Lists, lists, lists

Like the average person on the street, I have a to-do list which asexually reproduces and multiplies. It’s the only explanation. I wish my bank account worked on the same principle. For every debit, I get two credits. Dreams, right?

I was starting to feel a bit crazy the other week. It felt like for every list I got on top of, another burgeoned sideways. And in my new spirit of ‘something’s-gotta-give-and-it’s-not-going-to-be-me’, I just stopped and took a breath. Channeled this prompt from Flow magazine. And moved on.

image

And guess what? The world didn’t end. Things still got done. And my sanity is still (mostly) intact.

Miracles DO happen!

 

X is for kisses

kissesAll kinds of kisses. Raspberry kisses reserved for baby tummies. Passionate kisses reserved for new loves. Familiar kisses for old loves. I-want-to-kill-you-for-leaving-a-red-sock-in-the-wash-but-I-Love-You-kid kisses. I’m-only-kissing-you-to-stay-in-your-good-books kisses. 

Today’s kisses are going to the locum doctor who heard my tale of woe and has given me a prescription for stronger steroids and antihistamines. I have taken the pill, applied the cream, and now, for the first time in two weeks, feel no pain. I don’t want to rip my face off any more! So kisses, doctor man, kisses. I almost didn’t take it because I mis-heard fexofenadine for fluoxetine – duh!

But no fluoxetine. Just fexofenadine. Simply typing these is making me dizzy.

What makes me less amused is the steroid cream for my red, itchy, welty hives. Its possible side effects include “skin irritation, e.g. redness, rash, itching or burning on application, or allergic inflammation of the skin (contact dermatitis)”. Oh, yay! But I’m not going to worry about that. I’m just going to look forward to a good night’s sleep.

Sidebar: There were a lot of X words to choose from, but none that didn’t make me scratch my head. 

 

 

 

The courage to be imperfect

wpid-img_20150825_141358.jpgIf you read my post Wholehearted last year, you will know that my favourite quotes and talks on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame come from Dr. Brené Brown, research professor and author of Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection and Rising Strong.

Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 19 million views.

Here are some of her quotes which really resonate with me:

The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.

‘Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.

I can encourage my daughter to love her body, but what really matters are the observations she makes about my relationship with my own body.

Are you a Brené Brown fan? Have you watched her TEDx talk? What did you believe about vulnerability and being vulnerable?

Unfriending

I’ve ummed and ahhed about writing this post. I really don’t know what good it’s going to do me, and I’m probably tired and emotional, but I sincerely hope y’all have some words of wisdom, advice or just plain tell me to snap out of it.

I’ll start at the beginning, because that’s as good a place as any. When we moved back to London almost three years ago, I left behind a few people I thought had become good friends with over the years. People whose kids were the same age as mine, people whose homes I had been in, girls nights shared, birth stories laughed over…you get the picture. People I thought I would stay friends with.

One friend has been good at staying in touch, and we’ve met up with the children as often as we can. The other two make it to London on a regular basis, often to what I consider my neck of the woods and I usually find out about it from Facebook, after the fact. Yesterday, I found out two of them were EIGHT minutes away from where I live, with their kids, sans spouses, so not ‘family time’ … and they hadn’t mentioned it. I hate Facebook updates.

I am at a loss. A total loss. I’m wondering if I just need to suck it up, put on my big girl pants, and unfriend/unfollow them on Facebook, so I don’t see the updates. I don’t work well in the grey zone. Why should I keep people in my life who clearly don’t want me in theirs? But I’m never sure of social media protocol. 

It sounds so ridiculous and self-indulgent when I type this out because I have people who love me, who text me, and write, and send silly gifts. Who check in on Instagram or this blog. Perhaps I am still physically & emotionally drained after the whole sickness debacle of the last five weeks (DD’s recovering well, by the way – thanks for all the good wishes). But rejection in any form and at any age SUCKS. And I’m feeling rejected and excluded. Rant over.

So, bloggy-verse, what do you think? What would you do, in my shoes?

Editors’s note: I’ve since had feedback. Yes, this is a one-sided post because it’s about my feelings and perceptions. No, I don’t expect a special trip to see me but yes, it hurts when you’re in my hood and I don’t have the chance to meet you and say hello. But I also now realise friendships evolve. Some regress to acquaintanceships. Or nothing at all. Which is sad, but more common than I realised.

I am felled…

sadness-451917_640I am exhausted with a lack of sleep and a surfeit of worry.

Four weeks ago, DD got norovirus. It was disgusting, noisy, and plain debilitating. She just about got over that, when two weeks ago, she got croup. Croup! At the age of nearly-ten. We soldiered on through that and the bone-chilling barking cough which accompanies it. She mustered on.

Two nights ago, she complained her throat was sore. I thought it was the usual mid-term slump kicking in and put her to sleep. She came to our bed in the middle of the night, begging for cuddles. She was absolutely burning up and within a few minutes of holding her, both of us were sweaty and gross. Down the hall I stumbled in search of paracetamol and ibuprofen. You think I’d learn to keep them in my night-stand by now!

She’s been in agony for two days, fighting the fever and not being able to swallow properly without severe pain. I know she’s just got to ride it out but it’s hard to tell her that. I’m her mother and I’m supposed to have magic skills which makes the pain go away, only I don’t, and I can’t. I’m struggling with my fallibility as much as I’m struggling with her pain.

This month has triggered memories of her early months, where we possibly spent more time in hospital than we did at home. When we functioned on adrenalin. When I squashed every emotion, every thought, every fear into a Pandora’s box. I’m ten years older, and hopefully a little wiser now, and I know the repercussions of those actions, but my instinct is to not voice my fear, in the hope that by not naming it, it will not escalate, and it will go away. Far, far away.

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.

Feeling the joy!

It is a fact universally acknowledged (within my circle of friends & family) that I love Yuletide. I love the lights, I love the music, I love the food. There is something indescribable which swoops over me every year, and calms the frenetic beating of my anxious heart. It infuses my baking. It makes me sing. It makes the crap grey London weather bearable. I don’t think I’d like to live in a world without ‘jól’.

This week included one fun work party (such good food!) and one Christingle concert. DD did some singing with some schoolmates – it was pretty amazing. Husband only slightly killed the mood by whispering, “Huh, give ’em pitchforks and they could stand in for the KKK,” when they held their lit candles in a circle round the congregation. Of course, I giggled. 

The rest of the time away from here I’ve spent crafting, knitting, baking, and showing admirable restraint when decorating the house.

What are you up to? What are your go-to holiday favourites?

IMAG0415_1

I recycled magazines into wrapping and gift envelopes!

IMAG0439

Husband made a tree! Every julepynt on it has a story.

IMAG0444

Sugar cookies with icing sugar say YULE

‘Tis the season of conflict

Sorry, folks. I’ve had enough. Every which way I turn, I’m being bombarded with another message or update of some disaster, man-made or otherwise. There are children freezing and IMAG0397starving, waiting to be allowed in to Europe, having left behind everything in the homelands. There are children freezing and starving in the UK, because the current party in power has made the poor, poorer and the
rich, richer. The shootings in Paris. The shootings in America. The floods in India. I’ve had to take a break from almost all media, social or otherwise, to not fall down a crazy panic-anxiety-depression spiral. I’ve been knitting myself calm. I’ve worked on my Pinterest Christmas board. I have drunk a LOT of herbal teas.

But I still get requests for aid in my inbox and by snail mail. And I feel guilt. So much guilt. For being able to afford a decent Christmas. For being able to afford to have a holiday at Christmas. For being safe. And warm. And I’ve had just about enough guilt now.

I love this time of year. I love the lights, and the silver and gold, and just the wonderful slow-down (in my family). We’ve never been big on the gift-giving tradition as a family, but when it comes to food and vegging out with movies, we do that like champs for the two weeks between 18 December and New Year’s Day. I cannot and will not give up my joy in these moments.

So what’s the alternative? I will continue to give to charity via my bank account every month, but this holiday season, DD & I have hatched more immediate & productive plan. DD gets a visit from the Icelandic Yule lads every night beginning on 12 December. They always leave her something little in her sock, like fun stickers, or a lip balm, or a bookmark. This year, we’re going to imitate the Yule lads. We’re going fill a box (or maybe boxes) with seasonal goodies (they have to be dried or canned, so we’ll have to get creative), and take it to our local food bank so another family can enjoy a good Christmas, too. I show my love by feeding people, so this idea makes perfect sense to me. Doesn’t charity begin at home?

How are you handling all the dire news? Do you ever feel completely helpless and hopeless about the state of the world? How do you put things in perspective for yourself? For your children?

One Week On…

It’s been a week since Friday 13 November. What a day, what a week. I have taken the last week off from most social media and news updates, and even took a break from reading blog posts from friends.

I just needed to re-group, pull myself together, and not fall down the spiral of thinking the world is a pretty horrific place. Yes, as humans, we do some pretty darn awful things to each other. But I have seen enough examples of goodness, kindness and humanity to resist tarring everyone with the same brush, and for my own sanity, needed to avoid seeing anything to the contrary. 

IMAG0337_2Naive? Perhaps. But it’s worked. I’m still a bit jumpy about leaving the house and acknowledging the possibility that London may be next, but on the whole, I’m OK. 

I’m facing forward to Thanksgiving/husband’s birthday and the start of Yuletide (which means baking goodies like these edible ornaments). And catching up on all the posts I’ve missed. Expect some seriously delayed comments!

Weekend Writing (or my weekly whinge)

I really didn’t want the last post I wrote to become a self-fulfilling prophecy – but it kinda has. Just a smidge. A teeny tiny widgeon.

It has rained non-stop for three days and a pluviophile I’m not, especially if I have to leave the house. I loathe being wet. My hair gets frizzy, my glasses get fogged up and smudgy, and there’s a generally lingering dampness around which just grates my gears. Grey is an accent colour, London, not something to colour winter with. Just sayin’. 

#bonfirenight #fireworks #nanowrimo #november #autumn

But I am grateful the rain let up for a few hours last night so we could watch the most fabulous Bonfire Night fireworks display at the park. It was spectacularificious! We stood there catching flies and cricking our necks, and then came home and had cherry Coke floats. (OK, that was just me.)

NaNoWriMo is kicking my pants in terms of wordage, but I’m actually fired up. I have notes, and scenes, and a timeline. Now I just have to get more sentences out and string all these things together and I’ll have a book-thingummy with about 50,000 words. Never underestimate latent Catholic guilt to spur you into action, as my husband always says. 

And I’m tired. Bone tired. Weary. My knees hurt. My back hurts. My wrist hurts. If this is what old age looks like, count me out. Actually, maybe I won’t have to do as much in my old age, because after this MBA, maybe I’ll earn so much money I’ll be able to employ me some hot young things to run errands, so maybe let’s leave old age on the table for a while.

Contributing to the dystopia is my precious DD, whom, in her usual charming way, has auditioned successfully for every darn activity which involves singing, dancing and a costume between now and Christmas. I have to come up with a Victorian lady-disguised-as-a-maid costume by next Monday. Now sensible me went to eBay, but silly me asked DD for her opinion. Of course, I got the lecture on how the fabric didn’t look authentic and could I not just whip her up one like I’ve always done? Sure. I was starting to feel decadent with six hours of sleep every night. No problem.

But in between all this whinging, I’ve found time to sneak in some red, green & gold bits. I’m rationing myself because we’ve still got Husband’s birthday aka Thanksgiving to come, but after that, it’s open season and the Yuletide is going to fart glitter all over me. Watch this space! Or not, in case you’re not a holiday person. Whatever. You have been warned!

How has your week been? 

Where’d I go? NaNoWriMo!

I’ve got the Dixie Chicks in my ears and I’ve plugged away for the last three nights to pull out 2050 words for NaNoWriMo. Nowhere near the 1667 per day recommendation, but 2050 more than I had three days ago, so I’m winning. 

It’s been a whirlwind week and I had to take yesterday off to rest myself and get over a serious case of tired-and-achey.

Thursday was a day off to do our dental and eye checks, and then DD and I had a delicious dim sum lunch before heading home to vegetate. By the time I woke up Friday morning, every bone in my body ached like I had been slammed into concrete. My toes felt broken. Not a good sign, as I was due to go to the long-anticipated U2 concert with BB, who was over from Paris. Soldiering on through the day, I was wiped by the time I got home to get ready to go out again. But go out we did, after a mini-meltdown. (Are you sensing my meltdowns seem to be occurring with almost precise regularity?)

#U2 #U2ietour2015U2 was nothing short of spectacular. Emotional. I found myself laughing and crying. Raw and exhilarated. Young and oh so very old. I was spent by the time I got home later that night (well, technically, VERY early the next morning).

Saturday was a day packed with errands and the annual greed-fest known as Halloween. DD went as the ghost of a Pink Lady from Grease. Don’t ask. It was creative of her; she tries so hard to be girly but she has a definite Goth edge. We walked around for over two hours before I lost the will to live and begged to go home. When do they get too old to trick or treat, or old enough to go by themselves?

I cannot for the life of me remember what we did on Sunday, other than troop out with half of London to see the Oxford Street lights go on that evening. It’s officially OK to talk about Christmas now. Just in time! I need something to look forward to, and distract me from waiting to hear about MBA applications. 

It feels like it’s going to be a rough month and I have no idea why. It could be because I am messing around with my eating habits, which triggers my other auto-immune condition. It’s just stupid, I know. I am learning to accept that some days, just getting out of bed is a victory. Some days I can fly and some days I have concrete blocks on my feet. I haven’t got the energy to do a root cause analysis. Perhaps NaNoWriMo will get me through the month?

How are you feeling? Are you doing NaNoWriMo or NaNoBloPo? Have you planned out and scheduled your posts?