We are OK

Blogger friends, thanks for checking on social media. Husband, DD and I are all safe. Although we do go via Westminster at least twice a day four days a week, we were not there during the attack today. 

The Metropolitan police are amazing and are handling the situation. It is being treated as a terrorist incident.

Edited 7.46pm: I am awed and humbled by the service of the metropolitan police, including a good friend’s  husband, the first responders and everyone who is working to contain and stabilize London tonight. Traffic is moving, people are using the Tube. London stands together and we march on, even when we’re scared. 

Brain Dumping

The crazy in my life has been ramping up again. It goes in cycles and given my love of analytics, you think I’d have a chart or plan or something to prepare myself, but no, I just have lists. And lists of lists. And reminders that beep. And a brain that won’t quiet, so even when I’m sleeping, I’m doing things. Working through things. Making plans.

DD has been invited to dance with the degree level, pre-professional ballet dancers for the next 12 weeks, and then perform with them. It’s a huge deal. Ginormous. So of course she accepted. Which means she is now dancing 5 days a week and yours truly will be schlepping her across town. Tweak, adjust, diarise. Did I mention one of these days is Saturday? Who needs a life? I’m happy for her, so damn happy, but I’m so damn tired, too. And I only have one child. How do people do this with multiples?

The Brexit situation is still making me anxious, even though I know I’m not at risk. But how can I be quiet and smug when other dual citizenship families are? What kind of a person would that make me? So I tweet, and sign petitions, and find information, and share it. And stay emotionally involved, which is draining.

So here’s my challenge to myself today:

img_20160407_082421.jpg

An Apple A Day…

I went for a health screen the other week. I have a new life insurance plan which encourages me to engage with it; being fit and healthy drives down my premiums. Now given the fact that I live in central London, don’t have a car, and walk or bicycle everywhere, I like to think I’m pretty fit. However, I didn’t reckon with the utterly medieval height-weight-BMI calculation at the health screen.

Ya see, all that walking and biking builds muscle mass, so even though I am the same clothing size I was at 18 (granted, after childbirth, not all the pieces stack together neatly), the computer (and therefore, insurance company) now thinks I’m overweight. So until I get a Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA) done, to measure the ratio of fat to lean body mass, that number sticks. It’s on my file. All these years spent focusing on how I feel, how I’m managing my auto-immune condition, my PTSD – all meant nothing in light of that stupid number. But just for a second.

I had a choice: to let that number suddenly define me and erode years of hard work and body love, or reject it for what it is. A number. Just a number. A static snapshot of me on a particular day. I chose not to assign it any value in my life.

1461333_10202047343696158_6242111199162529909_nBecause I define my health by the overall picture – mind and body in tandem. How calm I am. How able I am to deal with stress at work. How long my auto-immune condition stays in remission. How mild the flare ups are. How much sleep I’m getting. How much my hip hurts. And so far, I’m winning. I feel good.

I choose this quote by Anne Lamott over that number every single day!

Wisdom from JRR Tolkien

​seen on a friend’s friend’s facebook page today…

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

-J.R.R Tolkien

#WhyIMarch Part 2

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We came. We roared. We cheered.

And we brought London to a standstill.

After rallying for hours in Trafalgar Square, I took away some action points from the march: to find someone I can nominate for the #AskHerToStand campaign (DD’s too young!), to find out if I can join the Women’s Equality Party as a non-voting resident, and figure out how best I can support Women’s Aid, an incredible charity supporting women and children escape and rebuild their lives after domestic abuse. My aim is to find a local section of the organisation, so I can volunteer time and effort, too, if needed.

Did you march, too? How did it go? Where were you? Let me know in the comments!

#whyimarch #womensmarchlondon #womensmarch

 

#WhyIMarch

Today is the second anniversary of this blog. And once again, I’m astounded I’m still here. Still writing. Still ranting. Not as much as I thought I would be, but recently, that has been a conscious choice.

I’ve taken a step away from my social media feed, which is starting to sound dangerously like an echo chamber. 2016 was the year for fun and games with the memes and the GIFs and the snappy comebacks, but the reality is, today, 20 days into 2017, across the pond, a strong nation, a great nation, unleashes upon itself a man and his cohort who believe they have a legitimate right to infringe upon human rights and freedoms in a way that I never thought possible in my lifetime. Here, in the UK, the Prime Minister performs an interesting dance between adviser and dictator, careening through the extrication of the UK from the EU with no real visible plan, just the conviction that ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

The real work of challenging these new realities is still to come. And it needs real talk and real action. I still don’t know how to engage with those who celebrate and support the politics of hate and fear and separation. I don’t know how I can understand or influence people so radically different to me in thought and belief. But I do know I can climb off the Pyramid of Hate.

whyimarchSo tomorrow, I march with DD. Because I have the glorious freedom to do so. Because I am not indifferent. Because I refuse to normalise wrong. Because silence never got us anywhere. Onwards and upwards!

#whyImarch #womensmarchlondon

Seeking Success

DD has been going through the rigmarole of senior school entrance tests. Each one tougher, more challenging. The beauty of living in London is all its opportunities. Including going up against the brightest and sharpest 10 and 11-year-olds the city has to offer. DD has two parents who never chose the path of least resistance, so why would she? She seems to be taking all this in her stride, but I honestly wonder, when does this end? To what end, all these tests? What life is she carving out for herself?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want my child to succeed. Succeed at being content. Healthy. With stable, supportive relationships. Enough money in the bank not to worry about paying the bills. Don’t we all want this for our children?

These lines by William Martin struck a particular chord with me:

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

What do you think?

I got 99 First World problems…

‘Tis the season for over-indulgence, as Husband and I were discussing the other day. We’re trying to get ski-fit for our holiday later this month, but Christmas parties keep getting in the way. Which made us think of how lucky we are, because we’re trying not to eat too much, as opposed to scrabbling for food and safety. Gives you pause, doesn’t it?

IMAG0415_1On the ski front, there is no snow yet where we’re going (France). After the freak cold front, we’ve had a freak warm front , and it looks like any hope I have of cross-country skiing are going out the window rather sharpish. So it looks like we’re just going to have to ice-skate and hang out and do family things. Ewwwwwww 😀 Perhaps now is a good time to teach DD to play poker?

And back in London, the Icelandic Yule lads are making their way down the mountain; the first one brought DD a fantastic new helmet – ya know, for all that snowboarding she’s probably not going to be doing? Perhaps she can invent a new sport? Riding the chair lift and coming back downhill on a cafeteria tray?

See what I mean about 99 first world problems?

How’s your holiday season panning out?

The day after…

​I’m reeling today, just like I was reeling after the Brexit referendum. But rather than lose all hope, I’m going to continue to be the change I want to see in the world. I’m going to continue to be the person I want my child to grow up to be. I’m going to cling to John Wesley’s words: 

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.

Danger Mouse

So yesterday, I was at a meeting at school first thing.

Then I came home and discovered husband had moved the mousetrap from near the kitchen bin to near the fireplace. So I phoned husband to ask him why he moved it.

He says he didn’t. I say, are you sure? He says, Yep.

So from my vantage point about twelve feet away, I pop my glasses back on and squint … and see a mouse in the mousetrap.

At this point, I climb onto a dining table chair and scream, “Get out, get OUT, GET OUT!!!!”

Husband is in hysterics on the other end, laughing so hard.

THE MOUSE GOT CAUGHT IN THE TRAP IN THE KITCHEN AND IT CRAWLED ITS WAY ACROSS THE DAMN FLOOR WITH THE TRAP, trying to get back to its hidey-hole. That is one super-mouse!

I got light-headed and seriously panicky, so I exiled myself from the house at husband’s request until he could come home after his meeting to get rid of it. (Husband knows the difference between normal anxiety and my anxiety, and that, my friends, is true love).

I went to a shopping centre, something I loathe almost as much as mice. I bought myself a winter coat since I didn’t have one. I ate some sweet potato mash. My galloping heart beat slowed down. Then husband called and said, I’m home but the mouse isn’t in the trap.

Boom, my heart rate ramped right up again! Stomach cramps. Sweaty palms.

mouseHusband tidied and eradicated any evidence of the mouse’s journey, but we are regarding the the fireplace very warily, in case the enraged mouse comes back in a bionic incarnation. We’re stomping around like ogres to pretend we’re not scared of the teeny-tiny (big, bad) mouse.

Turns out, Husband has murophobia, too. He just loves me that much that he’ll always deal with the mice. Awwwwwww.