Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lick me now!

So I'm really glad I started this diet malarkey the week before Easter. Oh yes, it has been a breeze to turn down chocolate daily as Sproglet collects egg after egg after big fat shiny sweet coco smelling, glinting in the sunlight screaming LICK ME! LICK ME NOW! egg... The worst being the bastard sons of the original hollow egg: the mini eggs - with their 'hold me in your mouth until my crisp sugary shell breaks and I ooze milk chocolate onto your tongue.... I dare you to try without gobbling me up whole.' Sproglet has a tonne of those buggers. Even as I type I have the urge to run into the fridge and dive amongst the colourful foils and end up like Alfred Molinari at the end of Chocolat, when he has a chocolate orgy frenzy in the window of Juliette Binoche's pretty little sweet shoppe. Old Juliette certainly liked the gooey brown stuff and yet she still snared gypsy Johnny Depp in that film - so why give it up eh?

Because I want my old wardrobe back even if it is old and out dated. I miss my faded grey jeans and my skinny dark blue size 27s. I have spent most of my 20s and 30s wishing I was thinner - always by that elusive half stone - and for once, I am going to get there. I want to approach *whispers* 40 (ok, tis 2 years away, but Husband bought me a 40th card for a laugh and it hit home...) feeling in the best shape of my life.

Plus, I went for a run for the first time in... well, since I was about 10 on Saturday night. IT WAS HELL. I followed some Paula Radcliffe article I'd read last week: run for 3 mins, walk for 1. Repeat 7 times. Sounded easy - how long is 3 mins after all? FUCKING FOREVER that is what it is. Here is how it went:

Reset stopwatch and Go!

This is easy, why didn't I run before? Good speed I'd say. Breathe, yes breathe. So must be nearly up by now. Starting to get out of breath, and feel a bit tight in the leg. Quick glance at stopwatch - 45 seconds? Eh?

Oh my god, do I really have to run for 3 minutes... ok I will. Just three then I can walk. Thank god for the walking. Ohhhh nice house. I want to win the lottery. Must buy ticket. Keep running, grab some muffin top to feel inspired. This will go if I keep on going. Good. Nearly there 2 mins 45 secs, come on, come on, oh must be 3 mins now.

Stop. Thank god. Can't believe I have to do this again. This walking is lovely. Why not just walk? Walking rocks? Best thing. No, must do it, do what Paula says - she of lots of medals and thin frame. Here we go again... This stopwatch must be slow, must be nearly half way... ok it is 1 min 5 secs. Oh god, I cant do this. My lungs are burning my legs are jelly and I am sweaty mess. 7 times. No way. Maybe 6. I like 6. Even number and all that. Oh thank god, is 2 mins 50. That'll do. Walking again. Bliss.

And on.. until I arrived home looking like a pulsating tomato, dripping in sweat. It took an hour for my face to be normal again. Sproglet asked was I ill. Yes. I fucking was. How on earth do folk run marathons? I am going to scrape my mate Peter's skin when he visits as I am sure he isn't human. Marathon people must be robots sent from another world to make us all feel bad...

So 6x3 min jogs and 6x1 min walks and I was a MESS. And my reward - Green tea! I would rather eat my own snot thanks a lot. Green tea is vile. Don't tell me you like the taste. I'd say if you do, you don't like yourself too much. Then came body pump on Sunday where my weak as a kitten triceps made an appearance - just to embarrass myself in front of all the other ladies - including a 60 year old - who could pump more than me and for longer. I should be on our bike downstairs as I type but I can't face it. Today is a rest day... My calendar has been marked - I have under 5 weeks. 11 pounds more to lose. It is so so hard to lose weight.

Today I jumped on the scales, convinced I must now be a waif - after all that no to chocolate and eating only green stuff and protein - come on - only 3 pounds? I have 5 more weeks of this. 5 weeks of no to cake - my best friend in life - no to bread. Just thinking about a crusty loaf gives me a wide on... No to alcohol (but I will neck a pimms on Friday - not that I give a damn about the Royal Wedding, but it is an excuse to be all British and smug for a day) and no to HAVING A LIFE. As of next tues cute trainer is back and he wants to make me pay for the sins of the cake that has gone before. My core strength is rubbish so we have to tone and firm up and basically this translates as - I will HURT. A lot. And sweat. And go very red. Maybe even puke. And at the end of it all those grey jeans will be mine again.

The closest I have come to chocolate this Easter is a wet kiss from Sproglet when he was sporting a chocolate moustache. Husband is on an even more radical health kick and looks 10 years younger overnight. I hate him. He lost 7 pounds in the first week and told me off for eating corn on my salad one night - as that is carbohydrate! The evil carbs! Christ I am boring myself now. Life is super dull without treats and lemon drizzle cake and a muffin for breakfast and a large red and a wee apple martini before bedtime and oh oh oh... I must stop before I get myself all excited.

Perhaps I will post some before and after shots. Please let me get to the after and let it come quickly... Right, I'm off to bed before the contents of the upper fridge starts to talking to me again.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Transsexuals, 38 and lard.

Last week was manic. One of those weeks, you know, when you turn 38, catch a burlesque show, have a million kiddy play dates, eat cake for breakfast, cope with an exploding freezer, get hassled in the ladies toilets at BAFTA by a transsexual,are asked for kiss by a cab driver when you have a mouth filled with tuna sandwich (does that mean I've still got it? Not that I ever even had it, but... you know what I mean...)and have to read a book a day for some tv work you said you'd do in a moment of complete madness.

Husband was off work, Sproglet was off school, Sproglette was teething, had a raging cold and got 3 nasty big jabs in her chunky thighs - all of which conspired to make me CRAZZZZEEE. But I managed to escape 3 times - Tues night was a screening/discussion about the diversity film I worked on for the BBC last year - when I was a waddling - 2 weeks shy of Sproglette's birth. I went along with the writer who wrote the script and had a ball - charged at the free bar, gossiped with the director, caught up with some folk I haven't seen in ages. Oh and got told by a transsexual woman in the loos that the film was rubbish because the characters in it (from the soap I used to work on) didn't feature a transgender person. 'Which is because we don't have a transsexual character on the show' I politely replied. 'Well you should do' was her retort. How am I having this conversation I thought as I dashed to the safety of a cubicle. Afterwards I staggered to my train and then chatted the ear off some squillionaire who sat opposite me. I know he be rich as he lives in one of the footballer-esque mansions alongside the golf course - the kind of house you go 'ooohhh lottery win' when you drive past and try to get a better view through their enormous iron gates.

Thurs - I was thirty fucking eight. How is that even possible? Sproglet gave me a cake and Husband presented me with envelopes containing the printed out receipts to the gifts he had bought me that very morning on line. Then I had to dash out to complete a report - as I mentioned, I agreed to read chick lit novels with a view to 'would this make a good drama series?' and write up a report on my conclusions. Sounds fun - is fun - but takes f....o...r...e...v...e...r. The amount of work it took I reckon I made 10p an hour or so... Had a facial which was soooooo average - a 23 year old girl with a sing song voice talking about her Jane Austen inspired wedding and giving me a facial which I later found out she likes best for her skin. Yes her youthful skin... Really? Is this what I need as I race towards 40?? That night I went to the Hurly Burly show - fun frisky and fucking depressing glittery extravaganza, watching women with a-ma-zing bods strip over and over again. Mind you, if I could swing my nipple tassles in both directions whilst there are aflame, I wouldn't be sitting here now... One of the 'gals' was most certainly a man - with a fab tit job. I spent most of the evening trying to work out if she was really a he. What is it with me and transsexuals? Post strip show, I sunk a few old fashioned cocktails at a member's bar and a flirty cute waiter kissed me to wish me a happy birthday. A nice but mehhhh kind of birthday.

Friday we went to the park and tried to teach Sproglet how to ride his bike and then dashed off to see Scream 4. Why? Nostalgia. It sucked. So post modernly smugly clever aren't we super smart and down with the kids with our online streaming murders - what a load of cobblers.

Then - books read, reports done, Sproglet now on return playdates so is out of my hair, Husband back to work and .... *tumble weed goes past*. From manic to mundane. Summer has raised a sleepy eyebrow in our direction and a sinking fear knaws at my stomach - should I be thinking about work again... oh god, how am I ever going to marry work with my life? At the moment trying to remember nappies, my name and to eat is enough to be getting on with. Just to add to my 'things to do that never get done ever' list - I have joined the gym and got myself a trainer. Shoot me - I have become a suburban desperate housewife type who talks more to her trainer than her husband. Just kidding. He (trainer) is 24 (bless) and cute. Almost a third of me is body fat. True. I am a walking lump of lard. So - I have 6 weeks until the Italian wedding. 6 weeks of protein and veg and water and NO CAKE. NO FUN. NO LIFE. I have 10 sessions with cute trainer and after 1 I can't really feel my legs. He laughed at my attempts at press ups - and I explained that yes, I am as weak as a kitten. How long can I use the 'I've just had a baby' excuse? I have 14 pounds to lose. 7-8 kgs. How dull is all this dieting malarkey? But I have to - as I cannot get in my old clothes and I have no income for new ones... Needs must when your reflection in the bathroom mirror horrifies you - as the shower mist clears you realise you own all those tumbling rolls of fat - and boy did you have fun creating them. But they have to go...

If only I had a good surgeon's number from my transsexual buddies - a nip and a tuck here and there and I wouldn't have to bother with all this work out stuff.

So wish me and my lard luck.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Time to think...

Today the sun split the skies - it is official - spring has sp-rung. The daffs are out, the snowdrops have vanished and its all chocolate eggs bursting out of the shops and flip flops dug out from the dusty back of the closet. No time to hose down the decking or give the grass a once over - the great British summer has arrived... and will no doubt vanish again by Tuesday. But hey ho - let's not complain.

Husband headed off to a fancy stag do - no strippers or cheap beer and comedy breasts - instead all french dining vintage reds and expensive cheeses - and I was left holding the children. My best mate popped round to do her DIY magic and another friend came to meet Sproglette for the first time. One of those busy days when I'm always making a cuppa, wiping a bottom, holding up a curtain pole, racing to the park, kicking a ball, tidying something.

If Sproglet asked once, he asked a million times - 'Can we go to the park now?' from about oh... 7am. So we did. Once there he bumped into some mates and whoosh - he was off. DIY best mate went hunting for screws and I chatted my other friend. As the sun danced shadows behind her shades, she turned and I caught a glimpse of something sad in her eyes, no matter how bright she smiled. She had sad news. The kind you don't have any words for. The kind that involves the C word. Her sister, at 40. And I stood bouncing my baby off my hip, feeling like a spare part - wishing with all my might that I could offer comfort or solutions or any of the usual things we try to grab when we want to help someone we care about. She was so stoic and calm as she shook herself - not wanting to get upset. As if shaking would rid her of such awful, awful news. I felt so devastated for her. It is all so unjust. 40. Selfishly I couldn't help but think I am 2 years off that number. Cancer just doesn't happen to people my age...

All around us kids clambered onto frames and squealed with laughter and I felt rooted to the spot - what can you say that hasn't been said? How many times will folk tell her that at least her Sister can now live for the moment - really live for it - as when your days are numbered you've got to, right? How hollow that is. Nothing in the world could prepare you for such news - or how to even begin processing it. We all know people who know people who go through this and we shudder and mutter words 'there for the grace of god....' And it resonates with us and we sympathise because we can't even start to empathise - and for that moment we try and imagine being in those horrendous shoes, and we can't no matter how hard we try - and relief floods us as we don't have to.

I watched Sproglet run like lightning for the ice cream van and my heart kind of lurched because more than anything else in the whole wide world I want to watch that darling little boy grow up. It made me realise how silly my petty fights and worries are. That when I look back on my life I won't care about the jobs I've done and the wild career highs - but I will care that I made it to Sproglet's first ever nativity play the day after I got out of hospital post daughter's birth. That I'll care that I hung out with my dear friends and was good friend (I hope) to them, and that laughed with my family (and forgave them their mistakes) and experienced great adventures with my Husband, who I love so much. Lately I have been really celebrating every day - just enjoying being the best Mother I can be and no more. Relishing time with my kids. And I am happier and more grateful than I have ever been.

Tonight I got in the bath again with Sproglet and he was so freakin' pleased about it. Frankly most folk would recoil from my flabby post baby body - but not him, bless him. We looked at my C section scar and talked all about him and Sproglette being born. He stared at my star tattoo (just on my hip - a permanent memento from my travelling days) and mentioned that he liked such 'stickers that wash off.' I told him that my sticker doesn't ever come off and he looked perplexed. Then we jumped into our jammies and I read him stories (one about the boy who caught a star and we remembered how we caught 5 star fish last week on a rock pool marathon - and threw them all back in the sea I may add) and then we lay in his bed and looked through every photo in my phone. They start with him at 3 days old and now are filled with him and his Sister (and a random shot of a rug - yes, the nesting continues). God that time has flown. He'll be five in June - but it feels like 5 minutes ago he was born.

I can't believe I'm going to say this - but I'm in no hurry back to work any more. All I want is this precious time with my children before they disappear off to have their own lives... It really is so fleeting. I want to grab every day and squeeze every last bit of goodness from it. Feeling blessed with my lot. I don't want some TV executive to at a whim dictate the time I get to be with my family - I don't want to slave my guts out for the status of some telly job that is badly paid and means feck all in the grand scheme of things. I don't want to feel my job is my life. I have a life - one that I love and cherish and means more than any paycheck.

A girl whose blog I love (The Girl Who - google her - she is fab - or check her out at Babble - an American Mummy blog site) just posted that she has quit her tv job and is going to write for blog sites for a living - so as she gets more time with her kids. She so deserves this and will be brilliant at it - it made me think of how much I want do something that lets me be with my little people much more - and lets me put my family first. If only I knew what that great job was...

Anyway, tomorrow promises to be another glorious day. The kind where us Brits reach for our BBQ gloves and a six pack of sausages, a bottle of Pimms and our factor 50. Who knows, this freak weather may even last past Tuesday after all...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


The yellow football swoops low - another kick and it sails up into the sky, accompanied by Sproglet's billowing laughter. Behind him my Father, his Grandpa, rushes up and scoops him into his arms, throwing him upside down, causing the Sproglet's giggles to bubble up - until he can hardly catch a breath.

I watch at the window, my heart in my stomach - moved more than I know how to say by watching these two play together. My son idolising his Grandpa - my Father, finally able to parent in a way he never could with me. Then my step Mother will offer to feed Sproglette and I'll barely get near my baby again that day as she tenderly bathes her and dries her and coos in wonder at my daughter. She can't get enough of her gummy smiles and delicious smell.

I am home. Back in the bosom of my family - a family that unites and divides me, that makes me feel whole and yet sends me running for the hills. The politics of the past seem buried - tired old stories that no one wants to revisit - and yet they are there - a scratch of the surface and they bleed.

And yet... Sproglet ran around with his cousins today (my Mum's ex common law husband's daughter's kids... follow if you can) - only popping in my would-be sister's home to ask for biscuits. And we sat - my would be sister and I - and talked as we watched our children bond, remembering how we were thrust together at the ages of 11 and 14. How through the messy murky years of her Father and my Mother's relationships, we fashioned our own sibling-esque bond that still is alive today. She threw a pizza in the oven and I supped tea and it all felt so easy - I had a small vision of how life could be - all the support and joy of my many families all together pitching in, helping me raise my brood.

Then I drove to the most glorious house I know - built out over the rocks and sea, to my Step Mother's daughter's house - where Sproglet is in awe of his step-cousins and they tear around the house rugby tacking each other and laughing until I think he'll be sick. The sun shines over the sea and the wind whips through our hair as we stand on the deck ad the view - the amazing view - calms me, until I feel I am utterly still. Then we have to go - rush on, rush on, more people to see, more tea to be drunk. No time...

And there is my Mum's ex - and he holds my daughter for the first time and Sproglet uses his Daddy's i-phone to take the most gorgeous picture of them both - and then we are out the door again - cramming more people in, trying to touch base with everyone before we fly home. A week in Ireland is never enough. I feel we've only just arrived, they have only just met my new addition. I wish for somehow my life to involve these folk all the more - that they were around all the time to care for my family in my childhood stomping grounds. Every time I drive past my old school my heart swells and I'm back there - art folder dragging in my wake, woollen tights itching my thighs, tie pulled loosely around my neck.

Home is so bitter sweet. The grey days and piercing sunshine across the coast. The rock pools and the freezing rain. The hearty meals with the cheap price tags. The never ending Irish good humour no matter what comes in our way. My dysfunctional, emotional, splintered family - laying their ghosts to rest as they embrace my children. Could I live here again I ask myself? My heart yearns but my head says no. I don't know. All I know is I hugged my Father goodbye tonight and hid from him my tears. Sproglet asked why I was crying and for once I had no answers.

Monday, 4 April 2011

People are strange....

Still here, just not been feeling in a very blogtastic mood of late. All this parenting malarkey has turned my brain to mush and I spend most days feeling like I've rediscovered skunk, or am suffering from a permanent hangover or something. Normally I could vent, sorry, blog, at least twice a day on some nonsense or other - but lately I've just been amblin' along - taking in the view, more of an observer than participator - not that inclined to talk about anything much. There's no major angst, no earth shattering highs, just day in day out life ticking along...

But I'll tell you something I have recently noticed - people are odd. Fucking odd. The day to day politics of friendships, acquaintances, even folk at your local supermarket - is mind boggling.

What happened to people smiling at each other in the street eh? Now a days it is all eyes down, must not make eye contact, clenched smiles, hastily passing by careful not to brush shoulders. Not just on London tubes either - where at least there it always makes sense to avoid catching any one's eye as more often than not they be a nutter - a nutter who needs a new best friend - EXACTLY LIKE YOU. No, tubes aside - people these days just want to get on with their day - avoiding people.

Then there are your acquaintances - folk maybe you worked with. Now last week I popped into my old place of work - I was there was the guts of 3 years - and my god it was odd. One woman utterly blanked me as I waved at her as I drove into the carpark. Walked past her desk every day for 3 years - morning and night - and yet she looked through me. She arrived back from her lunch just as I was leaving and carefully avoided meeting my baby. Another looked at me, smiled stiffly and then dashed on - desperate not to stop and speak - as if I had some infectious disease. One guy - who may I add sobbed so much he couldn't actually speak, on the day left my job (for the first time) - barely gave me two mins because he had to hurry out for lunch with folk - folk he sees every day. At one point I checked that I was in fact still holding little Sproglette and not a rabid dog - as I seemed to have some sort of plague.

Meanwhile I told a really good friend of years recently how happy I was - how life for once felt good in the here and now - something I have struggled with all my life (as I constantly move those goal posts the minute I get to them) and she said..... nothing. Nothing. She ignored it and moved on. Because, I have realised - that it is ok to be miserable - folk know what to say to you when you have been dumped, or lost your job, or have zit, or had a bad date, or got crabs or whatever - but if you are *whispers* happy - then no soul wants to know. Take your goddamn smiley chirpy face and hide it until the mundanity of life grinds you down again - then they'll be all ears. People don't want to hear about your new home/fab job/ pregnancy/ hot sex with your new man/ successful weight loss/ lottery win etc unless they are in a good place themselves. As Gore Vidal said 'Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.'

Admit it - how do you feel when a work chum gets a promotion - the one you went for but never told anyone? Or your once 'cuddly but she has a great personality' best friend climbs into her size 8 jeans for the first time in a decade? Or your neighbours get an extension you'd fantasised about for years? Or your old uni buddy is taking a sabbatical to whizz the family round the world for 4 months on the vacation of a lifetime? People don't want others to win, do they? Because that makes them feel that little bit uneasy, that bit less satisfied with their lot, that bit more inferior. Even though whatever happens to Sammy, Dicky or Joe - has no baring on your life whatsoever - won't change a little thing - it still bothers you even though you would never in your life admit it.

No, we smile that tad too widely, we make blustering noises and offer up our congratulations, our 'joy' at our friend/colleague/neighbour/relative's good news/fortune and then go home and sink a bottle of red and bitch to anyone who will listen that 'it will never work out,' 'she'll put the weight on again in no time,' 'I wouldn't work for that company in a million years - bastards the lot of them.' 'Its not good to take the kids out of school for so long - that's just selfish - and they're bound to get sick or kidnapped or what not,' or 'money never makes anyone happy anyway,' - then we'll feel better.

Because we are delighted for people when they are in a good place, we are honestly. They deserve it.

Never lasts anyway. Bah!