Monday, 31 January 2011

End of month - 1st Review

This is not how I had envisaged it.
   New years eve, I imagined this moment sitting down to tot up my list of successes. My witty prose littered with irregular Spanish verbs as my dual lingual brain flitted between tongues, popping up to the keyboard to type in between stomach crunches. 

But this is not defeat.  Oh no. There may be suspicious wiffs of it loitering in the air but defeat this most certainly is not.

I had to buy a new car. I hadn't wanted to, but I bid farewell to the Australia fund and trundled off in a reliable tin can.
   Not that I don't love the new car, but I've certainly lost the excitement of never quite knowing what will happen when I start the engine.  Will I have power steering today? Will the brakes cut out if I let the car fall below 2000 revs? Not to mention what will happen to my fantasy of being a mechanic each time I have to pull over and top up the oil to get me home, complete with oily rag (kitchen roll) tucked in back pocket and humming Shania Twain.
    This only failed me once, when having made it home from a hair raising commute (2 break downs, 1 brake loss and a smell like someone singeing Dolly Parton) I lifted the bonnet and reached for the oil.
   The Five o'clock traffic crawled by inches from my car, bored commuters glancing my way.  I imagined the admiration on their faces when they saw me; black work coat buttoned up smartly over grey suit trousers, oily kitchen roll tucked in pocket and wielding 4 litres of 10W-40.  I unscrewed the oil cap and poured with the confidence of a seasoned grease monkey. 
    I missed.  As soon as the oil hit the hot engine, billows of smoke rushed into my horrified face.  Traffic continued to crawl by and if I had imagined windscreens full of astonished faces before, I was certain of them now.  I was no longer a modern woman, laptop in one hand and spanner in the other.  I was a pair of terrified eyes floating in the fog of my shattered fantasy. I was an idiot.
   I abandoned the car and ran for the house, screaming 'BEN! The car's on Fire!'.
1)So Australia is on the back burner for now, but not forgotten.

2) Move out of Trowbridge. I'm in limbo on this one.  Still waiting to hear news of employment after March i.e. will I have any? If yes, great.  I will have somewhere to live and can replenish the Oz funds. If not, I'll be moving to shit creek.

3) Write a children's book.  February is going to be all about the children's book.  Not only my ambition, but I figured it could get me out of leaving little person each day and packing him off to nursery.  It's not good for him there.  I went to collect him today and he grabbed a handful of flour and threw it at me then incited another small person to do the same. Most mothers get a finger painting.

4) Wear clothes that excite me. I'm not totally failing at this one actually, courtesy of some vintage clothes fairs and with carboot season looming, this can only get better.

5) Get fit and toned............. ha

6) Act in a play / film.  Must get googling projects to impose myself on.

7) Learn Spanish.   -      Must. Put. CD's. On. Ipod.  

8) Start taking photo's again. - Nothing to say.

9) Travel to another country.  - This is happening. Must have holiday this year. It is January and little person asks to go to the beach every days.  I can't handle another 6 months of beach requests.

10) Grow my hair long - I'm doing this all the time.  Success.

11) Eat more veg- I can confidently add trimmed green beans to my veggie repertoire and last Sunday, a landmark day in my vegetable development, cabbage passed my lips.

12) Make 3 new friends.  Well, I don't think I've lost any which is always a plus.

Get my arse in gear.
Eleven months to go.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Where has January gone? -Jan 20th 2011

January is quickly slipping through my fingers and I don't feel like I've gotten a good grasp of any of my resolutions yet. 
    Even chances to blog about my failings have been far and few between, and the chances I have had may have been spent rekindling my romance with the biscuit tin and TV.  How does that troublesome twosome do it? I know they are bad and will bring me no good (with the exception of Glee). 
    At the very least it begs a pertinent question. 
    If a biscuit falls in my mouth, but the telly is too loud for me to hear it, does it make me fat?

Perhaps there has been some progress. 
    I spent a glorious Sunday in Brick Lane, rummaging through rails of second hand clothing.  The ephemeral animal rights champion of my teenage years recoiled as I feigned oblivion and marched through the fur protesters blocking a shop doorway.  I bought a few furless items, slipped the indiscreet large yellow carrier bag over the buggy handle and made for the exit. So there was shouts of "you support animal cruelty" and some heavy leaflet thrusting, but it has to be better than the post Christmas high street warfare that goes on.  I kept my distance from any town centre clothes retailer for the first few weeks of January this year.  I heard one particular big name store had protesters of its own.  Little naked rabbits handing out leaflets covered in photos of middle aged women pushing each other into clothes rails and elbowing small children in the face, amidst jeers of 'you support shopping cruelty'.
    Resolution number 4. Wear more interesting clothes.
    I may be a kitten kicker, but I've got myself some.  I'm am ready for the wearing of said clothes. Now I just need somewhere to wear them.

Number 5: Get fit and toned.  My second dalliance with this pandemic resolution; I impress myself.  A little after my sons first birthday, I returned an unwanted gift to the supermarket and traded it for a fitness DVD. If you are reading this, having bought my son a gift and wondering if it has suffered the same fate, probably yes but we have used the slow cooker 3 times now and are planning on getting the breadmaker out of its box sometime soon.
   Enthused by my purchase, I cleared the living room of persons, toys piled to side of room, changed into an unforgiving pair of shorts, prepped myself with water and inhaler, tapped 999 into the mobile ready to go and put the  DVD into the machine. 
    I didn't make it past the warm up.  After 20 minutes flailing around the room swearing heavily, I resigned myself to a life of uncoordinated lethargy.
    Every now and then I am reminded of the DVD when my son pulls it from the shelf and says 'let's put this one on mummy'. How cruel children can be.
     But this week, after a long 2 year recovery period, I tried again.  Living room cleared of persons, toys kicked out of way, squeezed into offensive, unforgiving shorts, water drip connected to arm and inhaler worn around my neck, air ambulance hovering above and DVD into the machine.
    I flailed through the warm up and repeatedly crashed into the fireguard throughout 'aeroburn', cheered on by the heavily made up and suspiciously unsweaty instructor, to kick those legs up.  The boyfriend came downstairs in time to rescue the DVD remote before I threw it at the TV to make it stop hurting me. That was 2 nights ago.  I'm wondering how long before I am meant to go through all that again;  I haven't been able to climb the stairs since.

Until next time.. keep kicking.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Hola! Habla español? - Jan 6th

Resolution number 7. Learn Spanish.
I never learned Spanish at school.  I learned German... well I say learned,  there's only ever one German phrase I can remember. 'Glaubst du an liebe auf den ertsten blick, oder soll ich nochmal reinkommen?' (Do you believe in love at first sight, or shall I come in again?). Not exactly a testament to five years of weekly lessons.
   I only remember that line because a very creepy ex-boyfriend sent it to me in a text message and then we had an argument over the translation.  He was convinced he had called me a kitty cat.   I tried it out on a real life German man once.  He laughed and walked off mumbling something, which I took to mean don't bother me anymore. I had to, I had no idea what he was saying.
   Kitty cat... I've just been sick in my mouth.

Being lucky enough to have friends in Spain, I have been inspired to expand my Spanish vocab in preparation for my next visit. 
    A defining moment during my October visit made me realise I was harbouring an ugly concoction of language ignorance and arrogance that was getting me no where.
    The first happened whilst frequenting a cafe to sample a local waffle.  The waiter spoke no English and had no interest in trying to understand me, however much I enunciated.
    No matter, I would astound the young man with my Spanish rendition of 'Waffle with milk chocolate, please'. My friends did the same, albeit without my natural flair.  The waiter jotted it all down on a little white notepad and five minutes later, plates of waffles with milk chocolate were placed in front of my friends to a chorus of 'gracias'.  They looked delicious.  I picked up my cutlery in anticipation as the waiter handed me a plate.  I looked down, ready to offer my thanks when I saw it.  A crepe.
    "Graci..." I tailed off and looked at my friend in panic. "This isn't what I ordered."
    Chocolate dribbled down the smug bastards chin, chomping away on his deliciously correct dessert. He would never finish his gluttonous mouthful in time and the waiter was already moving away.  I would have to do it myself.
    He turned around. My useless tongue lolled in my mouth; it couldn't save me now.  To my shame, I reached for the menu and pointed to 'gofres con chocolate con leche'. 
    Without hesitation, he pulled out his little white pad and pointed to my order. 
     "No, Crepe," and then he was gone.
This year Santa brought me the Collins easy learning Spanish Complete Audio Course Stage 1 and 2.
    Santa is a well traveled man; he would know how to order a waffle and get one and he doesn't want me to suffer either.
    I started on my journey of discovery tonight. So far, I'm pleased to announce, I can ask how someone is and can cope with their reply as long as it is only varying degrees of good: Bien/ Bien bien or Hmmm bien (accompanied by pensive expression). I can also ask if someone speaks English, say 'good morning', 'no sorry, I don't understand' and courtesy of google translate...
    "En realidad el hombre español hermoso, este crepé hará muy bien."


Monday, 3 January 2011

Start as you mean to go on - Jan 3rd

Back to work tomorrow so I made the most of my procrastination and arranged myself a little writing den.  In fact, I was so keen to avoid ironing clothes and opening my work bag to see what tasks I'd left woefully undone, that I very nearly recreated my student bedroom. 
   I have a desk, a printer (optimistic, I'll grant you), a pouffe to park myself on and a poster; all tucked neatly between the spare bed and airing cupboard. And much like my student days, I've so far spent an hour on social networking sites trying to remember why I sat down in the first place. 
    But here I am. 

I guess I'm thinking about resolution number 3.  Write a Children's Book.  To my shame I am out of practice. My writing muscle is as flaccid as, well most of my other muscles to be honest. Flaccid.  What a horrible word. Reminds me of Mr Potato Head when he trades his plastic potato body with that of a tortilla; all sort of floppy and squelchy.  
I haven't totally abandoned the world of children's literature however. Having a small child has given me the excuse to buy lots of picture books.  It was his 3 rd birthday yesterday and I was grateful to receive some more picture books. My boyfriend made the blasphemous comment "we can throw some books out now we have new ones."  What a fool. 
    But it did get me thinking.  One day he'll turn 4, then 5.  Perhaps I'll even keep him till 6, by which point he'll be wanting different books and I won't be able to justify spending the last of my wages on 32 pages of joy.  Unless I can say I need them for my creative processes... studying the market... blatant attempts to pilfer ideas... What better reason to start a children's book of my own?   Yes, we will have to buy more bookshelves and then find somewhere to put them. We'll get bunk beds, make a bit of floor space. 

Another of my resolutions.  Number 5,  Get fit and toned. I should have added not stuffing my face with crap but I was trying to focus on positive life enhancers and not a list of naughties. I figure this should all happen at the same time, a symbiosis between the toning and not stuffing my face so much.  Having had little experience in this field, I decided to wait till I was stuffed and could stuff no more.  An indulgent two weeks of Christmas later I honestly thought I was there; ready to pour my metaphorical spirit of greed down the kitchen sink and enroll myself on the nearest 12 step program.  
    To test my new found steely reserve, I slowed to a mere dash through the kitchen of temptation, risking eye contact with a Ferrero Rocher.  About to step over the threshold to the dining room, where a toned and healthy future waited, my perfidious arm shot out, grabbed two chocolate chip cupcakes and rammed them into my gob. 

We persevere!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Getting started -Jan 1st

So here it is... not only my first blog post of 2011 but my first blog post ever! 

I saw in the new year with some good friends at home and was inspired to not only start this blog but also to rejuvenate my life.  

As Big Ben approached midnight, we penned our resolutions.  I don't make resolutions.  I made one once; to stop smoking. Original it was not.  Needless to say, like a million smokers before me, I failed.   
    My leap into the non-smoking lounge came later when I fell pregnant.  I'd recommend it to any smokers who need a little help sticking to their midnight vows.  Perhaps that's why so many people are born in September?  Because it doesn't matter how much want a cigarette, you are a mother to be and like the millions of mothers to be before you, you will puke your guts up. 

So instead of things I was going to stop, I wrote a list of things I was going to gain.  
     12 bongs of Big Ben
     12 grapes hastily stuffed in my gob 
     12 life enhancing quests

1) Go to Australia
2) Move out of Trowbridge
3) Write a children's book
4) Wear more interesting clothes
5) Get fit and toned
6) Act in a play/ film 
7) Learn Spanish 
8) Take up photography again 
9) Travel to another county (not Australia)
10) Grow my hair long
11) Eat more veg
12) Make 3 new friends

Hopefully making this a public journey will give me the kick up the arse I need.  Even if I'm the only person reading it. 

Here's to 2011!