Thursday 24 January 2008

I have a new set of pencils. Each one is lovingly inscribed with uplifting words. They probably came from a shop called 'Impossibly Cute Things That You Feel You NEED But Don't Really But What the Hell I'm Going to Buy It Anyway'. I think it's next to that other famous shop called 'You Can Never Have Enough Stationery' .
The words they've used are enough to send you off to a slumbery kind of fluffy world lined with soft cushions. They read ... Relax, Sleep, Dream, Create, Chill, Unwind.
They are clearly not my pencils. Mine would read ...Nag, Moan, Whinge, Comfort Eat, Put Another Wash On.
What would yours read ?

Sunday 20 January 2008

49 and counting

On the assumption that if I mention it often enough , it will come as no shock when it happens, I need to start writing about reaching 50 - there see - sounds like I have already . That wasn't too painful.

I've got 24 years of catching up to do as I'm still 26 in my head. The only difference is , when i get up from a chair now , it takes a few seconds of leaning to get the body tilting forward sufficiently to make a smooth getaway without looking like an arthritic old hag. I also know who Nobby Stiles is or was. But there have to be more advantages that that ?

Wisdom comes high on the list as does the ability to say no without having to make excuses. If I live to 80 then that gives me about 1500 weeks to go and as life's too short to accept invitations you don't want. A friend of mine has been life coaching on the etiquette of polite but firm refusals. The mantra you have to repeat , so that it trips off the tongue with ease , when asked to chair the PTA/run a committee/volunteer to clear up after a school event is ... 'I'm so sorry , I can't help you with that right now'.

Brief, polite, firm. What more could you want ? Don't fall into the trap of elaborating . Short , sweet and to the point . Keep it simple.

Which brings me nicely onto my next piece of wise advice. Devise a word to see you through the year . Mine is SIMPLIFY. So far so good. I'm so fed up with choice or rather too much of it. When I go to buy bread I want the choice to be brown or white or maybe sliced or unsliced. It doesn't need to include every form of international cuisine, shape, colour, size and flavouring . Today I saw a loaf described as slow baked. I really don't care how long it took them to bake it. I just want to get it home and eat it . How long they left it in the oven for is their problem.

Thursday 10 January 2008

Winter Blues

I've always thought March was the worst month of the year. It's still Winter and it's when we're most likely to get snow and everything still looks grey. This year I reckon January is the pits. Shops full of crap, house is a mess, although the children have gone back to school , which is at least one blessing, every task seems to take twice as long. You go out wearing jumpers and you sweat like crazy because everywhere's too hot which throws you . You daren't buy anything because the house is already full of too much stuff and anyway there's nothing decent in the shops to buy apart from stock they can't shift and the tail end detritus from the sales.And just when you get excited when you see a sign that says 50% off something you've been coveting you spot the small print which says up to 50% off and you realise that the thing you want is only 10% off. And you don't even need it. February is marginally worse what with all the Valentine's nonsense although thankfully only 28 or 29 days long. Then along comes March all full of the false promise of Spring and it snows. Or worse , it sort of snows but then disappears by the time the children get home from school. Give me September any day. Warm days, cool evenings, the promise of a snug winter , the children back to school at last ... oh ... and my birthday. Not looking forward to this year's though ... the big Five Oh. More of that later in the year no doubt.

Monday 7 January 2008

Growing Up

I remember vividly , as if only yesterday, lying on my bed as an 8 year old and wailing that I didn't ever want to grow up . Now history is repeating itself as I've just spent a tricky half hour re-assuring my own 8 year old that I understand how he feels and that growing up can be fun as well as sad. His little tear stained face made me want to weep. Red eyed and sobbing he trudged off back to bed clutching an eclectic selection of toys plucked from a basket that was destined for the charity shop... a small stuffed rabbit , a robot pencil sharpener and a set of alphabet stamps. Re-assurance that all of his old toys that we had passed on to younger children when he'd outgrown them , fell on deaf ears. The Leap Frog electronic reading tablet that went at the last car boot sale was lost forever and with it , he felt , a part of his childhood. Inconsolable . Now I realise why the ritual of sorting toys to pass on to charity or friends' children makes me SO anxious. I must attribute them with a little piece of my children's childhood soul which will now become lost forever. I've never been very good about dealing with change and growing up is the saddest kind of change. I never buy into the myth that growing up is all part of 'life's rich tapestry'. Who coined that ghastly phrase ? The minute I hear it I know I'm being persuaded to swallow some old guff. Fobbed off with a cliche because there's no decent alternative explanation. ... a bit like any sentence that begins with '... with all due respect' when you know damn well that no respect is involved whatsoever.

Anyway, he's finally settled, off to the land of nod clutching his little rabbit. Tomorrow it will all be forgotten, or will it ? Will he, in 40 years time, be writing some cyberblog or whatever equivalent has been invented by then, about the perils of growing up ? I hope I'm still alive to read it.

Sunday 6 January 2008

Identity Crisis

Had trouble signing in today > may have more to do with my age-related failing memory than anything personal , but my blog wouldn't recognise me. As if re-typing exactly the same information would change anything. I felt very indignant being told that I didn't exist. Finally twigged what my password was. May be because I've been a naughty blogger and haven't posted since before Christmas. This is their way of punishing me. i think the school exam boards are going to have to introduce a new GCSE - Password Remembering. I must have at least 20 now and each one is slightly different. Far from making life easy , it just means it takes a good 10 minutes to get to the point of recognition let alone undertake any transaction. Why not use the same one every time / Well I'm still paranoid that if someone discovers what my Golden Password is they'll be able to blog in my name, extract funds from my account ( or rather increase my overdrafts) order flowers and download tunes. What's a shedload of time wasting inconvenience compared to potential financial ruin ?
I returned from Christmas away to find two messages on my answering machine telling me that something little oik had tried to use my credit card over the festive period. Apparently they'd made 3 attempts to extract funds to bet online. The nice clever credit card people had decided that this apparently didn't fit my profile so they'd declined the transaction. How sweet . On paper , at least, I must not fit the betting personality profile. I wonder what they have me down as ? Probably a book buying, middle of the road music listening toy purchaser with an addiction for scrapbooking. The devil in me wants to go on a bender one day and spend spend spend at the races, a casino, maybe visit a Ladbokes or two then order a few hundred cases of Champagne and order some cigars from Cuba. Wonder what would happen and when I'd get the phonecall.