Quarantine

Credit: Simon Strandgaard

The excitement of the last few weeks and the events of last Friday have tipped DD over into a bout of shingles. Which means no school, no going outside, possibly not being a bridesmaid in a wedding. 

Day 1 of quarantine is begrudgingly done. I sense the next five days are going to be a challenge. She’s started a round of antivirals, and has dosed up with vitamins B & C. She’s pretending she doesn’t have a fever even though her cheeks are flushed and her eyes are glassy and she willingly took a nap this afternoon. 

However, she has her paternal grandmother visiting and this is good, because Granny has oodles of patience and entertainment up her sleeves. We’re going to need it!

A different kind of Monday

IMG_20150309_080451_editJust three short months ago, I wrote Oh, London, my London, and it hurt to write it.

But last Friday brought me to my knees. DD and her schoolmates had to walk out a back entrance of school, with news helicopters hovering overhead. She came home and just got into bed and watched the Gilmore Girls. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. Nothing felt like it made any sense.

On Saturday, the entire city was on high alert. I had to keep pushing the anxiety down as I took DD to her Saturday classes. Everyone made eye contact on the Tube – so unusual for Londoners. There was a visible police presence everywhere.

And today, I dropped DD to school, like lots of other parents. Except today, we’re acutely aware of what we almost lost on Friday. Of how tenuous our hold on life really is. It’s a little surreal. I feel like I’ve popped some fuzzy pills and they’re delaying all my reactions and responses.

Maybe tomorrow will be different.

Too damn close to home…

wtfY’all are used to me updating the blog or Twitter with “I’m safe, nowhere near the attack/bomb/insert London incident here”.

Not today. Not effing today. Today, I am smack in the middle of crazy central. But outside the cordon that has my daughter’s school in lockdown. Yes, my baby girl got to school just in time. Some of her friends were not so lucky. There were cuts and scrapes in the stampede to get off the train and out of the station. There were girls stuck in trains behind. Girls walking on tracks, once the power was cut.

And I have spent the best part of today, guts churning, trying to be helpful. Positive. Forward-planning. Reaching out to other parents. But DD’s school is coming out of lockdown and I am going to run up that road to collect her and try not to weep. I am going to hold her and cuddle her and kiss her until she begs for mercy.

And like every other parent at the school, I am going to have to muster the courage to send her off to school again on Monday.

Wish me luck!

Mid-year Madness

Last three days of school – announced at ear-splitting decibels – this morning. Seriously. This term has D…R…A…G…G…E…D on. Like molasses going uphill on a cold day. I am so ready for summer. DD is so ready for summer. Her teacher is so ready for summer (he told me so yesterday!). There’s been a bit of mean-girling this term, and I think all of us are at our wits’ end. One long-time friend told DD last week, “Let’s be friends at our new school till we make new friends, and then we can stop being friends.” DD told her they could get a jump on that plan and ease up on the friendship now. Didn’t mean she didn’t come home and cry a bit. Seriously, puberty starts a whole lot earlier these days. I remember scenarios like these, but I was in my teens.

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Surely we can survive on cake?

In other first world problems, my supermarket sent me a text to say my food order will not be delivered as planned at 6pm today due to operational issues. Now bearing in mind I did my food-shopping past 8pm drinking a glass of wine, do you actually think I remember what I ordered, and therefore need to replace? Are you kidding me? The best part of the weekly foodshop is the constant surprise – “I ordered that? Who in this house eats red pesto?”

Speaking of foreign goods which might not be available in the UK minus tariffs after March 2019, we’re still in no-mans-land on the Brexit issue. Everything seem to be hitting a wall – the wall of governmental incompetence. There are no clear plans, no clear talking points, no guarantees for Europeans, and the rhetoric just seems to be ramping up. The UK chief negotiator spent a grand total of a few hours in Brussels the other day – given that this is his ONLY job, I expected him to show a little more dedication. Silly me! So my new strategy is to avoid engaging the loonies on social media, and every time I really get mad, I memorise some French grammar.

I took 60 hours of intensive French (equivalent to A levels/AP French) over the last 6 weeks and let me tell ya, I’m in love. I’ve always adored French but never studied it officially. Learning it properly has just opened up my eyes. I can now read more, and speak and write, too. The South West of France won’t know what hit it next month. DD is learning with me. She will continue with Spanish in middle school, and add French in September, so she figured she’d get a jump-start on things. France has always been top on the list of places we could move, should we have to – we’re just being sensible, really. Husband is feeling horribly left out – he only speaks English and Scottish.

Soooooo, that’s where I’ve been and that’s where I’m going. Oh yeah, we also had the Canadian Crew visit after 7 years and the girls got on like a house on fire. There were many tears and strops every time they had to part. Hey, maybe I should start looking at Canada! They speak French and have socialised healthcare, right?

What are you up to? Read any good books lately? What should I load on my Kindle?

Saturday Thoughts

To my beautiful girl: 

It’s the start of a very long weekend. I’ve spent the last five hours watching you rehearse, taking copious notes for my backstage role. I am deeply grateful your newly broken-in ballet shoes, which went walkabout, re-appeared today. I know we’ve got a brand new back up pair, but they’re not the same. Your toes bear testament to the beating they’ve taken these last few months. Muscle fatigue seems to be your constant companion. You’re fuelling like an athlete. And you know what? You are. You are amazing and dedicated and I can’t wait to see you fly across that stage tomorrow. I’ll be the one dressed like a cat burglar, hiding in the wings, checking costumes, staunchly neutral and encouraging all, when inside, my heart will soar every time I see you pirouette. And yes, I will cry and blame it on my hayfever. Get over it. You are awesome. I love you.

Aspirations

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“Mum, when DJT isn’t President and it’s safe to go to America, can we go to Target?”

#lifegoalsย 

*She pronounced it Tar-jhay…

The Middle Ages

Dear Reader, if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you will have seen the luscious red velvet cupcake I posted a few days ago, to mark my turning a year older. Not wiser, or funnier, just older. One year short of I-think-I-might-be-grown-up-now.

Being the research ninja I am, I thought looking into the mid-life information on the interwebs might give me some pointers as to how best to blow through this next stage of life. Boy, was that a bad idea! It’s all insomnia and dipping oestrogen levels and visceral fat around organs and reduced muscle mass and bone loss and depression. Seriously?!

How about joy – I’ve finally got my head together (somewhat!)? Joy that I can share my wisdom (stop snickering!) with my daughter. Joy that I have more in my bank account now, than in my twenties, to buy all the books and drink all the coffee. Joy that I can afford all the nice gel insoles to support my falling arches and depleted knee joints. I’ve still got about thirty years of several careers to try out. Or I could just keep doing what I do, because I do it well. I love being a mentor. I’ve found my rhythm. I’m excited that DD is old enough for us to travel together and enjoy these years before she heads off to live her life.

IMG_20170422_132637_755So while I’m sure my oestrogen levels are going to drop, and I’m going to get crankier, and my widening middle is more down to my age than garment manufacturers ganging up against me, I still think I’ve got more fun to look forward to than behind me.

Like more red velvet cake. Nom nom nom.

Shoes to conquer the world

Supposedly, Marilyn Monroe said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

wp-image-1355870192jpg.jpgI’m inclined to agree with that. Up to about ten years ago, my shoes were vertiginous, multitudinous and splendorous. Seriously, I used to store most of them at work in a cupboard that was supposed to be dedicated to files (no guesses why my team was the first one to go paperless!).

But then my back started to give out. And then I tore my hip flexors twice. And then my spine started leaking fluid. And I wasn’t working in a fancy office any more, I was mostly working on a laptop from my fancy living room. So the fanciful shoes went, slowly but surely. They were replaced by many Converse variants (good for the school run), and wellies, and ankle boots with good arch support.

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Sole sisters (#mumjoke)

Approaching almost-forty, I don’t know if conquering the world is still on the menu (it sounds like a lot of work), but DD keeps ‘borrowing’ my shoes (permanently), which makes me think that perhaps it’s not the shoes, but the attitude with which you wear ’em.

 

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:

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