Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Back to earth

Sometimes, when you least expect it, life just throws something in front of you that opens your eyes and makes you reassess where you stand. This week has taught me more than any other this year. I guess because I had gotten so wound up in my own head about the whole work issue, crossing all the bridges before I had even come to them, that I didn't really see the bigger picture.

But having spent all of yesterday in the hospital with a very dear friend, my oldest friend of all, I have a whole new perspective on everything. Simply, you are nothing without your health. It doesn't matter how rich you are (mind you that helps, christ the NHS bureaucracy sucks - and the waiting, the endless waiting - I can totally see why private health care is appealing) or how thin you are, or if you have the best job in the world, without everything working as it should, well, you are stuffed.

Lots of folk around me haven't been having the easiest of times. I feel a bit helpless, only able to lend an ear, or a supportive shoulder when I can. Anyway, I watched my poor friend being so vulnerable, and my heart kind of broke and I would have given anything in the whole world to make her better. My stomach churned with the needles and the sympathetic nods, and the doctor speak and the endless poking and prodding. She was so brave through it all, it was very humbling.

And as the count down to ten years since the horror of 9/11 happened, my TV is filled with tales from that day - and all that has happened as a result of it - it has made me realise how lucky I am to be here, to be healthy, to have my family, to have my friends. How insignificant all the other stuff is. Reminds of the days I used to head home after a shift at Samaritans, so bloody grateful for all that I had. Being there made me grounded, made me appreciative.

So enough of my wingeing - life is short, it is for living. Fuck it, all I need is a job. And if that is all I have to worry about - then how freakin' lucky am I?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Giving myself a break... and a Gazelle.

There is a cool nip in the air. The sun fades a few minutes earlier every evening and the days begin chilly and only blossom into sunshine in the late morning. Autumn is a knockin' at the door. That back to school feeling is just about to descend. My favourite season will soon be here...

I'm feeling pretty chipper. For manys a reason. I feel like I pulled myself out of the brink in the last week, and all that changed was my mindset. The darkness that enveloped me - dragging me under, threatening to overwhelm me at any given moment, continued through until about Wednesday. Even the news that a dear fiend had a beautiful baby girl couldn't quite lift me from my numbness. I called the Dr, arranged a chat for the following day. In the meantime a man came to build my son's trampoline - it took him almost 3 days. 3 DAYS. How the feck does it take someone 3 days to build a sodding trampoline? It poured, the skies were grey and pretty much everyone I knew was having the worst time. At the back of my mind, the nagging fact that my Dad hadn't responded to my 'I miss you Dad' text last week made me blue. My last ever maternity pay dropped in my account - and I knew that the time was up. A job is required. My spirit sank.

Then, well, I wish I could state a defining moment when my head changed gear. When I began to believe in myself again. I think it came down to papier mache gazelle. I swear. I was flicking through a few blogs I like and one woman blogger showed how she was decorating her nursery - and I fell in love with this here gazelle from Anthropology (a US store):

How can you not love it's happy little face? It made me smile even though I can't afford it. It made me want to get a job so I could decorate my gorgeous daughter's room and put this gazelle head in it. And maybe the matching zebra. Because the gazelle needs a buddy, right? I went to bed smiling. I sound simple don't I? Anyway, a few folk responded to some emails I sent and I have a couple of meetings set up - which makes me feel so much less of a loser. Like I still have something to offer. So when I chatted to the Doc, between sobs, she offered me some anti depressants. But I never even picked up the prescription. I chatted to a friend who pointed out that I was setting some hideous deadlines in my head and all I had to do was give myself a break. Why was I stressing about getting a job and how it would all work with childcare - when I hadn't even started looking for the job yet.

So I've been giving myself a break. Like I had friends over today - meant to BBQ, but I knew it was probably going to rain so I planned a pot of chilli instead. And instead of worrying about 'is my house big enough to fit everyone?' and 'will they think it is shabby?' 'will they see my chipped plates and mis-matched wine glasses?' and all that crap, I gave myself a break. Who cares I thought, they are coming to see me and Husband and my fab kids - and that is all that matters. I don't need for everything to be perfect, I just need to relax a bit more. And I did.

It is a big revelation to me, this giving myself a break malarkey. Now I'm not so worried if things aren't perfect and I'm wearing a top from 3 years ago and the baked dip sticks aren't crunchy and all that jazz. It's like - this is who I am, this is my home and I love it, and that is all that matters. I've made some plans for Xmas, I'm going to send out some more CVs and Husband is off all next week so I get time to see him, catch up with some friends, see the new Almodovar film (Avoid One Day - caught it last week - such a shame, LOVED the book, HATED the film. Why oh why did Anne Hathaway - too beautiful to begin with - get that part? Her accent is woeful. Dexter unlikable. Jumpy rushed storyline desperately trying to squeeze in the whole book. Wasted opportunity - but Rafe Spall is brilliant - sorry, I digress) and hang out as a family.

Something will turn up. I've just got to keep believing. Things always work out ok in the end - they have before and they will again. I just have to stop giving myself such a hard time and putting myself under such stress.

And before I know it, the gazelle will be mine. :)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

I had a better day today...

Spent the morning talking to Husband - finding some solutions, putting some plans in place. Being a team, instead of opposing sides. Spent the afteroon in a soft play area - think a wonka factory on acid with 5 trillion kids racing around and then some (seventh circle of hell replete with a girl on the entrance desk sporting a face that would turn milk sour, or as my Granny would say 'she had a face like a fried egg's lip'- mind you I would feel that fucking murderous if I worked there...) with Sproglet and his mate and a good friend. Then it was all back to mine for some spag bol and chocolate ice cream. Both of which comforted me.

I think everything just spiralled a bit on Friday. Illness ('orrible flu like bug that felt like my muscles had done 7 rounds with Tyson) combined with the worst period of my life (TMI... sorry) and the fear about job hunting and money and all that jazz just sent me reeling. Anyway, I thank my commenters for being so sympathetic and caring. Whoever said that I light up a room, know that you lit up my day. It is possibly one of the nicest things I have ever heard/read about myself. On dark days I will try and hold that thought. I also found a picture a friend posted on facebook - and it makes me feel better. More positive. And if days like Friday keep a comin' then I'll head back for citalopram - as maybe my hormones post babies, don't work as they should. Chemical, indeed. I needed them once, and may well again.

Hope you like it:

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Playing to the crowd

"He showed us his willy."

Two pairs of tanned limbs point in Sproglet's direction as their deep northern voices chorus in unison. I look to Sproglet, waiting for him to deny the charge.
"They told me to!" He shouts indignantly. I look back to his accusers. They shrug their princess shoulders and hide under their eyes under their long fringes, twirling their curls as they cluck the inside of their mouths. I look to their mother and she looks back. I have no idea what to say, to them, to their Mum, to my son the flasher.

I should explain. We are in York, at my Aunt's and Sproglet has buddied up with two girls next door. They are 4 and 5, called Thea and Grace, have long hair tumbling down their backs, big brown eyes, rosy cheeks and shining white smiles. They never stop asking questions: 'do you live in another country?' 'Where is his Daddy?' 'Does Sproglet's Daddy get the train to work, in Australia?' Sproglet met them on Friday about two whole minutes after we arrived as they bounced over and then cajoled him into playing on the their trampoline and then insisted he 'stay for tea.' Every morning he rises and his first question is 'when can I see the girls.' He has called them 'the girls' so often I am unsure he even knows their names. They look like twins, dashing around in a sea of glitter and pink and stripes. One has a Spanish dancers costume in flouncy satin with swirly tassles that she shakes with every step. Sproglet is transfixed - as are they with him. They fight for his attention over dinner and follow him around the garden. He holds court, playing to his adoring audience. So when they asked to see the contents of his pants he felt obliged to do so. Apparently it was only a fleeting show and tell, thank god, but I had to have the 'respecting your body' chat. The girls don't appear to be scarred by the experience - as the younger one asked if Sproglet could stay over 'and sleep in my bed.' Sproglet seemed keen but I pointed out to him it would be a bit of a squish. Unisex sleepovers are at least 12 years away I hope... I note that Sproglet had no interest in seeing their feminine bits - and they didn't offer to show theirs. A raw deal for Sproglet, I feel. However, I am relieved that my son didn't ask as these things wouldn't occur to him. This episode has highlighted to me that girls do indeed mature faster than boys and are definitely interested in bodies (and how they work) first.

Suffice it is to say that when the little one (aged 4) invited Sproglet for a shared bath time, we felt she had learnt enough about the male anatomy for one day and politely declined. Best to leave your audience always wanting more.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Doing a Monica

So we are in the cheese aisle in Sainsburies. Sproglette is covered - I mean covered - in biscuit gunk and is hollering as she cannot stand how laid back the bloody kid seats are in the trollies. Agree with her actually - can't they just raise the damn things two inches? I mean two inches aint much is it? She strains her neck to nosey at other folk's trollies - as she has to know everything. Must get it from her Father. Sproglet was demanding to go to the car as 'I am tirrrreeeddd.' My god, he has morphed into a tweenager overnight. Sulky - check. Stroppy - check. Zits - not yet. Anyway, there we where in the cheese aisle, having another 'debate' about money - about whether or not we should go Belfast at the end of the month as if we don't I won't get 'home' this year... But as my Dad STILL hasn't spoken to me since I sent him a letter at the start of June - is there any point?

But I want to go, to take the kids to my other families, to see the sea, to relax, to have some help with the bairns. But that isn't really relevant. Because it all came down to cash. Lack of. Air prices are crazy and it just seems a lot of cash for a wee one hour flight. For 4 people now. Husband muttered that he has to shoulder all the financial responsibilities at the mo and shouldn't I really be thinking about heading back to work, even if it was full time?? All of a sudden I felt hot tears prickle at the edge of my eyes. There, he'd said it. It was time to get back to work. All out in the open now.

He doesn't seem to get my industry at all. That my friends who were script eds have had to put in punishing hours in their subsequent jobs - post soap that we all worked on together - as working in TV production is LONG hours and no one gives a stuff about your child care issues at all. They don't have kids, so they can do this. Even though they hated it. So you can either give your life over to telly, and accept it, or dry your eyes and move on to new pastures. One ed moved oop north for 3 months and barely saw her Husband. She had one day off every two weeks and often filmed until 2am. She was exhausted and stressed and hundreds of miles from home. I admire her as I simply couldn't do it. It is impossible for me.

So as Husband picks up a ball of mozzarella and announces that I should go back to work, I want to scream at the top of my lungs 'I fucking want to go back to work but I have no idea how to!!!!!!'

Next day I visited a good buddy and old colleague of mine (from said soap) and ended up crying on her shoulder. Poor woman had only invited me over for lunch and a gossip and there I was asking her to solve my life problems for me. She told me to either A. Get a job - any job. 'The kind where, when folk at parties ask you what you do, and you tell them, their eyes will glaze over...' OR B. Get a nanny at a huge cost and give your life over to the devil. I mean TV. Then hope at the end of it that the TV company will reward you with a cushy little development job part time. She then said 'what about your blog, can't you somehow make that a job for yourself?' It made me think of the wonderful Monica Bielanko, who has realised her dream to write for a living and now writes for Babble amongst others...

Bless my friend, she has no idea that I have a small, but amazingly loyal audience and that not that many folk know I am here. Meanwhile, Mum blogger that I was cyber introduced to sent me links to all kinds of blogging events for Mums and it made me realise there are MILLIONS OF US OUT THERE!! I aint special! I mean half these women tweet nonsense about 'we are all wonderful in god's eyes' and 'great picnic today, now what for tea' which makes me want to open a vein - preferably theirs. I have no clue how to 'publicise' myself - (bloggers as great as Monica don't have to) and it also makes me feel a bit icky. Like, I write this for me, and well you guys, but not for the sole plan of getting more readers. I started it in 2008 - as I was so freakin' lonely I just wanted one other person to say to me 'yeah, I get it, I feel like you.' I felt so guilty for not loving motherhood with all my heart, I jsut wondered if anyone else felt like me. You know, freakish. Anyway, it is a nice idea - but even the thought of having to 'tweet' regularly makes my heart thump with the sheer PRESSURE of it all. Be funny. NOW doggy - jump!!!

So what to do, what to do. I feel like Husband just sent me on some Indiana Jones style holy grail discovery trek. A trek through countless rejection letters, media wankers, endless harping about 'favourite writers' and 'loving your show' (when in reality I watched half an ep on You Tube) futile meeting after futile meeting, sipping badly made tea or crap coffee and endlessly smiling and bolstering egos of tired execs, as people laugh in the face of the girl who wants 'part time work - in telly!!!' Yes, good joke, ha ha. Oh sorry, you were serious??' In truth there isn't even a single British Drama I'd like to work on (some are good of course, but just not my thang). Honestly - nothing excites me on TV at the mo... Except drama from the US - they always do it best. Or maybe the Danes. (Desperate to see The Killing - desperate! The Danish version I mean). So do I want to give up my life and never see my kids for a job on a series that I hate, just for my CV? In the hope it will lead to good things... And how on earth would that work with my kids and Husband working nights?

When I try to explain to any people in my industry what I am after - they all look at me as if I have asked for Brad Pitt's hand in marriage. It aint gonna happen. Not when Angelina is a super mum who looks super hot AND manages to take her brood for a painting session at some cute 'Art For Fun' type place in swanky Richmond. In heels. With no vomit on her shoulder or make-up running down her face. You see what I want, what would work for me and the family - the nightmare gang in the friggin cheese aisle - it just doesn't exist.

So now what? Would I love to 'do a Monica'? You betcha. But it aint likely, as these US bloggers get major traffic to their blogs and that is why folk love 'em. And also - they are damn talented writers to boot. That goes without saying. I don't quite know what to do.

So, back in the aisle. I picked up some red leicester cheese and marched on, my hands shaking, white knuckles holding the crappy list that takes me hours to do - when I do the sodding 'meal planner' every Saturday morning and try and work out meals for Sproglet 'I don't like that', Sproglette *slams mouth shut and refuses to eat any jar or packet - only freshly cooked mush for madame* and myself. In that moment I feel such fear, such terror of what is expected of me, and how the hell I will ever achieve it, I feel sick. Cheese aisle and nausea - not a good combo.

We finish the shop in silence. This feels like my burden to work out. Not his. I stare out the window on the journey home, as Sproglet demands a drink, Sproglette howls with hunger and I howl too, just on the inside.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Makes me smile.

Sometimes I just wanna blog about things that catch my eye. Now a while ago I was home in Ireland, walking down a quiet little street in a place called Holywood near the sea, when I spied a wonderful painting the window of a gallery. I stopped in my tracks and went inside, leaving Husband muttering about why I always have to 'pockle.' Anyway, turns out this fabulous painting called 'Mother Hen' was by a local artist called Dawn Crothers - and this here is her web page:!/pages/Dawn-Crothers-Artist/112181038831448

She loves to paint animals in funky colours - a wash of colour and joy. Her work makes me smile and I thought that maybe, it would make you guys smile too.

Twitter ye not

I just don't get it.

Sorry. As you can see from the little button to the right - I have signed up with Twitter. Why? Because, well, I am trying to attract folk to my scribblings on this here blog and another blogger told me it was the way to go. So, I did. But it is e-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-n-g. Oh the PRESSURE to be FUNNY. All the time. Every few minutes - here ya go - another side splitter/wise and sarky/obtuse and interesting/ debate starting comment from moi. Also - it is PC in Twitter land to follow those that follow you. Which is cool - as some are indeed funny. Some however, are not. At all. Do I want to know you had beans for tea and the kids are still up past 9pm? That you painted a wart with nail varnish or your bikini wax went wrong? No. And these folk - well they don't fart without letting you know about it. I think that mid shag, they'd even have one hand on the keyboard...

Then there are the career Twitter-ers. The ones who are journos and spend their lives at a keyboard, so twitter what they are writing, how they like other folks writing, what we should be writing about and all kinds of entertaining lines in under 160 characters - which I think is an art in itself. These journo types feel like a Twitter 'in' club - one that only Guardian/Times/Grazia writers can join. Then there are the selebs... who have something to plug or just inane crap to spout. I get it, if you do indeed have wares to trade - fair enough, it is just another marketing tool. Then there are apparently the Twitter hiders, who only come out to play to read banter that swings back and forth between the career Twitter-ers when X Factor is on (or the like. Having never watched a single ep of TOWIE I don't have a clue who most selebs these day are). I can't help feeling that it is incredibly smug and narcissistic to think that what you have to say is really that thrilling that it needs updating every day/hour/minute. Which, is rich here with me the pot calling them the kettle... But my blog is really just a venting place - rather than a place to show off *waves madly - look at me*.

It takes a while to get the lingo, understand the 'rules' and to enjoy it. I am still waiting for that to happen. Often Tweets are merely replies to some other tweet which is pretty confusing if you haven't read the thread of the convo - mind you I am sure there is a way to do this - but being such a Twitter virgin I have yet to work out how to get to that base. Sure Stephen Fry is funny, and Catlin Moran is always worth following - but by and large it is full of waffle. Clearly I am missing something as it has millions of Tweeters and most internet savvy folk Tweet like their lives depended on it. Facebook feels like it has more room to communicate - whereas Twitter is 160 or broke. Less 'here are my holiday pics' and more 'this is my hilarious opinion on Piers Morgan' or in seleb land 'I just want to come across as all caring-like, so I'm gutted to hear that XYZ died yesterday...'

Will I stick with it? Doubt I'll ever get to the 'I Twitter therefore I am' stage - but I feel to dip out now would be dropping at the first hurdle. Deep down, I don't think it is for me - the technophobe. Frankly, it feels like hard work. Plus, I don't think I can scroll through a hundred posts of 'Husband did the washing today - Miracles!!!' before I come across a gem worth reading. * Pops over to Twitter in time to see my 24 followers feck off*

Thursday, 4 August 2011

A shameless begging post.

Ok, are you ready for some shameless begging? Good. Here goes: If you like this blog a little, even just a tad. If it has ever moved you, made you laugh out loud, mildly chuckle or weep like a baby - please vote for it. Tell all you know far and wide, about this and maybe, just maybe, something miraculous will happen in my tiny little life. Maybe just maybe, by all this paying it forward malarkey the universe will do some damn fine things. Who knows? But you gotta try eh?

Here it is:

You just go there and vote for me. CrummyMummywhodrinks. And I will be thanking you telepathically from the bottom of my rusty heart.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pulling at the jumper threads

Maybe they are just little ones. Meaningless, harmless slivers to simply go with the flow, not to offend: Yes, we are really enjoying the party even though our shoes are killing us, the food is inedible and the people attending are at best aloof, at worst obnoxious. But we smile and we even bust a move or two on the empty dancefloor, because to admit that this party we've been looking forward to forever, is in fact a damp squib and about as much fun as a visit to the smear test clinic, would somehow be too much to accept. Especially as we've forked out for a new dress, some lippy, six gins and a pricey cab home. Or we'll tell ourselves we aren't really cheating on our diet - how could a small cake-pop really hurt? It is so ickle? A quick run for the bus and we'd have worked it off. Maybe we'll lie to ourselves that it doesn't matter he forgot our anniversary, or that so and so never called back, or that the email we hoped to get from a colleague isn't that important after all.

Day in day out as we spin our webs of white threaded lies to other people: 'you've lost weight, no really you have,'; 'yes, I'd love to come,'; 'I'll call you - we must deffo meet up,' - I wonder what are the lies that we spin to ourselves?

Do you tell yourself you are happy, after all - got the house, the car, the kids, - but to maybe admit it aint all what it is cracked up to b,e would be to pull at the jumper thread, to unwind our entire lives - and then where would you be? Do you look at your other half and sometimes wonder why you are still standing there, facing them, facing a future together? I have one friend who claims she isn't sure she wants kids, stresses this every time we meet - that is why she has held off for so long she will say over and again - then will gladly accept ovulation sticks and spend 30 minutes carefully going through how to use them. She gives herself away in her actions, although her voice may something entirely different.

Actions rarely lie. Note the tight smiles, the vigorous nodding, the glimmers of sadness in the way a person holds themselves. The smile that never reaches the eyes. Do we admit that we are trapped in our jobs, that life didn't work out how we expected? Do we confess that we really don't like a sibling even though we love them, or that if we met our best friend in the street now for the first time that they wouldn't be a friend? Do we tell ourselves we are happy for people when inwardly we are a vivid shade of green? Do we fill our days with work and people so we can never face what really is bothering us deep within - if we stopped for just a second we may actually feel - and we can't have that. We can't open that door. Keep busy, keep busy. Do we plough on refusing to give up, because to do so would be to accept we aren't that talented after all? Do we buy the latest bag not because it 'feels so good', 'will last forever' but because it spells out 'wealth, success, status' and ultimately makes us feel 'better' than our friends? Do we secretly compete with other women - to be thinner, to be better dressed, to be a better mother, to be more successful - because that is all we know? Do we put on a performance, a mask that we have worn for so long we are scared to let it slip?

Do we say we are fine, because that is what you do, don't you? You don't say how you really feel, because no one is really interested. They want the stock 'yeah, I'm great' reply. They don't want let in. Easier on the outside. Do we keep to the friendship rules - the 'I'm always there if you need me' hoping that they will never call? Do we pretend to still love people even when we don't?

Why do we lie? What are we scared of? Our house of cards... will it really come tumbling down? But the sun will rise. It will be a new day. And we can begin the lies all over again.