireland went down the toilet financially just after the advertising cheque was cashed by the estate agent who is selling our house.

A few weeks ago, our daughter decided to block the plug hole in the shower so she could play swimming with her toys.  The result was a flooded en suite and a big leak into the dining room.

Last week, our gas boiler broke and leaked all over the microwave. 

All these problems cost a lot of money, which when you consider the really important person coming to visit our children in less than three weeks time, we could do without having to deal with right now.

The latest drama in our home happened this morning, when we awoke to a loud cracking sound coming from somewhere in the house.

At first, panic hit and we ran to check the kids – you never know.  Even though they’re little, they can do a lot of damage in a short space of time.  Our relief to find them playing happily was short lived when we discovered a rather large chunk of the gutter lying broken across the extension roof.

Unless you’re living in Ireland, you won’t know we are going through one of the coldest snaps the country has ever experienced.  We are struggling under mounds of snow and ice that our infrastructure is not designed to cope with. 

The ice was the enemy in the case of our poor guttering.  It didn’t know what hit it and just couldn’t cope.

We then started the Internet search for people in our area who can fix our problem and discussing insurance etc.  We’re pretty good at this sort of thing by now.

Little did we know that the 8 foot piece of shattered gutter was only the beginning of today’s issues.  Within half an hour a much larger crack and very loud BANG! sent us running again.  This time the remainder of the guttering and some other stuff from the back of our house had come down onto the deck and our garden furniture.  I suppose waterproofing the furniture last summer could only protect it from certain winter assailants.

The panic subdued for a moment but then we started thinking about the front, so the cars had to be moved just in case bits of the house decided to fall on them too.  We would, after all, need something to drive away in from what was left of the wretched structure if it came to it.

I then got upset, very upset and started doing that thing where I pretend there’s something in my eye so the kids would stop asking why I was crying. 

I know things could be worse and there are many poor souls out there in a much dire condition than us and I have no right to moan.  We’ve got our health, our kids are well, my husband has a good job, the heating works, there’s always chocolate.

It’s just that some days I get so sick of the drama and problems of daily toil and would like a quiet life for a while.  One where nothing goes wrong.  One where we would all sit on the couch in our jammies in front of the glow of a warm fire, safe in the knowledge that all is well.  Sipping cocoa and chatting about our day with eachother.  The kids wouldn’t hit eachother for fun.  I would be wearing pyjamas that actually match. 

On the Brightside, thanks to the flattened garden table, we’ve got extra wood to burn in the fireplace tonight and most of the chairs survived, so we’ll have a place to sit next summer with our food on our laps.

It’ll be fine, nothing a bottle of red after the kids go to bed can’t cure – right?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Dear So and So

I was delighted to discover the Dear So and So Letters recently thanks to Kat at 3bedroombungalow.blogspot.com via the always talented and lovely HotCrossMum.  I’m hooked and have been looking for them on blogs across the globe for weeks now.

Here’s my contribution.  It was so fun and quite therapeutic; I highly recommend the exercise to anyone really.


**
Dear Handyperson of Non Specific Gender,

Do I really look that stupid?

If that’s how much money can be made from fixing the side panel of a bath, then I’m in the wrong business.

I’ll keep shopping around thanks.

Yours with my arms folded because you keep looking at my boobs,

Missus.

**

Dear Government,

I am very disappointed in you.

Get onto the naughty step for a time out. 

One minute for each euro you’ve wasted.  That should keep you out of the way for long enough to stop you screwing things up any further.

Also, leave the elderly and the young alone you big bully.

Yours on the verge,

An Irish Citizen.

**

Dear Children,

Just because I say no to 95% of your requests does not make me a bad Mummy. 

Some day you will appreciate the below:

1. Chocolate does not a good breakfast make.
2. Cutting your own hair is always a bad idea.
3. Just because someone else has it doesn’t mean you have to have it too.
4. Taking out the paddling pool in November didn’t make it any warmer did it?
5. Saying why very loudly to every answer I give you could lead to mother shut down.
6. Swear words stop being funny very quickly.
7. Be nicer to your siblings, they will be the longest relationship of your life.
8. School is a great idea, for both of us.
9. I did actually exist before I brought you into the world.
10. Boring is a seriously over used word in our house.
11. It is not fun for me when you wait until after I change your nappy to do a poo.
12. It is actually great to have your cheeks kissed and be told how adorable you are, can I at least do it when no else is looking?
13. Lists are too a good idea, I make them because they help me remember stuff, not because I’m old.

Yours bedraggled,

Mummy.

**

Dear Marks & Spencer,

Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for you selling the most delicious dark chocolate covered ginger biscuits ever.

Yours greedily,

Random Customer.

**

Dear Husband,

If you touch my dark chocolate covered ginger biscuits, I will unleash the hounds.

Before you ask, no, that is not a euphemism.

Yours,

The Wife.

**

Dear Children,

I realise this is the second letter you’re getting from me, but you are pushing it.

Stop wrestling!

Stop it!

Now!

Right Now!

Don’t make me come over there!

Yours infuriated,

Mother.

**

To read some more letters, look at Kats blog on http://3bedroombungalow.blogspot.com/

Friday, 12 November 2010

First Steps

This week I get to say something I’ve wanted to say for a long time. 
My son can walk. 

I rang my husband and said “He walked!” I rang my mother to say “My little boy is walking”, I’ve told people in the school yard, at the supermarket, via email, text and Twitter.  Anyone who stands still long enough will hear me say that my son can walk.

Some of them look at me like I’m a little mad; he’s not the only child in the world to start walking late after all.  Those closest to us know though, that it hasn’t been all that simple for him and how close we came to missing the window of opportunity that allowed him to get the right treatment and most importantly – get it in time.

I was so proud of him when he walked, I cried and couldn’t stop.  I confused our daughter who thought something was wrong.  It’s difficult to explain happy crying to a five year old.  She really didn’t see what the big deal was, as she said, we did tell her last year he would eventually catch up.  But she did let him use his new ability to steal a pancake off her plate.

She has been a by the book child from the beginning.  Good pregnancy, even a good labour and birth, well relatively speaking.  There were no problems health wise, she has grown at the right rate, and has always been healthy, balanced and well.  We’re so lucky.

Our son was different, I struggled through a difficult pregnancy and his birth was traumatic.  It was then that the problems really started.  He didn’t have one major problem; there were a number of little ones.  Together though, they caused us a lot of sleepless nights and heartache.

He has got over each thing one at a time, but the final and longest hurdle has been walking.  Emotionally for his Dad and me, that’s been the toughest.  When he went out in the world to play with kids his own age, the crushing realisation of just how difficult it could be for him was a bitter pill to swallow. 

That was when I realised that I didn’t want my little boy to be perfect, successful or blow everyone else away at all.

I just wanted him to be normal. 

It wasn’t just that I wanted his legs and feet to grow or his hips to correct themselves.  What I wanted most was for him to be able to do things like join in games at his play group without being trod on.  That said, I don’t doubt for one second that he thoroughly enjoyed the special attention he got from all the little nurturing girls.  Even after he picked them off one by one with plastic balls while they were playing statues.

There are countless parents out there dealing with the daily struggles of their children who aren't by the book kids.  They are amazing people those parents.  Ordinary everyday selfless people and I’m proud to know some of them.  Why some children have it so much tougher than others I will never understand, but I do understand one very important thing.  Being different doesn’t make one child lesser than another.

There he goes; walking to the kitchen dresser looking for treasures he’s certain exist in those high drawers.  That’s my boy.

Friday, 5 November 2010

And Another Thing

Right, brace yourselves, today I’m having a moan and it’s a doozy.  If you’re looking for something all perky and sweet, you may as well stop reading because today, I’m not your woman. 

I’m in a bad mood. I feel grouchy and my right nostril has been itching since I skipped breakfast.  My husband would say that means there’s a fight coming my way.  Sounds good right now, wouldn’t mind smacking the face off someone and I know just who too. 

Come on, we’ve all got one.  That super annoying pain in the backside who rubs you up the wrong way, especially when everyone else says she’s sooooo nice.  Sure she is - for psychopathic Stepford Wife.  She says things like “Really, you’re not 40? Oh I thought I missed that birthday”.  I would call her a silly cow but that wouldn't be nice to our bovine friends.

Aaaagggghhhh! Is that how you type the sound of a scream?  Not very satisfying is it.  If I were to scream today, its ferocity would probably break a window.  And to top it all, I forgot to put out the glass bin for the recycling van twice in a row and now have non recycler’s guilt.  Frick!

Life is hard.  I know that’s not news to anyone, but every time I think I’ve got it figured out, some crappy awful thing happens to someone who didn’t deserve it and I feel like I want to scream at the world.

I’ve watched the news closely all week and it really is shocking.  I don’t think there has been one positive story since the Chilean miners were freed.  What is wrong with us?  We’ve got a really wonderful world to live in, so why are we ruining it?

My realisation that I have no control over the world around me only mattered for the first time when I became a parent and it sucks lemons.

I for one am standing up for our world and I'm going to try harder.  I’m going to try to be a better person.  I’m going to recycle and re use more. Ok, ok, I’ll go fish the jam jar out of the wrong bin.  I’m going to be responsible for myself and my actions.  Basically I've got to be what a grown up should be and teach my children by example. 

I’m going to be nicer to people who deserve it and I’m going to behave like the ones who don’t just don’t exist in my world anymore.  That may not sound very charitable but frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn.  There comes a point in all of our lives when we learn right from wrong, so if you consciously don’t live your life doing what’s right and don't at least try to be a good and decent human being, you’re not worth me wasting my time on.

Right, don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better.

Live good lives people – onward and upward.

Rant complete.

Friday, 29 October 2010

My Perfect Gal

Earlier this week, I was tagged by the delightful and talented HotCrossMum She challenged me to list my top ten things in my perfect man/woman.

There’s no point listing my top ten for a man, because my beloved man is smokin’ hot.  How could I possibly be limited to just ten things that make him perfect?  He broke the mould, I get a toothache just looking at him – Hi Babe, how’s work?

Luckily, I have been blessed with a large number of fabulous women in my life.  I really do have a lot of them.  From family and friends, to other mothers I’ve met through my kids, I’ve always got someone to reach out to, be it with a crisis, for a laugh, for a cry, for a moan, for a bitch, or just for a ramble about nothing.

So, this should be easy, however again, narrowing myself down to just ten things has been a bit of a challenge in itself, but here goes:

My Perfect Woman

1.       Is an honest person, no matter how hard that is.  Even when I do something stupid like wear jeggings.  Actually, especially when I do something stupid like wear jeggings.  Jeggings are bad, anything that can stretch that far should only be worn by super heroes.
2.      Loves her family, friends and handbags.
3.      Has a crush on Stephen Fry and/or Alan Rickman.  Specifically in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.  Alan Rickman that is, I don't recall Stephen Fry in the film.
4.      Doesn’t flinch when I tell her I have to wash one or all of the three P’s out of my hair (puke, pee & poo).  In fairness, the latter two have only applied since I became a mother.  The first has been a regular for over twenty years now although it used to be my puke – sigh.
5.      Cannot tolerate any clothing made from polyester – I don’t have a problem with a bit of sweat, but when its green housed in a non breathable fabric?  Why would anyone do that on purpose?
6.      Roots for the underdog.
7.      Doesn’t care anymore that her bum probably does look big in whatever she’s wearing, except jeggings, they are an unforgivable crime of fashion.  They could even be worse than polyester.
8.     Likes a dirty big belly laugh.
9.      Drinks white wine, so when we go out, we have to buy 2 bottles because I only drink red.
10.  Thinks there’s something creepy about the way Tom Cruise is always grinning.  I’ll bet he likes jeggings.  Probably has a pair.

Ok, I did it, I’m sure I’ll realise later I could have done better, but at least I’ll have someone to ring/text/tweet/email about it.

Now, my turn.  I’m gonna tag me some bloggers.  I read you all either via Twitter, your blogs, websites or all of the above and I like your style, so I look forward to your contributions.

Jane Travers www.janetravers.com

Friday, 22 October 2010

O C Dear

One day, while at a friend’s house watching her freak out over the volume button on the TV being on an odd rather than even number, it occurred to me that lot of people I know have some funny quirks.  Some people may call them obsessions, but I’ll go with quirks because they’re not doing any harm.  I think.

One friend washes her hands constantly.  Another cannot and I really mean cannot shake hands with anybody.  Another can’t handle his pen being moved from exactly where he left it.  I also know someone who has to have their tea bag left untouched for exactly 1 minute 40 seconds in a cup of scalding water and don’t dare squeeze that thing as you remove it.  Ok, the last one is me, but what’s wrong with developing a method of making the absolute best cup of tea.  There’s nothing worse than looking forward to a lovely cuppa and then taking a mouthful of tar or worse – dishwater.

Ok, it’s possible that it is just me and my friends.  Birds of a feather do flock together after all, but my friends come from all walks of life and I don’t remember anyone, including myself, having obsessive compulsions when we were children.

Have people always developed quirks as they got older?  Why do we have them and what triggers them?  I read somewhere once that it’s our attempt to control the world we live in, or at least a little part of it. 

It would be nice to have complete control of our lives wouldn’t it?  Then we would never have to worry about all the things that keep us awake at night.

It’s not possible though.  That’s certain.  We’ve spent years basing what makes us happy on getting what we don’t have and nowadays that seems so silly.  Keeping what we already have is hard enough.

The longer I live, the more I realise that happiness is a state of mind.  You’ve got to want what you have and not waste time longing for what you don’t have.  It’s simple but true. Relinquishing control to the cosmos is obviously our best bet and sod the consequences.  Imagine the freedom of not checking the lights are turned off seven times every time you leave the house and not caring what could happen if you don't hoover your house four times today. 

The strangest thing about my friend who freaked out over the volume button on the TV was that she wasn’t even watching it.  Someone else was, but the knowledge that it was there, lurking, taunting her by being on number 17 rather than 16 or 18 made her tremble and shiver.

On the Brightside, I did get to eat most of the lovely biscuits she laid out for my poorly made cup of tea; I didn’t have to see her squeeze the bag to know she did.  Ah, to hell with it, I think I’ll switch to coffee. 

Friday, 15 October 2010

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

This week marked my Dad’s birthday.  He’s no longer with us, but I like to remember him on his birthday even though he wasn’t a fan of the day himself.   

We clashed a lot, my Dad and me, especially when I was younger.  I complained about him, argued with him, scoffed at his ideas, ignored his orders and regularly used my all time weapon against him - contradiction.  There were months at a time when if he said black, I said white. 

I wish I hadn’t.  He was a good man, his heart was in the right place and right to the end, he tried his best.  Which is the most any of us can do.

It’s much nicer to remember the good stuff.  Like how he could create a gastronomic masterpiece without a recipe.  His laugh.  His collection of hobbies from fishing to brewing beer so strong, one bottle left me a dribbling incoherent mess.  His loyalty to RTE Radio 1.  His kindness to anything with four legs.  How he gave me a bag of twenty one pound coins for emergencies the day I left home.  How he would make up a reason to drive to Dublin on Monday mornings so I didn’t have to go back to my flat on Sunday night.  How the first time I brought a boy home he was cooking dinner wearing diving fins.  His large collection of things that came free with the Sunday newspapers.  His absolute belief that you should always try better yourself with education and hard work.  The fact that on the day of his funeral, my husband drove my Dad’s car to the church and when he turned on the engine Wet Wet Wet blasted out of the stereo.

My Dad had his ups and downs with everything in life, just like everyone else.

What he did do, was leave a family behind who love him.  Who still cry for him and grapple with the pain of his loss.  Our lives are better for having known him and we all have tried harder to live our lives better since.  I wish he had known that would happen.

I miss him and I’m still trying to figure out how to live my life without him.  So far birthdays and anniversaries have been hard.  I’ve dreaded them and spent each one on automatic pilot.  This one was shaping up to be just like the rest.

On the day, I took my children to my Dad’s grave.  I don’t often take them, it feels unsettling for the kids to be there.  It had been a truly stressful and rotten day for all sorts of reasons that there’s no point remembering now, so I was highly emotional and dreading the feeling I get every time I see his name on the cold stone.

However, my youngest sat on the grave like it was the most natural thing in the world flinging stones around and trying to dismember the beautiful flowers my mother had left earlier.  My eldest wanted to give grandpa a present of a sticker; it’s now stuck to his headstone.  The latest new things learned at school were recited.  Then we all sang him Happy Birthday at the top of our lungs in the October twilight, kissed his name and said “See you later Grandpa”.  It felt so nice and light hearted to just say see you, don’t know why I never thought of it before.

So you see, on the Brightside, it’s the first time I’ve left his grave without a pain in my chest.

Maybe it can get a little easier after all.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Why the Rush?

When I was 9 I wanted to grow up so I could cycle a bike to school.

When I was 10 I wanted to grow up so I could be a Charlie’s Angel.

When I was 11 I wanted to grow up so I could eat chips every day for dinner.

When I was 12 I wanted to grow up so I could wear make up.

When I was 13 I wanted to grow up so I could babysit.

When I was 14 I wanted to grow up so I could go to a debutants ball.

When I was 15 I wanted to grow up so I didn’t have to go to school anymore.

When I was 16 I wanted to grow up so I could drive a car.

Some time after that I did grow up (more or less) and discovered it wasn’t all that great after all.

The thing is, at no point on this journey through my childhood and teenage years do I ever remember wanting to actually do the really serious stuff that goes along with being an actual grown up.

How did two 9 year olds who live near me learn how many points are in a bar of chocolate and a packet of crisps?  And why would they care?

Why do we live in a world where a significant number of little girls want to grow up to be Jordan or Paris Hilton?

Why did I have to have something as vile as Jelly Bracelets explained to me because a letter has been sent home from my child’s school banning them?  Who came up with such an idea and why are children using them – they’re abusive and wrong.

I know it’s not just me, kids are growing up a lot faster these days than they used to.

I’m finding it hard to deal with, but in this age of right here, right now instant gratification, how can we teach our kids that this is one of the best times of their lives, so slow down and enjoy it.

They’ll never again have this much freedom.  I’m not talking about freedom to come and go as you please or eat what you want for dinner.  Or the freedom to display on your wrist how far you’re willing to go with someone.  Although I would much rather my kids discover sex in the old fashioned way, as in having an actual relationship with the other person first.

I’m talking about freedom to change your name to Princess Bella Panella for the day and refuse to answer to anything else.

The freedom to ask questions like “Why are bananas?” and be taken seriously.

The freedom to believe the most important thing in the world is a Moshi Monster.

The freedom to spend the day in your pyjamas and have everyone think you’re adorable and not a lazy slob.

The freedom to absolutely believe that if your parents let you watch Camp Rock 2 your life will be complete.

The freedom to have snots run freely down your face and not care, or even notice.

I’m thinking seriously of moving to a field in the middle of nowhere and putting a barbed wire fence around it, home schooling my kids and getting rid of TV and Internet access. 

Bit extreme?  Maybe.

On the Brightside? 

A Brightside to our kids growing up too quickly.

I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Friday, 1 October 2010

A Quarter Pound of Your Finest Please

Remember buying sweets by the quarter pound or the half pound or maybe even one eighth of a pound if you had already spent most of your pocket money and the sweet shop keeper was nice?

Pear drops, satin pillows, pips, cough drops, mint imperials, rhubarb and custard and my all time favourite – cola cubes. 

I loved cola cubes; I would suck the sugar off the outside and then nip away at the corners until I hit the heavenly reward of gooey chewy stuff in the centre.  My mother still remembers one day in her kitchen after school when one of them took her filling clean out of her tooth.

I loved them so much in my teens that I actually wrote their name on my pencil case which was one of those geometry set tins that had been dropped, sat on and stepped on so many times over the years that I could barely fit one red and one blue pen in it by my last year at school.   I still have it somewhere.

I did write Kola Kubes in an attempt to be cool, but then I also believed at the time that metallic purple eyeliner worn with electric blue mascara was cool, so obviously I wasn’t an authority on the subject anywhere other than in my own head.  In fact I once frightened an elderly man at an ATM while rocking that look.  He looked at me in a nonchalant way, and then gasped grabbing at his chest while his eyes flared open.  Poor man.

There were a number of shops in my home town that sold sweets by weight in the eighties but they’re all gone now.  However, one particular supermarket chain has gone and brought some of them back.  The sweets that is, not the shops - that would be a logistical nightmare.  They probably brought them out years ago, but I’ve only recently started digging my way out of the mountain of everything baby that I was buried under 5 years ago.

To my utter joy they brought back my beloved cola cube – oh yes – its pre packaged and looks slightly smaller than I remembered, but its back.

I was so excited that I bought 2 packets the first time.  I didn’t offer any to my mother.  Instead, I became my mother.  It’s true; the very first one I chewed took my biggest filling right out of my tooth.  Feck it! 

Boy did it hurt, but I wasn’t sure what was worse, my raw exposed nerve ending or the possibility of never being able to have a cola cube again.  Now that I had it back there was no way I was letting it go again.

My dentist was not amused, his list of things I shouldn’t be eating and drinking in order to preserve my teeth has been getting steadily longer since we first met and he seduced me into his practice with his 4 D x-ray machine thingy.  Just to be clear, that’s not a euphemism for anything, it is a very nifty x-ray. 

No more muesli, granary bread, sticky sweets, fizzy drinks, caramel, candy floss and sherbet fruits but the cola cube was a treat too far.  I swear if he attempts to add red wine to that list, he better start sleeping with one eye open, because the gloves will be coming off.

On the bright side, I have been successful in my quest to learn to suck the cola cube without biting.  It’s been a chore, but some things are just too good to live without.

Monday, 27 September 2010

And They All Lived Happily Ever After...

Today is my wedding anniversary.

My husband is notoriously difficult to buy for and as this year is symbolised by iron I toyed with the idea of giving him some leafy green veg, but couldn’t come up with a romantic angle, so scrapped the idea.

I decided to ask him what he would really like and he gave me a very specific request – a new photograph of me with the kids.

Great I thought, he’s making it really easy this year.  I would have it sorted in a jiffy.

OY VEY was I wrong.  We have in our 6 years of marriage brought 2 wonderful children into this world.   They are 5 and 2.  Our 5 year old is photogenic beyond belief and as a result of being the first has been completely au fait with a camera since birth. 

Our 2 year old on the other hand calls the camera ‘cheese’ and twice actually tried to eat it.  In the 2 hours 45 minutes of my life that I will never get back I took 179 photos.  I was able to use 2 of them which are now in the 3rd frame I bought.  The first was smashed by the 2 year old in the car park of the shopping centre.  The second was left somewhere when I was either loading the kids into the car or paying for parking.  Ok, I haven’t a clue what really happened to it, but whoever found it also got my flipping parking ticket.

The third and final picture frame was bought in a supermarket which was where I attempted to put the memory card from my camera into one of those big photo developing machines which according to the manufacturer was designed to make my life easier – LIARS!

Why put the slots for the memory cards at exactly the same height as the hands of a 2 year old who is sitting in a shopping trolley?  I missed the part where that makes my life easier.

So, after believing the camera, I mean the ‘cheese’ was edible and being proved wrong, my toddler decided this wasn’t over and wanted to see if the memory card was something that could be munched on too.

Well, all that teething really paid off, because those little pearly whites can bite through just about anything.

Suffice to say there is a lady in a local chemist to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude for saving the day and my really easy anniversary present for my husband.

On the bright side though, when I looked at those photos in that cheap picture frame this morning in the sunlight that poured through our dusty windows I felt so proud, so grateful and so very happy because I’ve got it good.

We’ve had 6 years of highs, lows, people we’ve lost, people we made, nappies, dribble, a thousand tears, a thousand laughs, boo boos, strange rashes, never ending laundry, car crashes, amazing holidays, not so amazing holidays, redundancy, new jobs, taking off stabilisers, physiotherapy, forgetting what we were fighting about, big school, doctors, bouncy castles, Dora, Sunday morning pancakes, 1 cat, 5 cars, 27 diets, 6 kettles, wrinkles, grey hairs, first steps, inexplicable stains, even more inexplicable smells, family dinners, old traditions, new traditions and much much more.

It’s all been so worth it.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Birth of a Blogger

I used to say I was a writer, but about 2 1/2 years ago I realised I had to stop saying that because how could I say I'm a writer when I'm not actually writing anything.

I should have said I'm a procrastinator.  That would have been true although possibly a conversation stopper.  What could I say?  "Well I haven't written anything today because we found a fly floating in the breakfast dishes and had to hold its funeral in the back garden."

Anyway, I have finally decided to bite the bullet and put myself out there.  As they say, the only way to be a writer is to actually write something and I'm starting here, with a blog.

So, hello, like the title says, I'm quite ordinary, so don't be disappointed if I write at length about something like why the heck porridge cooks at a different speed every morning despite religiously using the same ratio of oats to milk.  Seriously! It's infuriating.

I'm a stay at home parent and very happy to be here.

I love my children, they're pretty hard to keep clean, but really easy to adore.  They are the funniest, kindest, smartest, brightest, cutest, cuddliest kids in the world and the absolute best thing I've ever achieved.

What I hope to blog about is stuff that makes me look on the bright side of life.  No matter how frustrating, annoying, stupid or just downright pointless some of it seems to be.  By nature though, my mind wanders - a lot, so who knows where this thing could lead. 


I do love a good moan but it’s not always healthy and it’s not like it gets me anywhere anyway.  Like a lot of people out there, I’ve had a few years with negative things happening and they’ve really upset and annoyed me, but at the end of the day there’s not a whole lot I can do about most of them.  So I suppose what I need and what I want is to look at life with a more positive slant than I've had thus far.


For example - Robbie Williams making friends with Take That.  Generally that sort of thing would raise my blood pressure, because apart from the obvious fact that they are so much better without him, he's just so flipping annoying.  However, Gary Barlow taking his shirt off in their new video is nice, very nice.

I just can't get that porridge thing out of my head.  120 grams of oats, 240 mls of milk, yesterday 2 minutes 30 seconds, today 3 minutes 40 seconds - WHY??????

On the bright side - my daughter says I am the best porridge cooker in the world :)
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