May 13, 2009

These Boots Were Made for Walking...

This site has moved and I will no longer be publishing on

Please update your links. I can now be found here.


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May 12, 2009


Comments are completely broken.

The server move isn't complete and I can't get an answer on when it will be done.

My day is packed.

There is a lot of noise in my life right now.

Inside I'm screaming.

Outside you can't even tell.

Hang in there while I work out what the fuck is going on.


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May 11, 2009


I had a post about the twins lined up for today, in an effort to pull myself up with my bootstraps, as well as updates on the book club read due this Friday and it being EDS month. I've been struggling this past week and I make no secret of that. I'm not proud of having problems, I don't think I'm lucky or privileged. Writing about mental illness is no easy thing, each and every post is a struggle to not oly be honest with you, but to be honest with myself. But if people come in here and make statements about my mental health that not only impact me but may impact someone who is reading and is feeling fragile, then that is not ok.

I don't normally respond to what I view is a fairly troll-y comment. But this one got to me. This time was just a little too personal.

There's been a side battle going on over something that's seriously a crying fucking shame. Yesterday K felt the need to comment on my site as someone else. Tha's a real blogging no-no, you do not pretend to be someone else, particularly someone else whose husband is battling cancer. But above all she felt the need to go after my mental health and my parenting by saying:

You really are a crazy nut ball. Amazing you were permitted to have children. And then that you didn't drown them as infants.


You can think I'm a crap parent if you want.

What you cannot do - what no one can do, ever - is question my children's safety with me.

Let me be perfectly, absolutely, crystal clear about this - my children are not now, never have been, and never will be in any danger from me. Ever. My single greatest priority in life is that my children have a safe, stable and secure childhood. They will not know of my mental health issues. They do not get exposed to anything apart from complete and total dedication and admiration. And yes, I am blowing my own trumpet here, but my vow is that my children will have a happy childhood that is so great they will take it for granted.

People can have mental illness. It doesn't always end with them drowning their children in bathtubs, nor is it something that gets run by the police who "allow people to have children". Some of us spend our time trying to get better so that we can ensure our children never go through the cycles that we went through.

I get it that K was acting out based on pain and upset and feelings of being witch-hunted, and I am genuinely sorry that people have "hunted" her based on her opinion about the side topic - she had an absolute right to ask the questions she did and I believe that. I have no problem with you, K, and am sorry your life has been hard (inlcuding, ironically, a suicide attempt that I would've thought made you understanding of mental illnes). I don't intend on spending any more thought on you than I already have. Yes, you hurt me with what you commented. Congratulations.

Me you can hurt.

My children you cannot.

No one can. Ever.


UPDATED - I understand this site is rejecting any and all comments, and that's not due to me closing things or due to spam filters. The good news is we think the instability is due to this site being moved over today to the new domain and server. Bear with me while we head for the newer pastures - fingers crossed the server move and re-design are complete and cooperating by tomorrow. If you want to comment, you can always email by clicking that big "Contact" button on the top toolbar, or else you can drop by the .eu site, which is running as well.

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May 08, 2009

Stay in the moment

London yesterday.

See my face in the glass of the tube. It is angular, my face. Lines and planes. Hair pulled back and shiny dangly earrings, not my norm but which I am trying to make it so. iPod in ears, songs playing haunting music (Pacem by Kathy Haggerty). Book idling on my lap - I am greatly enjoying it, but it takes concentration. In my handbag a small, hand-jotted list detailing things that I wanted to talk to him about.

My tube gets to the suburb early. I walk through the north London streets, not really sure who I am. My hair is escaping and floating around my face. I tuck it behind my ears and feel my feet on the ground, a connection.

When the time comes I go to his house. As I enter another one leaves and we do not make eye contact. Do not see me as I do not see you and together we can pretend none of this ever happened. I go up to the room. I sit. I talk.

His room is the one room where everything is safe and everything can be said with impunity. I lay my soul bare in that room, and every haunted image and darkened corridor is laid to light. He has a large stained glass sculpture in one of his windows of a fiery sunset. I stare at it often.

I do not lie to him.

I have never lied to him.

We talk and talk and talk. I do not cry but he does. He tells me that I lead a life of great stress - full time job, twins, renovations, fucked-up family, finances, health issues, a relationship, a traumatized childhood (his words). I tell him this is not stress, this is just life. I am stubborn. I will not concede this one. He says my bathtub actions of a week ago were the result of my nervous system saying Enough. Enough, do not give me anymore because I cannot take it.

My family we park. They are crazy today, they'll be crazy tomorrow. I hoped they would come round, like my father did, but it appears they will not. It is true - the babies have lots of love in their life. I won't expose them to instability, I fight too hard to keep this platform safe.

The winds are blowing. There is something that the sand of my fucked-up memory is uncovering. I tripped over it - I was walking through the corridors looking for stationary and there it was. I can almost see the tip of it. It is big. It is wrong. It is very, very wrong. Don't touch it, says my Couch Man. We will not deal with this now. Put the shovel down and leave it alone for now. We will get to it but not now. Not yet.

I don't remember anyway, I tell him. Because I don't.

What's happening to me? I ask.

Fix me, I beg.

Make it stop.

He talks to me. I am not broken, he tells me. I am a self. All selves are inherently good he tells me. I sense a philosopy discussion here. I will arm myself with Sartre and Rilke. They are cynics in sheep's clothing. He tells me that the self is always pure, that the mechnisms one develops to be safe are what get warped, twisted, and hateful. Even in the worst offenders the self is good, it's just pursued by packs of angry psyche.

He tells me I am a good person inside.

I am unconvinced.

He tells me we shall work on self. We shall work on control. We shall work on stress. We will work on ending ther neurosis. We will prove to me that what is inside me isn't black and infected and dead.

We have to meet more than once a month. He says this not to line his pockets as he's not like that. He tells me that I'm vulnerable. This is dangerous territory. We are meeting weekly now, and I will have to make cuts in our budget to accomplish me being so very screwed-up. This week everything broke - my watch. Alastair's watch. A glass. Our car. My mind.

I trust him.

He tells me that I can do this. That I love my children so absolutely that I will walk through fire to make myself right for them.

He knows me.

I trust him and tell him things that would send you fleeing from this website.


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May 07, 2009


A week ago I had a Very Bad Day.

Very Bad Days happen to everyone, I know. I'm the first to hold my hand up and say that my life, it's a bit of a roller coaster. When the cart is at the top of the hill and the wind is in my hair, then there is nothing that I cannot do, nothing that I cannot survive. And when the cart is headed for a trough in the coaster, my hair streaming behind me and my heart in my throat, all I can do is hang on and hope that the slope slows down and that I don't careen off the tracks.

I'm not sure what happened last Thursday on my Very Bad Day. I'm not sure really what triggered it, and I don't know how to prevent it from happening again. All I can tell you is this - Thursday evening I poured myself the hottest bath that I could stand. I was sobbing and trying to scrub my skin off because I felt there was no one I could be clean. I was sobbing and trying to jump out of myself with pure and utter desperation, an alcoholic off the wagon, a drug addict buying an illicit plastic packet. In the end the only thing that calmed me down was to sit there and violently shake my head from side to side as hard as I could. I did it for ages, sat in the hot steaming bathtub, crying.

There I was at the bottom of the roller coaster falling apart.

My therapist told me this next round of therapy would be harder. I can't really imagine anything harder than what I went through last time, to consider what difficulty means this time is rather destroying. But I roll my sleeves up. I nod. I accept that I've got work to do separating the wheat from the chaff inside of me.

My family has recently hit a point where the dust will settle and I will no longer take the map out, wondering which direction to go. My mother has moved from Dallas, packing everything up (including the Grandma) and moving to another state. She was reluctant to tell me where she was moving. No one told me my Grandma went, I had to do the investigating myself. My mother - in a very businesslike manner - informed me and my father that she would be shipping several boxes of my things to my father. I can't remember what those things might be. I've been thinking about those boxes a lot, wondering what part of my life is in there. A small part of me doesn't want to know. A larger part of me does. Perhaps it's irrelevant as my family had a massive falling out and I don't think the boxes will ever make their way to me, anyway. Maybe my mother never sent them. Maybe she threw them away.

My family moved away and now I know - I won't be going to Dallas again. I have nothing left there. My secret hopes of reconciliation are gone, that won't be happening. My Grandma's gone. Kim is dead. There is nothing in Dallas for me now but dust and dreams and the feel of copper under my fingertips. It's a finality, but a good one. That door closes and I'm good with that.

The family one is harder. I struggle with family. Six letters in a word that defines so many of us. Six letters. The same amount of letters as strong. As misery. As depend. So many people read here that are estranged from their families, and I don't know if it's because as a unit, we no longer need family in the way that generations past did. Maybe the internet calls lost souls to it like a siren call, and we all congregate together and feel better for being one of Those People, the bad ones that have split families.

My sister and her husband have blocked all contact with me, but I don't really care. Not anymore. I don't actually expect I'll ever see her again, not even at family funerals (apart from my father's, when no doubt she'll be tetchy about inheritances and such). We were close, once, but that closeness did not hold. She is not my family, not anymore, not ever again.

I had hopes for my mother and I, but too much has happened. The latest is too much. I wanted her to be a part of Nick and Nora's lives, but I don't think that will happen. I wish I was better at this. I wish I was a better person. I sent some emails a few weeks ago out of sheer exasperation and hopes that we could be united for 5 children. They backfired in a way I could never have anticipated. I give up. I'm not going to try anymore. This is the way it's going to be.

I've had my anti-depressant medication adjusted. Tonight I trek into London to be therapatized. I am so looking forward to it while dreading it at the same time. Alastair and I have been talking about it a lot, and I am really having a harder time of it this time round. I feel somehow more exposed, more raw, more vulnerable.

I will put my soul to the side because I don't need it right now, and deal with everything else.


PS-Secret Scripture Book Review next Friday. Be there or be square. You don't need to have finished the book, either. I'm going to gather up questions for it now, so please email/comment on what questions you have for the book club.

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May 06, 2009

How to pass time in a conference call

Statia [14:22]:
Hola hot bed rest mama
Statia [14:27]:
i went into Mini's room
this morning
he was asleep
butt up in the air
hugging his sheep
i thought you'd like that
I love that.
Photo would have been welcome
And you could've used it on his prom night, too.
Statia [14:30]:
yeah, unfortunately a flash would have scared the shit out of him in his dark room
is it about his mental well-being or my humor, though?
I mean, honestly.
Some people.
It's clear you only have his best interests at heart.
And what about me?
Statia [14:31]:
oh, i see how it is.
i think we know the real truth
it's about me.
There's a woman [who works with Alastair]. She's married to a dwarf. I can't get past my obscene fascination.
Statia [14:35]:
you want porn pictures, don't you?
admit it.
because you're lying if you say that's not the first thing that came to mind
I'd pay good money to see a little midget bowling.
If you name your kids Moses and Obadiah I think I'd have to sucker punch you.
Only because I care.
Nothing says "I'm spending my afternoon finding Jesus" than the names Moses and Obadiah.
Statia [14:47]:
it would be forbidden
religious names are forbidden in this house
We work on exactly the same principles.
Now, if you name your kids "Satan" and "Jesus" and didn't pronounce it Hay-SOOOS then we'd also have to talk.
Wow, PMS has me so morally superior today. Sorry about that.
Statia [14:48]:
i prefer my yuppie precocious names
that say
"i'm original"
just like everyone else
Like "Pahtryck"?
Statia [14:48]:
fuck vowels
I love a name that would fuck you during Wheel of Fortune.
Statia [14:49]:
my parrot thought that was funny
I felt that one was sphincter-tightening funny.
Statia [14:51]:
i think i get fisted today
Oh excellent. Will you lay back and think of England?
Statia [14:52]:
yes, the English countryside is always what I think of when I have a fist up my vagina
I knew you were an Anglophile.
What are they doing? Looking for gold?
Statia [14:53]:
no, they'll check for dilation
but I've been contracting a lot
more than with Mini
it could just be
that my uterus is in sadder shape
With your luck you'll deliver the baby within 4 minutes on the kitchen floor and the Meester will have to keep the dogs away from the placenta.
(That oughta' get me off the Christmas card list, eh?)
That won't happen.
Statia [14:56]:
hey, if Miss M wants to eat it, more power to her
she'd better fucking lick the floor clean
and not puke afterwards
I can see it now:
"It's coming back up! Throw her outside! Throw her outside NOW!"
Statia [14:57]:
and then we'll plant a tree in that spot.
which you'll dance around under every other full moon.
Statia [14:57]:
unless of course it's on the DECK
in which case I'm thinking pressure washer.
Man, the temptation to publish this IM conversation is fierce.
Statia [14:59]:
go for it.

God I love having friends who are no-holds barred.


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May 05, 2009

And the thing is...

To My Babies -

Last night I woke myself up shouting a number of times. I dreamt bad things were happening to you. My final dream this morning was the greatest of nightmares - I dreamt that you passed away and I was sorting through boxes of your clothes, unable to give anything away. I was shouting again and when I woke up I thought my nightmare was real for a few moments, and for those moments I lost more of myself than I ever thought possible. For those moments I didn't see any point in even getting out of bed. For those moments I didn't see any point to anything.

I had a rough week last week but the most important part of it all to me was that you never saw it. On Thursday night I had a very bad night indeed, but as I took a bath and tried to soak it all away I was so, so conscious that you were on the other side of that bathroom wall, sleeping snug in your cots, and there was no question in my mind that I would simply get on with things because you are there and you need me. You are one of the greatest motivators for me to be human, my Lemonheads.

The truth is, there is nothing I wouldn't do for you.

Read you the same book 100 times.

Play horsey with you until my legs are burning.

Do round and round the garden until your hands are so tickling that you can't stand it.

But above all, I want to be the safest, warmest, most whole environment you can imagine. I want you to have a lovely childhood that you can someday take for granted. I want you to feel secure at every minute of every day.

I will make mistakes. I know I will. But when I make a mistake I will sit down on the floor with you and I will tell you that I love you and that I am sorry. I will admit my wrongs and we can work on making things right. I know I will screw up. It will hurt us both when I do. I'm already sorry for that. I'm pre-asking for your forgiveness.

You give me more than I can ever tell you. My beautiful girl, the way you see the world makes me see it all over again. Your facial expressions slay me, and this morning when you said "Papa" for the first time on Skype to your Papa, I'm not sure who was more proud, him or me. My beautiful boy, the way that you stay awake in bed for me to come do our ritual is so special to me. Your sister will fall asleep and you wait for me. When I come into your room I break our rules and pick you up and hold you up to the twinkling fairy lights. I kiss your neck and tell your spellbound face to say goodnight to the lights. When I put you back to bed you usually go to sleep right away.

I wonder if you know how much I want for you. I want everything for you, but above all things I want you to be happy and secure. I will be here for you forever, nothing will ever make me leave.

My baby boy, it's like I whisper to you every time you cry when I leave the room. When I come back into the room and pick you up and wipe your tears away I lean into your ear and whisper "It's ok, baby. Mummies don't leave, sweetheart."

Mummies don't leave.

Not this one.

Not ever.


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May 01, 2009

You're Sick of the Short Ones, Right?

Never fear. Very soon I'll tell you about the night I very nearly went round the twist. It's otherwise known as "last night". It's going down in legend.

Anyway - the site should be up and running in the next 5 days. In the meantime, I'll be posting here and on the temp URL I had yesterday, so you can go to either site until the .net site is working.

In the meantime, I have a favor.

No wait - I have two.

If you see any ads on my site, if you could click them that would be good. I'm not trying to sell anything, or have spam downloaded on your pc, or trying to suck your brains out of your head with a straw (because I'm a veggie). It does mean ad revenue for me, which these days doesn't even get me nappies throughout the month, but if I'm lucky it can get me a diner cup of coffee. So many thanks if you can clickify.

Secondly, I'm again up for an award. I know I won't win, and that's ok, but I am generally running around living only to serve, so if you wanted to vote for me that would be ok. My ego would appreciate it. I'm not going to be the Hottest Mama, but I'll be brutally honest here - I want to get more votes than another blogger nominated in the category, one who makes me want to stab my eyes out with hot pokers.

My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!

I don't want to win, I just want to embrace my pettiness for a moment.

Oh, and third (hey, I'm a liar and a would-be Hot Mommy Blogger) - Sarah got my attention on this link. Read. Wet yourself laughing. You won't regret it.


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April 30, 2009

Slight Glitch

Ok - from (hopefully) tomorrow you should be able to access my site using this address. If you click on it right now it'll just take you back to this site, so sit tight. All of my ads, etc, are linked to that address and as the coffers are seriously empty, ad revenue will be welcomed on the .net address.

But if you want to see the new site, you can also check it here.


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April 29, 2009


Much happening at our Casa, so this one is shorter than short. To summarize:

1) The Book People - my other lover. I cannot live without them. The babies cannot live without them. I have a sneaking suspicion that the books, they fall off the backs of trucks. I'm ok with that. My morals, when it comes to literature, are decidedly flexible.

2) Speaking of books, who's in for reviewing The Secret Scripture? Suggestions welcome on a good way of handling this, and as ever I'm on GoodReads and, as I'm a bit of a book whore, delighted to link to anyone who's remotely interested in books, book recommendations, or what drivel I'm reading. I actually enjoyed reading something I normally wouldn't have, and think if we have people who are reading this too, apart from myself and the lovely MsPrufrock, then we can make a go of this. If you've read the book and want to participate, then send me an email or leave a message in the comments.

3) What was that? Can't comment? Oh, don't worry then. As of today/tomorrow, my new digs open (the transfer is going on sometime today, so you may stumble upon the new sight quite suddenly!). Alastair has outdone himself. It loads like lightening, you'll be able to comment, all comments will remain open as I have tighter spam control, and I am absolutely in love with it. Final preps going on as I type this.

Say goodbye to this site as you've known it. It's been wonderful and I'm still (after all these years) slightly in love with the header with the big red heart. I've done a lot of growing here. But the time has come to go. Come with me?


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April 28, 2009

Upkeep - ignore this one2

Technorati Profile

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Upkeep - ignore this one

Technorati Profile

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April 27, 2009


I'll take just a moment to recap, because nothing sucks more than hearing about a party that you didn't attend, but the weekend was huge fun. We all had entirely too much wine (14 bottles, not including the daquiris, beer, and Muscat with dessert) and got very little sleep (I am old. Going to bed at 3:30 takes it out of you.) Hangovers aside, everyone turned up Sunday morning in their p.j.s and we all sat on the deck in the sun, recovering and chilling.

I have photos.

Let's start the bidding at £1.

Alastair made a stunning amount of food - crudites, broad bean dip, bleu cheese dip (I made that one), his homemade pita breads, a stunning Beef Wellington, and his homemade bagels and a full-cooked breakfast on Sunday. The boy outdid himself.

As for the company - May and her husband H are charming and May has without question the best stories of family that I have ever heard in my life. I think we need to beg her to write a book based on them, it'll make Augusten Burroughs look like the Cleaver family.

BeeCee and her husband Mr. BTC? Fantastic. She's like the sister you never had and he's so funny, absolutely devoted to her, and the next time I see him I am stealing his glasses because I love the frames so much.

HFF is the woman you can tell everything to. She's the one you want to ring in a crisis or for help choosing wedding dresses. She got a night of sleep to herself (hooray!) and brought the biggest egg I've ever seen in my life. I'm wondering about the size of the chicken (Alastair says it's a goose egg. I'm sticking to my chicken-on-steroids story.)


Sometimes you meet some people that you get on with ok.

The bloggers and their husbands I met this weekend were not among them.

Instead, they were people I genuinely liked and would love to have them back.

(Although next time the men had better clean up after themselves. I mean, sure, we said it was ok for them to try on all of our ballgowns and such, but the least they could have done was hang the dresses back up after wearing them. Sheesh.)


I have been wanting a chaise longue for ages. Ages. They're fairly expensive and I'm the only one in the family who's keen on them. I want one for the corner of our bedroom, where I have dreamy ideas of sitting on the longue and reading a book under a thick blanket on a winter's night. I've ben watching them on ebay for absolutely ages and last night I put in a lotsnipe bid on one nearby and went to bed. New ones go for a starting price of £400. This one was "gently used" and, after being beaten on other ones by bidders who went to £150 and up, I figured I would have to continue watching chaise longues.

This morning I found out the results.

Because this was a newbie ebayer, I won the chaise longue for the whopping price of £20.



I've taken on board the comments that is a vicious angry kid who won't let commenters play in the sandpit. Alastair and I are moving the site to a new server (and by "Alastair and I" I mean "Alastair" because I don't know my ass from my elbow in HTML land) and it's getting a new place to stay and a new look. We hope to have it up and running in a week, at which point your commenting should be problem free.

Hope that gives you incentive to leave a few!


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April 24, 2009

We're Having a Key Party!

Where: Casa de Shannon
What: A Key Party, so bring your masks and your vodka!
When: This Saturday!

Wait - hang on. Must consult diary again. Right, this Saturday is the 25th, and...

Oh crap.

Key Party is next weekend. My bad.

Right, now that I've chased my guests off (kidding about the key party! No really!), here at Casa de Shannon, we're doing something we've never done before - we're having a dinner party (one not related to Christmas or Thanksgiving). Our guests are staying over, so that they can imbibe freely and then not because a statistic on the motorways. Our guests are getting huge quantities of food and alcohol and snacks and even a full breakfast complete with Alastair's homemade bagels.

And our guests are bloggers.

I know. When I throw off the mantle I really throw it off.

It's true I'm a private person. I recently revealed my identity, which was hard and still has me feeling indescribably vulnerable. And now I'm having bloggers over. To my house.

I'm not sure what I'm more shocked about - the fact that I invited people round or the fact that they said yes. Why would anyone want to say yes? Is it the free booze? It's the free booze, isn't it. And yes we will be serving self-esteem as a side dish tomorrow night.

The good news is, they can prove I am real. They'll be able to state categorically that yes, Shannon really is Shannon. The pictures she posts of the house really are her home, albeit it's way messier in real life than she posts. And not just that - they'll be around Nick and Nora, too.

I was surprised myself at this. Since outing ourselves, I still get shocks at seeing our names in print. But in some ways it's liberating - I no longer care that my wishlist says "Shannon" on it. We've discussed it and if/when we ever actually getting around to getting married, we'll broadcast it on webcam in case anyone has a few minutes on their hands and wants to watch, too. It can have its good sides, even if it is still a bit nerve-wracking.

I met a number of lovely ladies a few months ago - HFF, May, MrsPruFrock, and Thalia. They were lovely ladies and I felt really comfortable around them. Alastair and I discussed it and, seeing as he understands that I am a total loser who has very few IRL friends, we came up with the idea of inviting a few round for dinner. And since we're semi-rural, that maybe they should stay over.

Seeing as Thalia's heavily pregnant and likely not interested in a trek to the middle of nowhere, and MrsPrufrock's Dude just had major hip surgery, I figured they wouldn't want to attend (so don't be angry, as I would love to have all of us out here again. You can pet some cows. Cows are cute.) So HFF, May, and the lovely BeeCee are coming out tomorrow, with BeeCee's and May's husbands.

Alastair had some initial trepidation.

Him: Who are you inviting?
Me: Well, Hairy Farmer Family, Nuts in May, and Definition of Insanity. The other two ladies are likely unable to attend due to health reasons.
Him: What are their names again?
Me: Hairy Farmer Family, Nuts in May, and Defintion of Insanity.
Him: (Long pause) Those are their names? What, did their mothers hate them?

We're looking forward to having people over.

They will be shocked at just how boring we really are.

They will equally (hopefully) be shocked at the spread we're preparing, because we love having people over for dinner.

And we promise - no key parties. The 70's should be allowed to rest in peace.


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April 23, 2009

How To Build a Deck

Take a great big fuck off hole.


And a boring as hell former paved area.


Enlist child labor.


No, not that child.


Make it all level.


Get in small rainforest worth of wood.


Ready, steady, go!


Decide to build a pergola into the deck (ergo the two upright poles. Man there are a lot of puns in that last statement.)


Enlist child labor again.


Keep going.


And going.


Until it starts to resemble something.


Stop to paint the wall with some helpers


as the cement on the foundations of the smaller deck dry.


We're* not finished yet, but it's already being enjoyed by the Lemonheads and we think it looks a lot nicer than the mismatched, aged paving stones that used to be out there.



* When I say "we" I mean "Alastair". Courtesy of wrist injuries I have not done a single thing in building the deck, it's all him and Jeff. He designed it, shaped it, and built every single square inch of it himself.

PS-sorry, meant to say that in Alastair's birthday post, the wavy metal thing is indeed a trivet - it's a cake cooling rack. My man, he's a rocking good baker.

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April 22, 2009


I had a photo taken of me recently, one in which I'm sat on the couch in the conservatory of Alastair's mum's house. One one side of me is Nora, on the other Nick. They are looking away and I am looking at the camera and the bags and wrinkles under my eyes are prominent.

I have recently begun to notice that I am getting older.


I am aging, and it's showing up. This is corresponding with the very real and swift acceptance that I am an adult. I'm a grown-up dealing with grown-up things in a grown-up world.

This doesn't have to do with paying bills. I've done that since I was 17. It's not about budgeting a paycheck and planning the deductions ahead of time. It's not gassing the car or painting a wall. It's not in car insurance or health records. It's not the lack of being carded when I buy alcohol, it's not that people occasionally call me "ma'am". It's not even about going to work, I've been doing that for 21 years now (how shocking to write, shocking to read).

It's not even a feeling. It's like I'm a curio cabinet, you open the doors and there on the shelf is a small urn labelled "Adult". The urn is surrounded by bits of ephemera - a piece of sea polished glass. A feather. A tiny plastic bracelet. It's replaced the urn labelled "Child", which I suspect was never really in there. I think it was empty in there in the beginning. I think there was nothing in me back then.

Those things, they're all responsibilities. There's something more to this, something with more gravitas. It's not having children, any teenager can pull that off. Yes, an element of being an adult has to do with Monday - the nursery called, Nora was ill. I went and got her, gave her some medication, and then flipped my work "Open" sign to "Closed" and took a long nap with her, curled up beside her and fussing over her to make sure her body temperature was right. There is a part of being an adult to that.

But that's not really it. I think it's more about being weary, to some extent. You operate on less sleep than you would like. It's about routines - you write a blog post at 9 am, you drink two cups of coffee before 8, you sit in rush hour traffic at 8:15. It's about being precious about things - you like the granite countertop to be wiped whenever you see a ring on it. You want the dishwasher to be emptied when the cycle is done. You like the bed to be made when the last person exits it.

I see things that make me understand that I'm an adult. A while back a blogger lost her triplets. This week another blogger's daughter passed away. Yet another blogger faced down the anniversary of his wife's death, which happened one day after their daughter's birth. The news keep bringing up Baby P, which is still an incredibly painful story after all this time. And our friend is still hoping to keep hold of his foster daughter, to be able to keep her safe and loved.

Maybe that's what it is. You see rebels shifting people from parts of their countries, their homes. You see children beaten, starved, abandoned. You see earthquakes burying people in mountains of rubble. You see your family being a dick about things because that's all they know how to be. You see the unemployment figures soaring and the house prices plummeting. You see the veins and lines in your hands getting more prominent, you feel your joints as they start to fail.

You become and adult because the news, the world, the environment made you become one. You see the downfalls that we have, the failures, the successes, the joys, and you take them all in because your feet make sure you stay there and do so. You soak up the sun and think of skin cancer, you inhale the flowers and worry about the bees, you know in the back of your mind that you are a responsible person with obligations and people who depend on you. But above all, you read and see things that make you ache and which you know are things that are absolute, that are things you cannot change. Instead of bring a kid and trying to find a way to build a time machine to go back and make things good again, you lower your shoulders in defeat and accept that these things are horrible, they're unbearable, but you cannot create that time machine you wish you could, you cannot make things better.

You spend your life hoping to become the person you think you could become.

And then you see a photo of yourself, and your wrinkles, and the toll that some things have taken on you (both positive and negative) and you realize that maybe you already are that person you hoped you could become.


It's not what you'd expected.

It never is.


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April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Alastair



From the three of us who love you very much.

Even the one who won't let you have your birthday cards.


Happy birthday to the best.


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April 16, 2009


Yesterday the day did not go according to plan.

Oh sure, the morning was fine. I loped through my work email inbox, levelling them with an almighty stomp. I got masses of documents done and had my eyes crossing by mid-day courtesy of all the Excel spreadsheets I marched through. I rocked it.

I was also on my period (I will not - I repeat will not - call my period AF for any reason ever, not even if a clot pops out of me wearing a name badge that says 'Hello! My name is AF!'), and this translates to "Give Moses a ring, wouldja'? We have a tide to part."

No big deal, right? I was prepared. I had my giant fuck-off bichon frise tampons with me, the ones that look like you can take the wrapper off of them and use them as absorbancy towels to clean up the most significant of spills. Exxon Valdez type spills are no match for these tampons. In future people should use them to help staunch the flow of flooding in their homes, because these bad boys can hold more water than my ass after a 12-hour plane ride.

Anyway. There I was, in a skirt. I was stuffed with a giant-super-mongo-plus-extra-absorbant-there-may-be-a-wildlife-preserve-in-there tampon. I was ok. I went to the toilet to have a changing of the guard, as it were, and took a pair of scissors with me as the tag in the back of my knickers was chafing. I realized it might look weird, me going into the ladies room carrying a pair of scissors that would make pinking shears look embarrassed, so I tucked them in the notebook I use to record notes in, opened my bag and grabbed a tampon from the pocket, and made my way to the toilets.

Once in the stall I changed tampons. I don't think you need me to go into too much detail, you either already have done this yourself or you're one of the men sitting here reading this, periodically taking a moment to put your head between your legs to recover from the gore factor. I then went about cutting the tag out.

Now, the best thing to do would be remove the knickers, right? Since I had a skirt on and no tights on, that would be easiest yes? Or just remain seated on the toilet and, looking down, simply snip the tag? Those moves would make sense. Those would work. That's what people who fucking thought things through would do.

But because I am a raging dumb ass I didn't do it that way. Oh no. I bent over, looked through my legs, grabbed the tag while doing a move that only The Amazing Benzi Brothers of the local contortionist circus could do, and snipped the tag. Only somehow I also managed to nick the inside of my leg with the scissors. So now I had the tag out, I'd bent myself into a pretzel, and I now had a small cut on my leg.

Sighing, I rolled up some toilet paper and tucked it inside of my knickers to deal with the tiny blood flow from the scissor cut. I cursed my dumb assed-ness. I wondered if Darwin had people like me in mind when he thought of survival of the fittest.

I went back to my desk.

My new colleague, a rather cute guy with a great sense of humor, came over to talk. He was seeking info and gossip on one of the projects we are on together. He pulled up a chair and sat by me. We talked. We walked through PowerPoint slides, him putting on a mild flirt factor (I may be taken but I'm not dead. It's cute to be flirted with. It's a sign I don't need to be put out to pasture just yet, especially since there are still cows on the paths.) We got on well which is a good thing as some of our work will be joint.

He stood up and I stood up. He smirked, shook my hand and walked away. I wondered about the smirk.

Then I saw my rolled up bit of toilet paper on the chair. It had fallen out of my knickers and was gracefully sat on the seat, looking all innocent. Innocent, apart from the few blood drops where it had rested against my scissor cut.

I was confident he didn't see that. I was sure he hadn't. I saw it but that's because I had been sitting on it. No. He didn't see it. Couldn't have. I was sure.

He did, however, see the errant packaged tampon that had escaped from my bag and lay under my desk, near to where his feet had been, looking for all the world like a giant roll of paper towels just begging to be stuffed up a hooch.

I cringe.



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April 15, 2009


I am working something out.

Only, I don't know what it is yet.

But it's something.

I'm aware of the tone this blog is beginning to take. It's as though, once you open the screen, you get to put your 3D glasses on and take a virtual tour of nuttiness with a side of Mommy Blog. Add a dash of light to moderate humor (I maintain my original stance that I am unfunny) and throw a bucket of Hey-How's-About-I-Tell-You-Our-Real-Names and it's like drinking the Kool-Aid. And to be honest, I'm still not over the name thing - I see my name written in comments and start to freak the fuck out - ohmigod, I've been found out! Then I remember like a twat that I'm the one that outed me.

But I'm working something out.

I just don't know what it is.

I want to say: I've lost something. Only I haven't. I'm sure I haven't. I checked the Lost and Found box, there was a mismatched pair of Pumas two sizes too small in there, an old hairbrush and a scrunchy that still misses the 90's. But nothing in there was mine. So I haven't lost anything.

Yet something is still telling me I've lost something.

I did a tally - my wallet is here. I have a packet of mints, some tampons, a packet of paracetamol, and a bag of kiddie snacks in my handbag, because handbags live only to serve. My phone is on the desk - well, one of them, anyway, I have no idea where the other one is and the battery probably went on strike anyway. My iPod is plugged into my ears.

My children (of whom recently I am feeling so fiercely protective) are at nursery, my boy is at work at his massive antique desk, and my dog is curled up in the sunshine. My passport is lounging on some civil servant's desk, my flip flops are in the hall closet, my favorite lipgloss is lingering on my dresser, forgotten there this morning. My giant stuffed aubergine (I'm 35 years old and I sleep curled around it every night) lounges on the bed, in the sunshine by Maggie the cat.

Nothing's missing.

But something's missing.

The birch trees are bursting with skinny love. I am listening to How My Heart Behaves, mixed with I'm Not Gonna' Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You. I think of Slumdog Millionaire, which I saw last night and which makes me almost believe in love like that. I keep hearing Susan Boyle in my head and it makes me well up with such hope, and I don't even watch shows like that I hate that kind of program - and that program in particular. Go. Watch. Cry.

My mood is good. I'm meeting an old friend for drinks tonight, someone who makes me laugh and is easy company. The weather is spectacular. The weekend is hurtling towards us after a very busy week. Nick took 5 steps unassissted yesterday, then took 5 more. Angus and I are touching each other again and enjoying it.

The lights are on, someone's home.

Only I keep feeling like I'm missing something.

Maybe I lost my sheep and don't know where to find them.

Maybe I've been blindsided.

Maybe I'm not missing a fucking thing, just having one of those moments in time.


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April 14, 2009

In Which She Does One of Those Stream of Consciousness Things

I watched the DVD of Twilight over the weekend.

The weekend was and wasn't easy.

I liked the books for what they were - escapist. Emotive. Interesting.

I didn't like the movie for the same reason, and not just because I look at Pattinson's hair and suspect that it doesn't smell so good.

I hear him growl to her "You are my whole world now," and know that she falls for it, because we fall for things like that, we do.

Because that's the thing about love, isn't it? We idealize it. It takes on proportions in our head that equate it with curing the ills and righting the wrongs. We see a love like those crazy Twilight kids and we think that is the benchmark. That's what it should look like. It should consume it should burn it should ache it should be the color of your eyes and the intake of your breath and it should be every moment of every day of every...

I used to think that.

I did.

The maternal side of my family all read those bodice ripping novels, the ones where the woman is weak and the man is strong. You can play drinking games to the words "ravaged" and "smoldering" and be drunk by chapter 4. They take you away into a world where you are cared for beyond the basic needs of sustenance and survival, where every sin can be forgiven with a fuck, where gentleness is earned and women's honor fought for to the death.

I don't even know where to begin on how wrong all of that actually is.

I think of love - like I think of people - like an onion. It's layer after layer and each layer gets under the thin wedge of your fingernail as you start to strip it down. Someone seems happy. Peel back a layer. Someone isn't actually happy. Peel again. Someone tells you that you're important to them. Peel again. Someone tells you they're actually in love with you. Peel. Someone tells you that that love, it smarts like a wound in rubbing alcohol. Get to the middle of the onion and all you find is onion.

Every person and every love is imperfect. To envision a life where someone says something like "You are my whole world now" is impractical. Someone may make you their whole life, but that life includes laundry left beside the bed. They may not tell you that they are temperamental. You don't know ahead of time that they like Tang. You've no idea that they are riddled with secrets and held together with some ropey duct tape.

Love is like that, I think. It's the onion peel under your nail. It's the way you sigh and pick up the laundry by the bed and know that everyone that came before is under your skin, too. They are all there, and have helped build in you an understanding of how this shit is supposed to work.

It's not someone leaning in to a car and whispering that you are their whole world.

It's you knowing that love comes in fits and bursts and it hurts sometimes, it hurts so much that you may rip apart, but when it works it's brilliant. But it's not the stuff you think you know - your honor is yours to fight for because you've fallen in love with a coward. Or your basic needs aren't cared for because the person you chose doesn't even know what your needs are. Or you're pushed into paranoia because that man you love has driven you to running, just to escape him and the couple that you were. Love bends around the edges of all of these things, and the onion smell gets too strong to keep the tear ducts dry.

I watched the film and thought: I don't want Nora to grow up and think that love is like that. Not least because a relationship with a vampire is maybe not a great idea (no leaning across the table to sample his dinner then) but because love isn't like that. I want her to know that love is like an onion. There are layers to get through, some of which leave a bad taste in your mouth.

But find the right onion, and in the middle you find that getting through all of those layers - no matter how they impacted you or changed you or made you cry - was worth it.


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