Staring at a blank page again…

Its time for a mind ramble..

It’s not like I haven’t tried to write, although to be fair to me (which I do try to do, even with a propensity to be too hard on myself.) life moves so fast and I’m often pulled in so many directions that my head spins.  As each day closes I remind myself to feel blessed that I reached the end of it with everyone I love safe and well. Compared to this, this full life of “stuffs” the need to write is just a niggle which I file mentally under “Things to do next week” along with printing off my endless back log of digital photos and actually doing some housework.

Sometimes the niggle is louder, so I muse on Facebook. Short, sharp often humorous (I hope) status updates observing the latest thing to tickle my fancy, the niggle is short-lived, easily placated and gets burried as I’m pulled into the next thing, endless refereeing, creating culinary masterpieces (scoffs loudly) school runs, evening clubs (theirs not mine, I have no social life!), preparing for trips, ironing work clothes, watching them display their latest achievements on the trampoline… and I do so love it all. It’s good this life. A pause button would of course make it better.

Today I find myself with a little extra time due to school play rehearsals, so I thought, get on with it, and then I thought, I have nothing to say. This discussion has ended my writing aspiration so many time I can not even begin to calculate, it may even have happened daily since my last post… Today I decided I would tell you this. Which makes today a very different day indeed.

In most respects its been a very normal Wednesday! I get more head space on Wednesdays as a rule, the small people have a woodland wander to school which means I get to drop them off earlier. After a brief logistical chat with one of my most fabulous friends, about various to-ings and fro-ings of children I headed home to coffee and i-pad time before work. I work part-time and this morning was a quiet one with friendly customers and chats about camping, puppies and the inability of any human to multitask. After work I wandered through the town running the odd errand, indulging on my favourite pass time of saying hello and exchanging news with people I know, spreading smiles. I was even brave enough to say hello to someone I thought I recognised from Instagram! (It was her too! which is even lovelier.) On arriving home I was greeted as usual by the black and white ninjacat, aka Twinkle, who has mellowed with age to being passably polite to most people and occasionally loving towards me, the food provider. Lunch was an indulgence of goats cheese and chorizo and then I found myself facing the dilema – I could clean/wash/iron/vacumn/sort/tidy etc or I could crochet/sew/read/game etc or I could write…. Guess what won.

Life changes.  Gone is the need to tweet to maintain adult contact in a world filled with nappies and peppa pig. No more, the desire to invite the world of the internets to know my every movement and dinner, it seems.  I never was one for selfies.  The daughter (now 10, I know, when the hell did that happen!) is adverse to my sharing her picture or doings on a web site (and I repect that) so any drivel I do splash onto this page about the smalls needs permission, although its usually granted.  The cats, adoreable as they are, are much the same as anybody elses. I never did write much about Mr. K as it would end up being a moan (possibly) and I’m much too loyal to mouth off so publicly about his good self.  I find myself a little bereft of subject matter.  So please forgive me if another year or so passes before I darken your door again.

 

 

Still here, honest!

One of my twitter friends asked me if I was still blogging this week *looks ashamed* the answer is yes with a guilty little no rattling around in my head, the truth is that sickness and a little thing called #nanowrimo is keeping my brain spinning.

So you know I’m still here I’m going to give you an excerpt from my National Novel Writing Month attempt. The point of NaNo is you write like the clappers and leave your internal editor on the shelf until December, so this piece is uneditted and raw – forgive me my errors and typos!

My main charector is not unlike me, a married, slightly sarcastic 30 something *coughs* with several children, although unlike me she blogs about relationships mostly and gets to live life a little more lasciviously than I ever could! Her blog posts are scattered through the story, this excerpt is one of them. (and btw, she swears a lot :-s)

Blog Post: The world is full of frustrated housewives.

 Or so we are led to believe. Apparently I’m one too so I’m told, yes, apparently so, although I certainly don’t feel frustrated.  After all it has been bought to my attention that it is generally considered, that a woman who has reached a certain age and thinks or writes about sex, must be sexually frustrated and not getting any; and also apparently, anything she does write about must be pure fantasy because otherwise, why would she need to write about it?

 Yes, okay, I’m a bit irked about that suggestion but I can see why, stereo typically, someone who has not lived enough to be able to see life from my shoes might think that…

 Stereotypically, is this life?

 We women strive from a very early age to find ‘the one’ he has to be everything we dream of. Animal instincts kick in at such an early age, the need to find someone genetically superior with whom to procreate.  At school when we should be concentrating on being educated so we can be useful independent beings and it’s all chaste kisses behind the bike sheds and experimentation with peer pressure, gropes at the school disco and sixth form study sleep-ins are just a hotbed of fornication. At university its all this party, that coffee shop, this bar to meet the lads, alcohol, perhaps drugs *shudders*. In the workplace its short skirts and heels, cleavage and mascara, trilled laughter at the photocopier, furtive touches at the watercooler, a quickie in the stationary office. Yes, I’m prone to exaggeration but you get the picture. Because he is out there somewhere, our Prince Charming who will sweep into our lives and make us complete and as they say love is blind, is there really such a thing as perfect?

So he’s caught and ensnared by your girlish charms, the love life swirls in a vortex of passion and discovery. You get engaged, married; get a house, things swim along nicely in your D.I.N.K.Y lifestyle until the need for a small person rears its head. But this is progress, the next step in the chain, or so we are told. A child is born and yes, he/she is the ultimate in beautiful.  Even at few weeks old when you have been getting up every 2 hours to feed, you mind is numb, overtiredness threatens to shatter your sanity, tears rolling down your face.  The sink is full of washing up and you have no clean clothes because they are covered in upchucked milk; but the baby is still beautiful, thankfully, God Bless Mother Nature. 

Fast forward a few years and you start feeling you have a grip on your life, yes, I did say years and I’m not kidding. If you are lucky you have got to stay at home and nursery starts allowing you a few precious hours breathing space; or as a working Mum you are still dropping off, working, picking up being Mum 24/7 – harsh.  As life gets back into a manageable pattern and if you don’t have the mad urge to have another baby, what do you see when you look around you? A not so controlled house with wallpaper being shredded off the wall, or crayoned on? A tired and disgruntled husband who has taken second place in your life for three years and feels neglected? A nonexistent sex life due to sheer exhaustion? So you sit back and take stock. Your hair is a mess, your body flabby, you are tired and strained, a night out is a dim and distant flicker in your imagination, a day off seems impossible. Your husband thinks nothing of farting in front of you and cuts his toenails so they ping all over the bathroom floor, leaves his dirty socks rolled up in balls in the washing and expects you to pull them loose before they get washed.

Yep, it’s a nightmare. Your mind is waking up and it doesn’t know who the hell you are any more. Your body is waking up and you want to be flirtatious and sexy, you want romancing and loving, perhaps with a little hard f*****g thrown in for good measure? Mr. Wonderful has become Mr. OhTooFamiliar and clawing back love and passion seems nigh on impossible. You no longer know who you are so how can you hope to find the ‘we’ again?

Bored, frustrated? Perhaps….

Sadly I’m no self help guru, the simple truth is I don’t have the answer. It’s a back to square one job. You can’t expect to be the woman you were pre-family so you need to find the woman you are now. The woman who has a family, who is tired, who needs to love and be loved in return.  The only suggestion I can think of to make it work from here is communication and sharing. Marriage is hard, it never stops needing to be worked at and if you can’t talk you might as well call it quits now.

Find out what you need, in a world where everyone needs you be aware that you have needs too, emotionally, physically, sexually, intellectually, you need to feel worthwhile and fulfilled and it is your husbands ‘job’ to contribute to you, as it is yours to contribute to him. You are in this together and if you want it to stay that way, you need to talk.

Courage

She watched him as he walked across the green, his lithe athleticism in fluid beauty of movement. Sinewy strength of taut muscles, tension bound like the worried expression on his face. She knew so much was wrong with his life, so much that she just couldn’t fathom the depth of his concern. Worst still, she was ineffectual to help him.

As he saw her his face became radiant, like clouds lifting after a summer storm making way for the suns rays to caress her skin.

“It’s good to see you.” he said simply and she nodded her voice suddenly silenced, he sat down next to her on the bench, folded tightly, his elbows on his knees, he ran his fingers through his hair, knuckles white with pressure. They sat in silence, each comforted by the presence of the other but maintaining distance. She listened to the sound of his breathing for some time, waiting for what he wanted to say. Eventually he murmured “I’m so glad you came.” He lifted his head and met her gaze with his glacier blue eyes, so penetrating, reaching into her soul, grasping her heart and twisting, her emotion rushing to her throat.

“You know don’t you.” he asked and once more she nodded and looked away, staring across the open space into nothing. “I’m sorry, it can’t be any other way.” he sighed “You have been all that has been bright to me for such a long time. Thank you, really. I love you.” he fell silent, his message delivered.

She felt the breeze on her face, noticed the chill creep through her coat and eventually the reality that night had fallen and she remained sitting on the bench in the park reached her. She turned to where he had sat so many hours ago and there was nothing, a gaping space where he should have been, to hold her, whisper soothing words of comfort and ease the pain from her body with his tender kisses.

Slowly, rising to her feet, fighting the cold cramp feelings of inactivity she stood. As the long-captive tears rolled down her cheeks  she reached within herself to the very core of her existence and found a spark, a glimmer of hope which made her move and took her safely home.

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Thoughtful Friday – Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

Climbing out of our beds very early, my husband and I really couldn’t help grinning like idiots at each other, we were on the holiday of a lifetime and this morning we were booked on a heli-hike across the Fox Glacier.  Gathering at the shop in town we were shepherded to a creaky old bus and taken to the yard where two helicopters stood waiting. My first time in a helicopter! My stomach coursing with butterflies we were all given nailed boots to wear which were seriously heavy and everyone tramped out in a clatter to the helicopter.  Our guide Jason, who honestly looked about 16, helped the pilot allocate our seats in the helicopter, I was placed in the front and my husband behind me and we were off.

Rising up into the air looking over the stunning countryside of South Island New Zealand, Mount Cook gracefully towering over the Southern Alps, word fail me as I try to describe how I was feeling, anticipation, excitement, yes but they really don’t cover it.  As we followed the river up into the mountains they opened out into a valley displaying the bright teal glacier glinting in the sunshine. It was at this moment that the pilot decided to do a left hook to show us the valley at close hand and I really do mean close hand, suddenly we were almost upside down, I honestly thought my time had come and we were going to crash into the rocks below! From behind me a hand gripped my shoulder, yes, the other half thought so too.

The end however, was not nigh, the helicopter straightened out and the guide was wittering on in my headset about some waterfall or other whilst I fixed a smile on my face which was closer to a grimace but served it’s purpose in keeping my breakfast in my stomach, a useful tip I learned from watching CIS.  I had my eyes shut for the rest of the flight and when we touched down on the glacier a matter of minutes later it took every ounce of will power I possess to make my legs move out of the helicopter down onto the treacherous ice.

Hunkering down on the ice next to the other half whilst the helicopter left my eyes were streaming with silent tears, he gave me a big hug and we pulled ourselves together enough to listen to Jason telling us about the glacier and it’s movements, his hopes of finding us an ice cave.  We set off slowly, 15 extra pounds of boot on your feet and legs that feel like jelly don’t make for fast movement when the floor is solid ice.  Picking our way along, making sure each foot has a grip before you move the next one, the silence and majestic beauty of the glacier can’t fail to touch you even whilst you are quaking in awe, slowly my legs shored up and my trembling became minimal enough to enjoy our surroundings, the beautiful deep teal blue of the glacier is still one of my favourite colours.

We walked along an ice ridge high between bottomless crevasses and waited whilst Jason cut stairs in the ice to help us down to an ice cave which we took it in turns to peer into and take photographs, we chatted to a couple from Australia about the flight and they confessed to have been scared ridged too, it is a relief when you realise it wasn’t just you and I got my dare devil mojo back just in time to have a good clamber around in the blue ice tunnels  before we had to slowly make our way back to the landing site, hunkering down again whilst the helicopter landed to take us back to solid ground.

I did think once we returned to the town of Fox, that I might never get in another helicopter again, a week later though we were once more in the air being thrown around by another pilot who thought it was funny to scare the tourists rigid as part of the Queensland triple, Heli, jetboat and rafting day and guess what – we both laughed in the face of the assumed danger..

The Mystery Blog Swap

Well here we go! I’m so pleased to be taking part in the Mystery Blog Swap over at The Sardine Tin, my post has been sent to my partner and here is the great post she’s kindly sent to me but who wrote it?

Guess who? A memorable day in the life of a mystery blog swapper.

It was a usual Friday. We were awoken by a small boy clambering into our bed and a slightly bigger girl hovering next to it and demanding oatmeal. We live our lives by all sorts of weekly routines, one of which is oatmeal for breakfast on Fridays. We also have TV after daycare on Tuesdays and Fridays, snacks in the car on the way home on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, gymnastics class on Thursdays, packed lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays, hot lunch at daycare the other days. We have pancakes on Saturdays, chocolate croissants on Sunday. With two full time jobs and two kids we find that routine is our friend. Deviations can mean disaster.

My Friday at work was filled with the usual scientist fun; moving small volumes of liquid from one place to another with mind numbing repetition, then generating reams of numbers from the experiments and turning them into graphs, then cutting out these graphs and sticking them into notebooks. I always feel as if I should get the kids to come and assist me with this part of my job. I spend far too much time cutting and pasting (and I don’t mean electronically, I mean colored bits of paper and UHU glue sticks) for a highly educated adult.  The rest of the day was spent tweaking graphs and charts, generating slide shows and talking about the data in meetings and conference calls.

Some Fridays our company president opens up the wine cabinet she has in her office and shares a couple of rather nice bottles with whoever happens to be around at 5.15pm on the last day of the week. Even though I try to get the kids by 5.30pm, I am often tempted to have a little glass, and to socialize with those who are not running out of the door to pick up their children. I had a nice glass of California Cabernet on this evening, and just as I left the building, my phone rang.

Is it just me or do all working mums feel their heart flip a little when they see “daycare” on the caller ID? This time the perpetual undercurrent of anxiety was justified. My little boy had taken a tumble and cut his head. Fortunately daycare is only a few minutes away, so I sped over, cursing myself for staying that extra fifteen minutes at work for the wine.

I arrived to find him sitting stoic and pale,  with the saddest face in the world. His mouth was fixed in a perfect upside down smile, and his expression wobbled into tears when I hugged him. A big band aid covered his forehead. “Don’t look under the band aid, just take him to the doctor”, the teacher advised, yet at the same time assuring me that it wasn’t all that bad.

I vacillated on where to take him. There are several emergency rooms in the city, but the closest one is at what is known as “the county hospital”. Much like “County” in the TV show ER, this hospital is the only one in the city obliged to serve anyone, insured or not, so needless to say it attracts a colorful cast to its ER. It actually quite resembles the hospital in that much missed TV show. I’m always rather disappointed not to run into the young George Clooney whenever I find myself there. I had never taken the kids there before though, in fact this was our first real emergency. It is pretty amazing for a three year old boy to get this far in life without requiring emergency medical attention, I reassured myself.

We decided to risk it, 6pm on a Friday hopefully being early enough to avoid the crowds, crackheads and crazies, and we got lucky. They sent us straight up to the children’s hospital, where the doctors (all at least ten years younger than me) removed the band aid and I saw the deep, bloody gash in the poor boy’s face. They were unconcerned and matter of fact, deemed it a perfect job for the wound glue, and soon had it expertly closed up. I had my five year old daughter with me through the whole ordeal. She handled it all remarkably, comforting her little brother, remaining quiet and well behaved even though she was hungry and tired and is often upset by changes to her well ordered routine.

The memorable day has now become part of our history. I love how the children like to narrate and relive the days on their life that stand out. We talk a lot about birthdays and Christmases past, about visits to the aquarium or the zoo, and now we talk about the day little boy broke his head. We drive past “County” every evening on the way home, and every night since he has pointed it out and said to me “Mummy, remember when I got a big hole in me? That is where they mended me!”. I’m hoping there won’t be a scar left behind from the cut, but even if there is he will have a story to go with it.