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Archive for April, 2010

>My skills are superior…

>There’s nothing like a good bout of Sonic and Mario’s Winter Olympic Games on the Wii to get the blood pressure rising and the red mist descending. I have a reputation as something of a competitive sort which I know you may find hard to believe. Beneath the mild-mannered librarian exterior beats the heart of a raging warrior who DOES NOT like to lose. This competitive spirit is usually under control, but there is something about playing on the Wii which brings out my inner tiger. More specifically, it is downhill skiing and figure skating which turns me dizzy with rage.

Here I am, a grown woman, a sensible mother of one, stood in front of the television waving a Wii remote in an alarming manner. It’s downhill skiing. I am Blaze, attractive violet fox, catchphrase, “My skills are superior” uttered in a voice of throaty silk. I set off, the skis are flying and I’m looking good. Then it happens – I miss a sodding gate! Then another. My skills are quite clearly not superior and the rage is rising. O is watching my progress, giving me advice that I DO NOT need. As I fly past another gate, barrelling through a plume of heavy snow, I try to hold back the swearing and grit my teeth together like steel mesh.

“Mummy, you’ve missed another one. And another! You need to get back on the track! What are you doing?”

I’m just about managing to curtail my fizzing brain. I admit defeat and press the button which takes me back to the start. Cue the teasing from my dear son:

“Mummy, stop being a perfect Polly! You have to finish. Just cos you’re not going to be on the podium. Yes! Shadow wins again!”

I am not setting a good example to my boy as I rage at Wario and call him a gurning fool or slam down the Wii remote and mutter quiet oaths under my breath. I press the remote and select the next event. Figure skating! Yes! My forte – I can spin across that ice like Jayne Torville on speed. I might be a bad loser in the downhill, but I can show my boy the glory of a splendid victory celebration as Blaze takes out the rest of the competition during an exquisite Swan Lake performance in the ice dancing.

I punch the air and raise an elegant leg in pure triumph. See my triple lutz and weep, motherfuckers!

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>The thoughts of O, aged 5 and 3/4

>I’ve no broadband so I’m posting via my phone – so challenging, but couldn’t let the blog hiatus linger any longer. It’s been another long and difficult week in head injury land, but I’m not dwelling on it. Instead, here are a few random thoughts from my boy…

On seeing me cuddling the cat, with a look of pure jealousy flashing in his eyes: “Mummy, she is not a baby kitten. She is a cat and she is old. Stop cuddling her.”

To Friend from Way Back after leaving me in A&E with a skull fracture: “It’s a good job it happened now though and not when Mummy didn’t have any hair. It would have been even worse then.”

With anger and inconsolable tears in the cinema, thinking that his new favourite dragon was dead: “It isn’t going to be a happy ending. It’s horrible and just because it’s a kids film doesn’t mean it will all be fine.”

During a lazy Sunday morning cuddle: “When I am a big boy, I’ll still want snuggles with you and Daddy. Grown up boys are allowed to have snuggles aren’t they?”

After slurping a huge glass of apple juice down in one: “I felt that giving me power when it went in my tummy! Look how big my arms are now!

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>A Granny’s joy – Gallery Week 7

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It’s Gallery time again over at Tara’s Sticky Fingers – and this week the theme is joy. I am sure there are going to be some cracking posts submitted – I can’t wait to get reading. The Gallery is one of my favourite bits of the blogosphere – there is so much going on there!

So – joy. Of course it’s got to be a photograph of newborn O in the hospital. But not the one I pictured in my pre-birth dreams, the one where I’d given birth, he was handed to me and we had the precious picture taken, as he laid against me and started breastfeeding. I didn’t get that – he was whisked off to special care soon after being born, struggling to breathe after being born blue and with his cord wrapped twice around his neck.

I mourned this loss of the perfect bonding for a long time, but it’s OK now – I can talk about it without crying, because however traumatic his getting here, my little man is fine and dandy, bloody gorgeous and I celebrate his life every day. The older he gets, the more and more I love him.

My mum and dad came to see O when he was in special care and weren’t allowed to hold him, as he wasn’t well enough. I remember the look of longing and love in my mum’s eyes as she gazed at him in his little plastic cot and it will stay with me forever.

The picture I’ve chosen is of O and Mum. He’s two days old, out of special care and a healthy baby. The look on her face says it all – she is finally holding her precious grandson, he is fine and she is the happiest and most joyful Granny on earth.

 When I look at this picture I see in her eyes the love that my mum has for me and the very start of the special and enduring relationship between her and O. He adores his granny and when I was ill, she was the one who stood in for me during the really difficult times when I couldn’t be there and ensured that he was safe and loved through it all.

Thank you, Mum – for everything. Here’s to more joyful moments. xx

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I was tagged for this Kreativ Blogger award by Dara over at Readily A Parent and was giddy as a kipper as I’ve never done one of these before. Now I feel like a true bona fide blogger. Hurray!

In her post, in which she outs herself as a truly strange sort (!), Dara asked why Kreativ Blogger was spelt in this way. The librarian in me had to find out, so I had a quick look on t’internet. Apparently, the award started over at a Swedish blog called Husfruas Memoarer and the post with photographs of the making of the award is here. It is lovely to see it take shape.

Anyway, without further ado, as instructed, here are seven things you probably don’t know about me…

1. In 2002 the lead singer with The Strokes, Julian Casablancas and I had eye-sex as he wandered through the crowd under an umbrella at the Leeds Festival.

2. I paraglided off the top of a 6500 foot mountain at the age of 22 whilst on holiday in Turkey. It was utterly amazing and the single most daring thing I have ever done in my life. I admit jumping off the mountain was less scary than the prospect of driving back down it again. Those hairpin bends…

3. When I was ten, I used to get up at 6 o’clock every morning and dance to Wham!’s Make It Big album, before settling down to watch Open University programmes and wait for the newspaper to come through the letterbox. I was scared of the OU music and used to watch it with the sound turned down.

4. I have a secret passion for al fresco lovin’…

5. I have visited three dentists over the course of my life. Two of them died in tragic circumstances – just sayin’….

6. I was extremely nervous about swearing like a trooper during giving birth to little O back in 2004. Sadly, the most shameful thing that I uttered during my contractions according to my sister was ‘jeepers’. WTF?

7. I can write forwards with my right hand and backwards with my left at the same time. What is strange about it – I cannot remember how I found out I could.

And now I must tag seven other bloggers who I would like to give this award to. I choose the following bloggers whom I like to visit:

Mrs Worthington over at 2 teens a dog and me
Suzanne over at skyblueseaskybluesea
Miss Leslieanne at Kooky Boutique
Laura at Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? 
CateP at I’ll Think of A Title Later
Miss Searles at MissSearles
Geriatric Mummy at Musings of a Geriatric Mummy 

The rules of the award are these:

  1. Copy the award to your blog
  2. Insert a link to the person who nominated you
  3. Tell us seven things about yourself that you haven’t told us before
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers for the award
  5. Link to their blogs
  6. Tell the nominees about their award

Away you go, my fellow bloggers…

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    >Update on this life…

    >So, I’ve blogged since January and thought it might be time to do a ‘catch-up’ post, especially as I’ve been sore of head and wobbling about all over since the head injury. This has not been conducive to blogging in the slightest and I feel like I need to tie up a few loose ends. So, without further ado…


    Gurning. The gurning and strange voices of O continue apace and become ever more elaborate. I am at a loss to work out where the Birmingham accent has come from – “Naught-oi Dadd-oi”. This strange West Midlands lilt is accompanied by the lifting of one eyebrow and the sucking in of his ribs until he has what appears to be a 10-inch waist. He looks like a curly-haired version of Golum. It is very, very disconcerting, my pre-cccious…

    The shopping trolley. Oh, where to start? It has had several voyages up the hill to the local supermarket and I have loved every single one. I have not been heckled by teenagers as yet, which was my fear, and the elderly folk of the village look upon me with glad eyes. They must be delighted to see that one of the slightly-younger generation has taken up with a trolley. The joy of wheeling my goods down the hill after purchase is epic! O has taken me to task for being ‘too glamorous’ whilst wheeling, which I loved. His cry of “Stop being glamorous, Mummy!” is my favourite saying of this week. I urge you all to get a shopping trolley as soon as you can. You will not look back, my friends!

    The Cat’s Eye. She still is not out of the woods with the gammy eye, but the latest signs are good and following a last minute reprieve at the vet’s, she still has two to be going on with. I was worried about her sight, but after finding the remains of a blue-tit in the garden, I know she is still able to go about her evil cat-like business. I am happy that the Cat can see, yet feel bad for the birds of the area who are her targets. We are in for a busy few months in the bird-saving business…

    The cat flap. The Cat eventually got sorted with the cat flap. Sadly, she slithers through so slowly that the locking mechanism does not kick in and Swaggering Tom can just follow her in. This was not how it was supposed to be. Heroically, M came to the rescue by Blu-Tacing two ball-bearings to the inside of the flap. This works a treat, but is not aesthetically pleasing and the Cat resents the blobs as they stick to her fur. Hey-ho. Now that he cannot enter our house and eat all the Cat’s food, Swaggering Tom has taken to peeing against the catflap in a territorial manner. Will my cat-based traumas ever cease?

    Life in general is moving along, although I am getting bored with being skull fracture girl. I am still not allowed to drive due to dizziness from the concussion, which is frustrating. The DVLA are to send a form for me to fill in detailing my injuries and said that the GP had the final say on whether I was safe to drive. She said another week off, so I shall be working from home next week. I have just had a footy kick-around with O and M and there was a goal-mouth incident where I fell over into the fence. Obviously I am not quite ready to be whizzing my Skoda around the streets of West Yorkshire just yet…

    I feel all caught up now. I am less of a misery than I was last week, the sun is shining and the blossom trees in our little garden are starting to flower. I am eleven pounds lighter than I was when I first started this blog and I feel lighter in my mind too. Roll on next week!

    *punches air and falls over in a dizzy faint*

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    >Back in the bad old days of 2007 and 2008 when I was going through the torment of breast cancer treatment I needed something to take my mind off the general crappiness of life. I did not choose anything artistic, character-building, charitable, or anything particularly noble. I needed something that was completely unrelated to what was going on in real-life and that something was a television programme.
    That programme was Heroes, the hit American show about real people living ordinary lives with extraordinary powers. It was my salvation. I watched the show, I read the blogs, I goggled at the fanfiction, I downloaded the pictures and I immersed myself in this pretend world in order to save my sanity. I’d love to say that the only reasons for becoming so involved in this show were the marvellous writing and the wonderful production values, but of course my interest was somewhat more base.

    Ah – Nathan Petrelli, played by the glorious Adrian Pasdar. He was my not-so-secret passion and my poor chemo-addled brain was ‘slightly’ delirious for his manly charms. I spent many a happy evening Facebook chatting about the Pas with my Facebook Wife, Laura, she of AWNTYM-fame. She shared in my ramblings and even admitted her own unwholesome love of Boyd from Waking the Dead. For further information on this time, please just ask her about her feelings regarding beards, glitterballs and Shredded Wheat. I am sure she won’t mind me outing her in this public arena…*crosses fingers*

    The whole scenario came to a head when my ‘Friend from Way Back’ (who incidentally has a weird crush on Stefan Dennis, aka Paul from Neighbours) told me there was a Heroes promotional stand in the Halifax branch of Sainsbury’s. To be more specific, there was a lifesize cardboard cutout of Nathan Petrelli standing near the newspapers.

    Imagine my delight. I gathered O into the car and off we flew to Sainsbury’s. We entered with what I hoped was a nonchalant air and approached the Cardboard Pas. The following pictures were taken…

    This photograph I took myself, lurking behind the Cardboard Pasdar. Note my ridiculous expression, my just-growing-in tufty post-chemo hairdo and the alarming radiotherapy pinkness of my chest – ugh. But also note me and the Pas looking like long-lost lovers. His cardboard face DOES NOT look scared…

    This one is my lovely son, posing with the Cardboard Pas, following my instructions to smile. Note the Sainsbury’s man in the background, just behind the Cardboard Pas’s head. I think he might be wondering what the hell is going on. This is confirmed by the following which is a close-up of the Sainsbury man in the previous photo…

    He does not look impressed. In fact, he looks confused/bewildered/like he’s about to call security. After I’d taken these two photographs, we left Sainsbury’s and scuttled back to the car.

    Looking back at this whole episode, I would like to think that the crazy cancer world I was living in prompted this unseemly behaviour. Sadly, I know that this is a lie and if the Cardboard Pas was ever to visit Sainsbury’s again, I would be there like a shot!

    I would like to dedicate this entire post to Laura @ AWNTYM  for her friendship and humorous chatter that helped me through the bad times. She is a fantastic woman and life would be dull as ditchwater without her.

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    >Tara @ Sticky Fingers has given us a tough Gallery assignment this week. The theme is UGLYand I was really struggling to think of a photograph to fit the brief. Most of the photographs I’ve taken since O was born have been of O and my friends’ beautiful children and the great places we’ve all visited together, so no joy was to be had in the archives. I didn’t want to put a photo of me looking grim up as it would look as if I was touting for ‘no – you are beyootiful’ comments. However, I would welcome these if you feel like sending them.

    Then – it struck me exactly what should be the one. It was literally staring me in the face. O’s big brothers came to visit him yesterday. They are both in their mid-twenties and I’ve known them since they were six and eight. This makes me sound ancient, but I am nearer in age to Tiddles & Mosh than their father, so that’s OK – please don’t judge our May-to-December-type carry on!

    The boys, as small and big boys do (that’s Tiddles, Mosh & O), were rampaging and being generally very noisy, whilst Tiddles’ girlfriend, S and I discussed all manner of things, but mainly cats and their ailments (The Cat is still a two-eyed cat, by the way). Suddenly, Tiddles remembered something from his childhood, something I have tried to forget – the monstrous thing that lives in my kitchen at the very back of the work surface, under the window and hidden as best as I can manage…

    The CACTUS. This thing has lived in our house for over fifteen years, since it was purchased by the young Tiddles in his youth for 20p off some random market stall. It has survived being poked with pins by both older brothers, the brown tentacles of doom indicating where this abuse took place, and also survived my many attempts to discard it.

    This rancid beast of a plant is indestructible. The most disturbing thing about it is the fact that it intermittently ejects little baby cactii from its malevolent body and tries to spawn mini-Cactii of Doom. These cactii-offspring can be seen in the picture above, growing out of their vile parent’s shoots. If I find these spiny children, I bin them – the thought of more examples of this alien inhabiting my house makes me shudder.

    Sadly, this plant is here to stay. Tiddles is adamant that it represents a special part of his childhood – his quote is ‘if you kill it or get rid of it, a part of me will die too’. I feel that this is possibly an exaggeration, but dare not put it to the test. Even though I fear it may one day take over our village in a manner reminiscent of Day of the Triffids, I cannot kill it. I still have the paper angel that the young Tiddles made one Christmas and it still perches atop our tree every year. Who am I to say that the Cactus of Doom does not deserve the same sentimental treatment?

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