Lend Me Your Ear

Today was the first day back at school. Exciting times! DD started Year 5. Year 5, people! Never mind that she’s still wearing AGE 5 clothing. Yes, the skirts are precariously short but the waist is just right 😀

We had an interesting chat on the way to school. DD has been aggressively campaigning to get her ears pierced. Husband and I have been dragging our heels. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know why! Because we’re party poopers?


With her favourite clip-on baubles

We decided when she was a baby that we weren’t going to pierce her ears without her consent, and now that she’s asking for it, we’re baulking. I don’t know if it’s just the implication that she’s growing up, or that part of me thinks it’s mutilating her (yes, I know I’m a hypocrite with my multiple ear piercings and tattoos, but hush!).

I thought stopping by the store where they do piercings and chatting with the piercer (is that a word?) would maybe put the fear into her, but no. I thought magnifying the pain and likening it to her recent earache would throw her off, but no. Baby Girl is hell bent on getting holes in her head!

I aired my concerns at the office today, expecting some support. What I got were horror stories of ears being pierced with needles, safety pins…and even a paper clip! They couldn’t understand why I was reluctant to take her to a licensed professional in a hygienic environment. When I type it out, I’m questioning me, too.

Despite our dithering, DD has saved up her pennies & pounds and she’s prepping her case to present to her father. I wish her luck as he is a terrifying interrogator on a good day. 

But her most compelling rebuttal so far has been:

“If you say I’m in control of my body, and I get to decide, then why are you making me justify this choice?”

Aaaaaargh. I have no come back. None! Have you? Am I just making a mountain out of a rite-of-passage molehill?

Amuse-Bouche #2

Where would I be without the wonders of #ArchiveDay, #WeekendBlogShare and #SundayBlogShare? I have truly enjoyed catching up with all the posts I didn’t get to read on my holidays (what is up with the WP reader on smartphones?!)…if you enjoyed my round-up in Amuse-Bouche #1, check out my recommendations for #2.

Baby Girl…you look fine – I do love Karen’s writing style. She tells it like it is.

Feeling like you’ve lost your inner child? Check out Amy’s post, Release the Child within. Or just imitate my daughter in Happy Holidays.

Suzie has some wise words about analysing and managing blog envy.

If summer has been a season of indulgence – try out Vicky’s Sugar-Free September group.

And if you’ve never used Craigslist, you might NEVER after reading Hollie’s epic posts.

PS If you’re on bloglovin, come say hello!

Sunday Funday

It’s been a quiet old Sunday. I spent a good chunk of today reading The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. I loved it. I loved the fallibility of all the characters, the back and forth, the tough choices, the different sides – so many stories, so many forks in the road to end up where they did. I needed a break from all the heavy stuff I’ve been reading recently, and this was perfect. Like a tall glass of sweet tea on a sticky, humid day.

Speaking of sticky and humid, I’m starting to worry about the holiday next month. Although the Breton Bestie has convinced me that there will be sea breezes, I am not convinced. One afternoon in London sunshine is enough to give me a raging case of heat rash; ten days in proper French sunshine? Lobster-red with tiny bumps of angry skin. Sod the Vitamin D, I will be SPF 50’d the whole way and spritzing myself in Evian.

bread-399286_1280The other worry – it’ll be my first trip to France since the coeliac death knell on all glutinous goods. What am I going to eat? Half the joy in going to France is all the bread and patisserie! It’s going to be odd eating cheese, meat and cornichons with no bread. No brioche or croissants for breakfast. No patisserie AT ALL. Never mind the supercilious looks I am going to get when I try to say, “Je suis allergique au blé”. Thank heavens for macarons. I can still eat those!

Which brings us round to to ‘beach body ready’ question. There seems to be a resurgence of the original posts from a couple of months ago, totally slamming the whole concept of the beach body premise. I have to admit, I am entertained. Mostly because in Europe as a whole, the concept of the ‘beach body’ is a whole lot more open to interpretation. I’ve seen old Sardinian men playing chess in the piazza in budgie smugglers (that’s banana hammocks to some folk), no worry about the sagging or hirsuteness. I’ve seen their wives in bikinis on the beach, their bodies testament to the many children they’ve borne and raised. Their main concern is if there’s enough to ‘mangia’ all day, and that the bambini are out of the worst of the sun. That’s not to say there aren’t stunning specimens in skimpy beachwear on European beaches, it’s just that on the whole, they appear to be in the minority and everyone just gets on with the sun-worshipping. 

Given what I said earlier about heat rash, I am clearly NOT going to be sun-worshipping. I will, however, be hanging out on the beach in the cooler hours, or going down the waterslides with my daughter (that’s a lie, but we’re going to pretend it’s a possibility). And for this, I will need to clad myself in something appropriate – enter all the amazing retro swimsuits I have been admiring, for women with curves. I’m going to pick some lovely jewel tones, channel Dior, slap on some large sunnies, and enjoy my vacay. My life is too darn short and bread-free to worry about what someone I might more than likely never see again thinks about the size of my derrière.

How has your weekend been? Read any good books lately? What do I need to have on my Kindle?

Back to Basics, or recovering from PTSD

When every day is a dance between hypervigilance, constant alertness, feeling jumpy, irritation & insomnia, committing to the basics and mastering the fundamentals of recovery can be hard. 

#panic #anxiety #PTSD

Nine years on, I still wait for the watershed that I believe is coming, that magical moment when I will be healed and whole. But it’s the hidden power of small choices, daily habits, and repeated actions that I make on a daily basis that are going to take me through to a new normal. 

I have to stop wasting hours of my life wondering about the ‘edge cases’. Edge cases are the what-ifs, the could-bes, the minor details — the things that have a 2 percent chance of happening, but mostly distract me from the real life I could be living the rest of the time. Keen eye for detail or inability to filter & block? 

I’ve become an obsessive planner, from someone that used to fly by the seat of my pants. I’m always trying to “get all my ducks in a row” or figure out “the right way to do this”, which gives me an easy ‘out’ of the hard decisions. Research & planning is only useful until it becomes a form of procrastination, or worst case, totally cripples you from taking any action. I used to be a doer rather than a researcher; I still bake like this, going on feel and sight rather than a recipe. I need to bring this back into the rest of my life. I don’t need any more time or better strategies. I’m good to go. Starting this blog was the first impulsive decision I’ve made in ages, and it was liberating.

Moving on, I need to do the real work and master the basics of figuring out and managing my triggers, minimising their impact on my life. Eventually, hopefully, shaking their hold on my life. It’s hard to say, “I’m focusing on the basics, but I haven’t made much progress yet.” A one-percent improvement isn’t note-worthy (or even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run, when you factor in the compounded effect of a thousand small adjustments and corrections. There is power in small wins and slow gains. I intend to own it.

Read the start of my journey here. Sign up on the right to read more Random Musings from Petal & Mortar!

Almost-New Year resolutions

I was so going to post yesterday. I really was! And then I got stuck into reading (decadence!) and researching and as my daughter succinctly put it,”Yeah, you got distracted and lost track of time.” Busted! (I didn’t add I was watching her Sea Monkeys get jiggy; I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a grandma soon!)

Anyway, back on track now….

I don’t really do resolutions. I do ideas of resolutions. It’s easier for me to stay focused on general concepts than one specific thing. It’s kind of how I cook, knit, craft…I’m always adapting (but I don’t mess with baking recipes). I’ve been inspired by all the great blog posts this month about resolutions, so here are some of my favourite ideas for this year….

Stick with the coaching: I’ve been working with the most amazing coach for the last 9 months. She’s made me dig deep & work through some really uncomfortable issues that I could easily have avoided for the next 20 years! But she’s also made me recognise my triggers, my values, my strengths. I can’t recommend her enough! (If you want her name, Contact Me; we use Skype for our sessions, so she is well equipped for international clients)

Catch up with friends & loved ones (face-to-face, if I can): we moved back to London almost 2 years ago, leaving behind good friends. Facebook & Twitter & emails help, but they’re not actual face time. My back-up plan is to send random I’m-thinking-of-you postcards because it gives me an excuse to indulge my stationery habit.

Use Yes & No with a bit more conviction: as a consultant who works on contract, turning down opportunities might mean that no one will ever ask me to do anything ever again! Ridiculous. Get ready to hear I’m-delighted-you-want-me-to-consult-but-I-am-fully-booked-until-(insert date)-Let’s-talk-again-then. Stretching myself thin just results in nasty panic attacks and a half-ar$ed job done. I will learn to say Yes to foods I haven’t tasted before, new coffee-shops, new sports…anything to step outside  the self-imposed barriers. Continue reading