Saturday, February 25, 2006

Well, it's been a great half-term! Ok, the weather could have been better especially in the first part of the week and K was ill Monday and Tuesday. But as always it's been great having the girls off school. I'm glad T will be visiting next week to stop me feeling so lonely when they are back at school.

On Wednesday K and her posse went to see "Chicken Little" so S and I went to see "Zathura" which we both really enjoyed. The prevailing theme of sibling rivalries really struck chords! S was so happy to have me all to myself. I wish my girls got on better! On Thursday we all went into Liverpool as two of the Everton Football Team were making an appearance at the Everton merchandise shop and K wanted to see them. We arrived in Liverpool around 11.30 and did some shopping (spending Christmas gift vouchers in Next!) K is getting interested in clothes OTHER than football shirts which is nice; she even picked out two t-shirts for S which she really liked. Then we headed to the Everton store where we exchanged K's Everton watch (which had never worked!) and then K took her place in the queue. We waited...we waited...we waited....Some 3 and a half hours later the two players arrived - her two favourites - she got her football signed; it took all of 30 seconds and we were out of there! They were extremely gorgeous, if I was twenty years younger...! I'd picked up a voucher for a free Costa coffee and I certainly needed it by then! When we got home K tried on her outfits; she looked amazing - a pocket Venus - she's so beautiful.

On Friday P got the day off and we all went to visit a friend and his daughter who were spending half-term in the Lakes. We spent some time at South Lakes Wild Animal Park which was well worth the trip. The highlights were the free-roaming lemurs and seeing Sumatran tigers climb to the top of poles to snag their raw meat! It was bitterly cold, however, the wind really cut through us all. We then headed to Tarn Hows for the guys to take evening light photos. The girls and I amused ourselves playing silly games in the car until we got too cold; then off we headed for a lovely Italian meal.

Tomorrow T is arriving and I've invited the grandparents round for Sunday dinner. A nice end to the holiday, I hope!

So another half-term is over. I am already looking forward to the Easter break. We didn't go ice-skating or swimming but other than that we did quite a lot of what we'd planned. We'll swim tomorrow morning instead.

I hope the girls have happy memories of their childhood. I enjoyed my life when I was a kid until things got bad between mum and dad but I don't remember doing a whole lot of "stuff" very often with my parents. We went to the cinema TWICE my entire childhood - once to see a Dr Dolittle film and once to see James Bond. Maybe that's why I love the cinema so much as an adult!

A while ago we were watching Madonna's video for "Hung Up" and I asked K if she wished she had Madonna for a mum (Madonna's 3 years older than me!) and she said no, it would be "embarrassing" to have a mum who looked and danced like Madonna! And here's me thinking everyone would like Madonna as a mum! Also, according to K, she exercises 5 hours a day in addition to everything else she does so when does she find time to be a proper mum!

I asked P this morning what he'd do with his wedding-ring if I died. Since our friend died earlier this month I've had constant dreams that I'm dying. Not unexpected really. Of course he wouldn't give me an answer!! I was telling T that I'm sure I wouldn't be as unselfish as most dying women seem to be - telling their spouses to remarry, not to be unhappy. I'd prefer at least 3 years of abject misery, please, P. What a selfish bitch I am! But death has come very close and I'm afraid. I really am afraid....

On a positive note AS has joined the site and uploaded some glorious landscapes. A, if you read this, email me PLEASE, I miss you!!

Now I'm off to bed!

Monday, February 20, 2006

It was a funny sort of weekend. I got very despondent over one member of the site removing their gallery and because of something that happened on ANOTHER site - go figure! ; however since Saturday we've had four new members which is good news. There are such good photos being uploaded - the quality is very high.

We managed a family walk on Saturday afternoon; it was a lot of fun but not really good light for photographs. Today was the first day of half-term and K had a sore throat! So instead of K and S going swimming while I had my class with Adam K stayed home in bed and Sian came along and watched me. The rest of the day was spent doing housework - shopping, ironing etc.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Right, today I'm going cold turkey from an addiction that's making me sad and angry and frustrated every day! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Let me share with you something that happened to me on Monday at the gym...

I had done my hour's aerobics with the lovely Adam and then 40 minutes in the gym. I was heading for the toning tables for my ten minutes wind-down with Hello magazine when a woman stopped me and said "It's my first time here!". I smiled and said "that's nice" and was moving on when she added " I was scared to come because I thought everybody here would have wonderful figures and then I saw you and I was so relieved...". I just stared at her. Then I said "Thanks for that; you have made me feel so much better about myself." I walked away as she started saying "I didn't mean...."

Now I know exactly what she means. When I joined the gym myself I was relieved to see a number of men and women of various ages and of various sizes alongside the lycra-clad goddesses but I would not have ever considered SAYING that to one of them. It's like meeting someone you've not seen for years and suddenly they are OLD - you don't say "My but you're so wrinkly/bald/scrawney". You don't go up to a woman at a party and say "I'm so glad you're here as that means I'm not the fattest person in the room". We are all usually too hard on ourselves anyway without someone putting into words how we feel.

People who know me know how phobic I am about getting my picture taken. I loathe my figure and my face, the only bits I really like are my hands and my feet. I get through life by avoiding mirrors and cameras and trusting in other people's good manners not to make me confront myself. It's pretty shallow really but it's one of my issues and i do fight against it. But that woman really hurt me. I really don't want to go back to the gym but I'm off there now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love and friendship - a poem by Emily Bronte

Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree—
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?

The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?

Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly's sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland green.

My lovely friend AS told me about this poem and it seems very appropriate for Valentine's Day. I like the value the poet puts on friendship and the constancy of friendship and I like the idea that though romantic love only lasts a short while friendship can endure through passage of time and through adversity. So Happy Valentine's Day to my best friend and husband, Phil, and to all my treasured friends wherever you are! My life would be empty and desolate without you!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Today was the funeral of our friend. There were such a lot of people there. I worked out last night that I had seen her perhaps 11 times, and I only really knew her after she got sick. But we never talked about her illness - and I could never think of her as being ill. I'm so sad that we never got to spend anymore time together. Our last meeting was postponed "until she felt better" and that time never came. I have the pudding she liked and that I made for her still in my freezer - I kept hoping. I will never forget her.

My life is the poorer now she has gone.

I never knew that so many people in my life could keep a secret!
I went down to Rayleigh on Saturday 4th February to visit T . We went into town to a kitchenware shop I like there and then when i went back I opened my suitcase. Under the top layer of clothes I found my passport. I felt sick. I thought " I'm going insane". My passport is always kept somewhere safe with my driving licence. I thought I was going senile. T passed me an envelope and said "read this" but I was so stunned I went off to the bathroom and pottered for a bit. When I came back and opened the envelope it was an itinery for a trip to Paris!! I have never been so surprised!!

We took the 8.01 Eurostar train from Waterloo station and reached Paris at lunch time. The hotel was lovely (although there was a moment of mild panic when we thought the two single beds could not be separted!!) and we dumped our stuff and headed off to the Eiffel Tower. It was quite mild so we left our coats behind! Silly us! It was bitterly cold up the tower. The views were great but it was a cloudy sort of day. Paris is a very neatly arranged city and looks very attractive from up high. Many of the buildings are light in colour and there are lots of trees - it must look wonderful when the trees are in leaf.

After coming down from the Tower we were frozen so abandoned the idea of going on a boat trip on the Seine in favour of returning to the hotel. We nipped into a patisserie and ordered two lovely cakes IN FRENCH - I was surprised by how much of my school French came back to me! We ate our cakes sitting on our beds then wrapped up and went out to Notre Dame which was beautiful. There was a lit up and decorated Christmas tree in front of it for some reason! The bells rang while we were there and I can see why Quasimodo was driven mad!

After that we wandered down the Seine to the Louvre. It was enormous! Courtyard after courtyard and we then saw the Pyramid which looked spectacular lit up and glowing. It was really quiet and T got some great photos. There was a couple having sex in full public view there too - we could hardly believe it!

Then we walked further along the river bank admiring the lights reflected in the water and enjoying the wonderful sights of the bridges and illuminated buildings.

Eventually we had dinner around the corner from the hotel and fell into bed and slept like logs.

We had a lovely breakfast before checking out of the hotel and leaving our luggage at the station. We then took a taxi to the Arc de Triomphe. The taxi driver spoke no English but was very jolly and very funny about the other road traffic the way taxi drivers everywhere are!

After visiting the Arc we took the boat trip which was very enjoyable if chilly.

Another trip on the Metro took us to Scare Coeur; up a large number of very steep steps! After that we had to head home. I stayed one more night at T's and spent Monday exploring a little seaside town nearby. I arrived home Tuesday evening.

I am so astonished that T thought this whole thing up and contrived to make it such a wonderful surprise. This weekend was arranged because Monday was her late partner's birthday, we had talked vaguely about going to Prague but nothing ever came of it. I'm overwhelmed. I'll never, ever forget it as long as I live!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's hard to think of anything apart from the terrible news we got on Thursday. My feelings seem mirrored by the grey cloud that's blanketing the skies and seems to stifle all impulses towards hope and optimism.

The only laugh I had was when I was talking to T about toilet paper that was supposed to be "fluffy" but wasn't - the way she said "fluffy" and the indignant note in her voice just cracked me up; I was actually crying with laughter. I'm off down south to visit T today; back on Tuesday. Was awake a lot of the night worrying about getting lost on the Underground LOL. Phil has just told me I'd be an idiot if I got lost as it's DEAD SIMPLE...hmm. We'll see.

Am really looking forward to seeing T again and having a couple of days "off duty" although of course I'll miss Phil and the girls. Kate read part of my last entry yesterday; thank goodness I'd said something nice about her! Her neck is still sore which is a worry. She was uncomfortable at school yesterday so I hope it improves over the weekend.

I guess I'd better finish getting dressed!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I haven't been able to get warm today plus I'm still so tired! Must be old age...

Kate was off school again but we had a nice morning (I was ironing) watching a TV show about the 40 most expensive, excessive things to spend money on. I enjoyed just spending time with her doing not very much. She is good company and her sense of the absurd really pleases and surprises me.

I had lunch with "the girls" which was fun although we froze walking to the pub. We hardly ever have lunch and it felt very decandent. I thought again about the importance of friendship and how it enriches life in a way i never considered when I was younger. I think I get the same kick out of making new friends that I used to get from that feeling somebody fancies you - maybe it's because no-one will EVER fancy me again - horrble thought! I watched a programme about the cookery writer Elizabeth David tonight and although men let her down and she never had kids, her friends and her sister kept her going when illness and despair threatened to destroy her.

I suppose a friendship is in a way the most flattering of relationships as it's based primarily on liking and is not coloured by family ties or desire or need. It still fills me with incredulity if someone likes me - then there's the fear that if they REALLY know me they won't like me...

Friends can make me feel better about just about every aspect of my life - sometimes I feel alone in my own mind consumed by my worries and fears and then someone else will voice or write the same thought and I'm not alone.

I read today that scientists have proved that passion can last no longer than two years. Interesting. It's all in the hormones - apparently after two years the love-molecules are replaced by "cuddle molecules" and this apparently isn't a bad thing. I'm going to write a letter of complaint to someone as P never got his share of "cuddle molecules".

So what happens to a couple after that initial two years. Are we just friends? No, I shouldn't say "just" friends after all I've written about the value of friendship. I think I'll leave that subject for tonight!

Only one day at work this week and it's the reading group tomorrow night. The book was so depressing I didn't want to think about it once I'd finished it much less discuss it! The writing was good - too good. The evocation of childhood holiday memories was exceptional. But the overall feeling of hopelessness left me lying in bed without any will or desire to get up. If I hadn't had an appointment i think I'd have pulled the covers over my head and howled. I've not read anything so miserable since a Stella Duffy book about a woman dying of cancer.

I enjoy the reading group but it's at the end of a long day so i'm always tired and it's sometimes hard to lead the discussions as well as I should especially now the group is so big and vocal! Will be interesting if the weekly group for people with mental health problems takes off.

Bed time. I love bedtime. I love that moment just before sleep with the whole night ahead of me as much as i hate that moment when I wake up to find it's ten minutes before the alarm goes off!