Love what you have

Today I begin a new chapter. A complete change of pace. And I can’t wait!

For the last 9 months I’ve been travelling weekly with work. It’s had an impact on my kids. It’s had an impact on me. In both positive and negative ways. So, a short while ago, I decided (with the support of my incredible partner – have to say that, because he’s letting me do this… to be fair, he is actually incredible anyway) I digress, yet again…

I decided to take the summer off! Yep, you heard right. 6 weeks summer holiday! It’s like being back at school. The last time I had a 6 week summer break? 1996. That’s 21 years! (How was that 21 years ago? 50 years ago was 1950, right?!?)

6 weeks with my gorgeous babies. 

I’m imagining lots of laughter, hugs, family yoga, impeccable zen-like behaviour (all 3 of us ūüėú) and memories made in adventure after adventure!

You can bet that the reality will be very different! But as we grow and learn together, the memories we make, will light up my heart for years to come. 


And if all else fails, there’s always Grandma! ūüėā

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Matsui Mix Tape

There are certain smells, sounds and tastes that can literally transport you back in time. For instance, when the weather is sunny but cold and the streets are quiet, it reminds me of home. Because home, to me, is a place my family moved to when I was 14 years old. We moved in December. It was cold, but dry and sunny (I previously lived in a place which was quite ‘dreich‘) and the streets where we lived were typically suburban, and a little quieter than I was used to.

Between the ages of 14 and 16, I was starting to think about boys, about life, about the future… I was given a Matsui Stereo System for Christmas. I had my own bedroom for the first time in my life and had chosen baby blue and white pin stripe wallpaper, white bed sheets (I still always have white bed sheets) and wooden floors with a white and blue IKEA rug (very matchy-matchy).

I would spend hours in my room staring out of the window, thinking, dreaming, self-analysing and having imaginary conversations with people (usually boys that I liked but who were in love with my friend). I often stayed up late to listen to the American Chart Show (my musical taste hasn’t always been eclectic – in my earlier years I was heavily influenced by time spent living near Detroit as a child… in fact, that influence reached far further than music… and still does to some extent).

I still happily participate in all of these behaviours when I have time on my hands ūüôā

Anyway, back to the post in hand – feeling very nostalgic recently for those halcyon days of innocence, when the fate of my entire world depended on whether a boy would actually look at me or not, I made a mix tape! Well, it’s an iTunes playlist, but it would have been a mix tape if I still had my Matsui Stereo. And I thought, I’d share the first 3 songs with you, because they were (by a long stretch) the most played.

When I hear them, I close my eyes and I’m back in my room, looking out of the window. I can feel the floor beneath my feet, I can see the garden from my window, the weather looks cold but sunny. It is quiet (apart from the music), and my soul is smiling.

I hope you enjoy the mix as much as I do!

Matsui Mix Tape

  1. Tender Love – Force M.D.’s
  2. The Flame – Cheap Trick
  3. If You Were Here Tonight – Alexander O’Neal

Another year has gone by, and what have I learned?

Today is my birthday. I’m not looking for felicitations but (as it does for many in my stage of life) today, my train of thought has hurtled out of the station and is racing to an unknown destination.

My birthday used to be a REALLY BIG deal to me. And I’ve blogged about this before. It was my one day in the year where I got to be the centre of attention (in reality, I was quite the attention seeker and so managed to manoeuvre myself to the centre on quite a lot of days). But fairytale dreams of Prince Charming, lavish gifts and generally just being adored, built up horrendously unachievable expectations in my mind (Damn you Disney/Hollywood RomComs!).

I have no expectations this year, in fact I can’t even be bothered celebrating. I told my Beloved in advance I was going to “save it up” for next year – the big 4.0. (Not really sure what “it” is – I guess it’s any amount of energy I can muster…) I also told him that I wanted 2 things for my birthday – 1) space, time all on my own and 2) a shower. I should really have added a full night’s sleep to the birthday list but I’d have to actually decant to another house to get that so, it seemed more than a tad selfish.

So, I’m sitting here feeling fresher than a daisy, alone, writing, with music playing loud and not another human being in sight. Bliss!

Don’t get me wrong – in about an hour, I’ll be bored. I’ll be glued to NurseryCam and texting my Beloved telling him I miss him like crazy and what’s his expected ETA. (Tempramental – I know. It’s just one of a long list of adjectives on the list of words that, I have come to realise, describe me to a tee :-))¬†

But for now, I’m enjoying the peace and quiet and I wouldn’t swap it for an Omega watch even if you paid me. Because I don’t need the Hollywood dream anymore. I am happier than I ever imagined I could be. And it’s all because of 3 things;

1) Family – My Beloved, my 2 beautiful babies, my Parents, my siblings;
2) Friends – I don’t have a wide network of friends but I have a few close ones that reciprocate the love and trust I have for them and
3) Security – I feel secure. Not because I have millions in the bank (no where near it). Not because I have a fancy house with state of the art alarm systems. But because I feel loved. Truly loved. And I am finally beginning to understand who I am and accepting myself for who I am. And that has only been possible because I have 1) and 2) above.

How times have changed.

*The train of thought has now reached it’s destination*

A surprising day

It seems I’ve been remiss again, when it comes to regular blog posting. As ever, never enough hours in the day and still trying to find a yoga class that fits the schedule.

Yesterday was a weird day.

My baby boy was back in hospital for yet another test. Let me give you some background; when he was 10 days old he was hospitalised due to a dangerously high temperature. The Doctors knew it was an infection but could only find out what kind by performing multiple tests. Standard procedure dictates that they treat for the worst case scenario until they can rule it out. This is because in a baby that young, every second counts and they don’t want to leave anything to chance. Worst case scenario, by the way, is the big M (meningitis).

Long story short; lots of needles, tubes, invasive testing and 5 days later we had confirmation that it was a urine infection. They sent us home with prophylactic antibiotics and the understanding that they would follow up and check for any damage in 6 months.

Cut to present day. Follow up began a month ago. Urine infections in boys are not do common. in 10 day olds, very rare. So, the Doctors are keen to ensure there are no underlying issues. He’s had ultrasounds, x-rays, tubes, needles and scans – one of which sounded like there was a distinct possibility that he was undergoing the same process as Bruce Banner. And throughout it all, with a few understandable exceptions, he has remained his smiley, giggly, happy little self.

Yesterday, he was very brave. More brave than we were as usual. The process seemed easier. I can’t praise the staff at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital enough. They seemed to put us all at ease without us really noticing.

So, we had expected a traumatic day and in the end it was just uncomfortable for 20 minutes. And then an unexpected opportunity presented itself. Well, Grandma presented it.

She had changed her shift to finish earlier in case we needed her. And when we didn’t, she came over anyway. She helped settle the kids and stayed a while, sending us out into the night on our own for a little while.

So, we had a proper meal for the first time in ages. A glass of wine and a giggle. We talked about the old days and how good they were. And how, despite having not had a full nights sleep in months, having to juggle full time jobs, 2 kids under 3 and multiple hospital appointments – these are BEST days. Just what we needed.

Thank you Peanut, for being a force for positivity. And thank you Mum. Just thank you. Your love and support are infinite and unconditional. If I can be half the mother to my children that you are to me, I’ll be doing OK ūüôā

Up and at them!

I met up with my BFF, yogaswerve, last Friday for a coffee and a chat. I hadn’t seen her for weeks.

I was slightly nervous about seeing her.¬†I didn’t openly admit to her that my green eyed monster was begrudging her less than 2 weeks before. But, she reads my blog, so she probably knew that. And besides, I was feeling marginally more upbeat due to the fact that I’d actually gotten out of the house the day before, I’d also had a shower and put some make up and some heels on. All because I had a rare “on-site” work day.

She brought me flowers. She had sensed via our communications (or perhaps from reading my posts) that I was feeling a bit down. It was so thoughtful. My green eyed monster was shamed!

Talking to her helped a lot. I forced myself to apply perspective to the feelings I was sharing, which made me adjust my own view of my situation. I helped myself. I was a little bit proud of that, I have to say. My friend helped too. She consoled me with the notion that it’s OK to feel a bit poo when you’re tired and worried (and have been for some time) and she also gave me a deadline. I’m allowed to wallow a little but longer, until 31st January.

After that, it’s Up and at them! I’ve to face life with my head up, eyeball to eyeball. And in the words of Maya Angelou,

“If¬†you don’t like¬†something,¬†change it.¬†If¬†you can’t¬†change it,¬†change¬†your attitude. Don’t complain.”

Oh, and then we talked about starting yoga again. And so my quest continues for a healthy 2013. Steps taken so far; 1) short term goal set, 2) yoga classes in local area researched, 3) confirmed, with my Beloved, current location of yoga mat (it’s in the attic).

Evolution/Re-volution

Again, I find myself writing a blog post for the first time in a long time. This time, though, the reason behind the lapse is not laziness or apathy. It’s the complete opposite, in fact. Some weeks ago, I made a conscious decision to take a sabbatical from social media. Here is one of my last Twitter posts:

17 Jun –¬†I’ve decided that with vacation time around the corner and my mood at an all time low, now is a good time to take a sabbatical from Twitter

And this is a copy of an email I sent to my ENTIRE address book on the same day (names have been changed as usual):

Hi All

I’ve had a couple of enquiries about this in the last 24 hours so, thought it probably best to send out a wee email…
I deleted my facebook account. I posted a status saying I was going to and then just did it. I guess it removed my status from people’s timeline when I deleted the account.
I just got fed up with it. And I’m a bit fed up in general, mostly from missing Strawbug and I was beating myself up for checking facebook whilst she’s awake and with me, only to read endless horoscope and mafia games postings (my timeline was full of crap – not from you, i hasten to add – and only now and then did I share messages with people directly)…
Those who know me and love me (i.e. you guys) all have my email address and my phone numbers. So, I decided to revert to “old fashioned” communication (haha, as opposed to “totally ancient” communication – i.e. letter writing!) and start actually talking to people rather than posting a sentence on the internet like a project status report¬†(although, email IS allowed – LOL. one has to wean oneself off gradually!).
Sorry if I sound a a bit grumpy, I am –¬†Strawbug has decided sleep is for wimps and inevitably has ended up in our bed kicking 7 bales of sh*t out of us for the last 2 weeks. So we’re all pretty shattered.
Anyway. I’m trimming back my internet activities, for now, and focusing on the little time I have with my Beloved and Strawbug instead. I hope it will lead to a better work/life/technology balance for us all.
I hope you are all well. We are off on our holibobs for a week, couldn’t have come at a better time!
Speak to you all soon
xxx
2 days earlier, I posted this on my Facebook page (which is my actual account linked to my family and friends, not for my pen name):

15 Jun –¬†I’ve decided to close down my facebook account… But you can contact me in the future by phone or by email. Thanks everyone – stay safe and happy ūüôā xxx

It was the result of what I called at the time, a “mini meltdown”. And, if I’m honest, I would still call it that.

Somewhere between 8th June and the 15th June I became engulfed by a wave of guilt, compounded by a wall of tiredness and a weight of sadness I had only experienced once before.

As a person who has suffered from medical depression (not just the kind that a bottle of wine and a giggle with the girls will cure, but the kind where you can’t sleep, or get out of bed, you can’t look at anyone, speak one word or eat a morsel of food and genuinely want it all to end) I was relieved to find that I consciously recognised that I was at a crossroads. One of the paths led to ending it all and the other, well, I wasn’t sure where that path lead, but my heart and my mind were telling me that it had to be better than the path I had travelled before.

So, I (very swiftly) cut out the distractions and tried to re-focus on my priorities. I have logged in to Twitter once since I started my sabbatical, to respond to a kind message from a kind Twitterer asking if I was OK. And I haven’t been back to Facebook at all. As you can tell, until now, I haven’t blogged either.

Although I still use email and text a lot, I call people more often than I used to. It’s quicker and easier to mail/text but it’s so much nicer to talk. I make a conscious effort to be “present” when I’m with my baby Girl and make the most of the little time that we have together. And my Beloved and I are also trying very hard to communicate and connect more often and more deeply. More difficult than it sounds, with a full time job and an almost 1 year old! We’re still tired, but the quality of our family time is really improving.

The biggest effect my sabbatical has had, is that it has given me time to think long and hard about my priorities, my needs and my wants. And I have come to the conclusion that I can do without the iPhone 5, I can do without the 6 weekly hair highlights and I can do without the 5* luxury breaks if it means I get to spend more time with Strawbug. So, in a couple of months, I’ll hopefully be working part time. Maybe even as little as 3 days per week. And for the remaining 4 days I’ll be a “present” Mummy and a housewife and I can’t wait! My “thinking” (in part, thanks to the recent local riots) has even gone as far as ruminating about moving to an entirely different country where Strawbug can grow up to value knowledge, culture, health and morality over gadgets, trainers, handbags and size zero bodies. But that’s for another time. I’m still mulling it over.

Am I evolving? or am I revolving? Either way, I don’t really care. The net result is bliss.

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

Phew! What a week!

I had my first really “critical” day at work on Monday with back to back “important” meetings – all the time feeling quite flu-ey and run down. I was set my first short, highly visible and business critical deadline since my return and I was nervous about colleagues thinking I couldn’t cut it anymore.

Then on Monday night the brothers grimm showed up for a 24 hour visit (I came down with a tummy bug), which completely wiped me out. On Tuesday night, my little Strawbug hardly slept because she was really miserable (and therefore, neither did we). We couldn’t work out what was wrong with her, poor wee scone.

On Wednesday I was playing catch up to hit my close of business deadline but pushed myself so hard I passed out about 2pm then was awoken by the nursery calling to say Strawbug still wasn’t right and could I come pick her up. Well, that was my deadline out of the window and down the lane!

On Wednesday night Strawbug and I slept in the big bed whilst my beloved slept on the sofa. He had to be up at silly o’clock on Thursday for a gargantuan round trip drive to the shortest meeting in history… (honestly, some Company decisions really do not make any sense at all.) And we weren’t really sleeping, more just cuddling all night because she just wouldn’t let go of me. Still miserable. Still couldn’t work out what was up.

Yesterday, we both felt a bit brighter in the morning, so off she went to nursery and off I went to work. Still playing catch up… but managed to get all my actions completed only half a day late. Go me!!

Strawbug on the other hand, decided yesterday was a day of rest and slept for nearly 4.5 hours at nursery. I wasn’t holding out much hope for last night I can tell you. And then the strangest thing happened…

My beloved got home about 9:30pm. “How has she been?” he asked. “Well”, I said… “she had lots of sleep today and then fell asleep at 7″… I wasn’t even sure I wanted to say the next bit out loud for fear of jinxing the situation but I did… “She hasn’t stirred once. I haven’t even had to put her dummy in”. Highly unusual.

So we lay there, each of us with one eye open, waiting… And nothing. She didn’t stir. Not once. Until 1am, for some milk. After which she promptly went back to sleep. And we lay there for a bit, each of us with one eye open, waiting… And nothing. She didn’t stir. Not once. Until 6:45, when she woke up singing and talking away to her teddy bears.

I can’ stop smiling. I feel like a whole new woman! I’m sure it was a fluke, a one off, a blip on the monitor. But I have to say it was a blip I needed this week. Sleep, Glorious Sleep, how I’ve missed you!

Home Sweet Home

Earlier I tweeted this: “I LOVE my home! Just love it! Love coming home to it. Love being in it. Just love it. Love it. Love it.” A slightly random statement to make and I was (only a little)¬†surprised when the thought entered my head. But it did. Randomly. And the feeling that accompanied the thought was so strong,¬†I just felt I had to share it.

Let me be clear. I’m not talking about my house; the bricks and mortar, about the colour of the paint (well, maybe the colour of the paint in the box room, for which I spent years trying to find¬†a match to the prefect shade that was in my mind’s eye!). I’m not talking about the things in it, though I suppose those things help make it what it is. I’m not even sure if it’s the people who live there (namely myself, my Beloved and my litttle cat) because I feel it even more when it’s empty and quiet.

My home is not my castle, it’s my Sanctuary. As soon as I walk in and close the door behind me I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I take a deep breath and start to relax, warm up, cool down, whatever it is I’m looking for; I find it here.

I’m also acutely aware that I’m extremely lucky to have a roof over my head, let alone a safe place of Sanctuary. And I genuinely thank God/Mother Nature/The Stars/Whoever is listening¬†on a regular basis for the priviledge.

I hope that you have a Sanctuary, whether it’s your home or somewhere else. And for those who¬†aren’t lucky enough to¬†feel safe in their homes, or don’t have a roof over their heads, I will keep you in my¬†thoughts and do what I can to make the world a safer place.

Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays?

Yesterday was a pretty bad day. One of the worst Mondays I’ve had in a while. You’ll not be surprised to hear that I’m not a huge fan of Mondays… given recent posts on what I’d rather be doing. Would it be fair to say that most of us feel the same way?

I know I’m supposed to experience every day to the fullest and not live for the weekend. But when I tell you about my day yesterday maybe you’ll empathise just a little.

I woke up with chronic piercing pain behind my right eye and feeling a bit queasy (migraine, I think). I’d run out of migraine tablets and only had paracetemol to hand ~ which for someone who has been used to taking head pills that could put a horse to sleep, is like taking a couple of peanut M&M’s to deal with the problem. I was also running late (no surprise there!). Thankfully my beloved was working from home so had made me some nice sweet tea and gave me a lift to the station.

By the time I’d got to the office the pain had died down a bit. I logged in to find I’d invited some trouble into my work life, almost unintentionally but not quite. Result of which could be a few weeks of discomfort or no discomfort at all due to me sitting at home on the sofa having lost my job! I wait with baited breath for that outcome!!

Through the course of the afternoon, my beloved and I managed to have a spat by text message ~ poor phone was quivering under the pneumatic power of my index finger. Wasn’t even worth spatting about, I think I’d just had enough for one day.

Last but not least, I left the office bang on time, determined to get the hell out of Dodge and drag my sorry ass home. As I ran onto the platform the train was pulling out and the next one was cancelled. I waited 35 minutes in the cold listening to Michael and his ghouls, praying they would lift me out of my day of hell. Didn’t work, not this time.

My thanks go out to my friend in Mallorca who (unknowingly) got me through some of it with a story about a new Lap Dancing club which has opened on the placa of her sleepy, traditional hillside village!! And to my beloved who drew me a bubble bath when I finally got home, cooked me a lovely dinner and let me go to bed at 9pm to sleep off my sore head. Despite the day from hell, I really do have a lot to be thankful for.