THIS LITTLE LIFE

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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Allie Brosh - Hyperbole and a Half


The picture above is clickable, and will take you to Allie's blog :)
(Oops, sorry, it's not clickable - didn't work. Try clicking here instead!)

I know I've mentioned this blog before, but I just want to highlight it again. It is the most stupendously funny and original and inventive and creative and ridiculous blog I've ever read, and I love it to bits ( - alright, I've only being reading blogs for about five months, but I've read one or two). Allie Brosh makes me want to completely change the way I blog. She makes me want to strive to be funnier, and to look at the world in a completely different way. Does she see the world in cartoons? Is everything in her life completely mental? When I've read one of her posts, wiped the tears of hysterical joy from my eyes, and done some shaking-of-my-head-in-complete-awe at the amount of work and love and pride that goes into one of them, I feel completely inadequate. I feel shamed by the fact that I am not funny like Allie. I want to BE Allie! Allie is my idol! Allie, Allie, ALLIE!

I am not alone with this overwhelming feeling of idol-worship. If you read the comments that Allie gets after each and every post, you can see that many people adore her and want to imitate her. Many people wish they could use Paint as skilfully as our beloved Allie. She makes us want to draw, and so we have a go, and feel even more inadequate, because it takes us about five minutes to find the right buttons to draw a circle exactly the right way. We wonder whether Allie takes five minutes over a circle, or whether she can lay down a perfectly detailed and hilarious picture in the time it has taken us to draw our circle. Then we look at our circle again, and realise that even this little bit of nothing is rubbish compared to one of Allie's circles. Then we wonder if Allie has better software than us? I only have Word on my MacBook, and if I want to draw pictures I should probably get something better. Word Art on the Mac is rubbish. I have just drawn this to illustrate my point:


See what I mean? This doesn't even look anything like me! I had a problem with the hair, and this is the best I could do. You can't draw freehand in Word on the Mac. I need something that has virtual brushes. This little picture took me about five hours to draw. Alright, that's not actually true - I'm not so completely incompetent. But it did take longer than I would have liked.

So, I hope you take a look at Hyperbole and a Half. If you like it, then I'm glad that I brought something into your life that made you smile. If you don't like it, then what the heebies is up with you?!

I would like to swear as Allie does. Her swearing rocks! But I don't think it would seem right on my blog - I think it might possibly offend my readers, who I believe have delicate sensibilities and are easily shocked (I wonder if I could get up to a thousand followers by Christmas? How do people GET that many followers?! Do I need to advertise? Should I do a leaflet drop?)

Have a happy day friendies :)


Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Thunderstorms and holidays, and palpitations

Mmmm. Can you smell that? There's newness in the air. It's thick with it today. Some days feel like that, don't they? It's not to do with that heavy and oppressive kind of atmosphere that comes before a storm though, you know, when people say 'ooh, it's close today' (- is that a high- or low-pressure weather system? I can never remember). No, that's not what it feels like at all, because there was a tremendous storm in the night and that cleared the air. It's still warm today, but it's not sticky anymore. But anyway, that's not what I mean. I mean that there's a feeling of potential lingering around here. When this feeling is in the air I frequently get butterflies in my tummy, and I get little palpitations, and I get a bit sweaty as well, and I feel quite nervous, but I have absolutely no idea what it is that I'm anticipating! Very strange. I often have days when I'm getting the kids ready for school and I have a grin on my face, and I'm in a heightened state of excitement, and then I realise that I don't know why I'm feeling like that. I do not know what is coming, but I'm sure something is.

Am I going a little nuts?

The storm woke us up in the night, and it was quite exciting. The rain was absolutely hammering on the windows, and I had to close them to keep out a little of the noise. And then, even with my eyes closed, I could tell there was lightning before I heard the thunder. It was unbelievably bright - I just wish it had arrived earlier in the evening so I could have watched it out of the window. But at 4am I thought it was probably best to try to get back to sleep. And the thunder was brilliant, he he! I love it. I could never really understand that scene in The Sound of Music, when all the kids have to be sung to because they're afraid of the storm, because I've always enjoyed a good show of thunder and lightning. It's exhilerating! I hope we get another storm soon - but during the day would be better so that I can watch it with the kids :) And possibly even go out for a play in it, if it's warm enough. They slept through it last night. Shame.

I have just booked a holiday this morning. We're going to stay in the middle of Alnwick in Northumberland. We stayed up that way a couple of summers ago, in a caravan in Berwick upon Tweed. Alnwick is where the 'A' is on this map. Berwick is a few miles above that. I didn't want to stay in a caravan again, as they were pretty grotty and smelled of old food. So I've booked a little terraced house for a fortnight. It's very small, but it's still bigger than a caravan. And it's right in the middle of the village of Alnwick, which I understand is very beautiful. We visited Alnwick Castle, and the Alnwick Garden last time, but didn't get chance to look at the village. We will feel like we know the area pretty well this time, so we'll be able to make the best of our fortnight and see all the things we didn't get to see when we visited before. I'm really looking forward to it - it's going to be so relaxing, but lots of fun too. The beach is only 3 or 4 miles away, and it's golden and clean and big and oooooooooooooh!

It's good to explore this area, as it's a place we could move to. After the Berwick holiday we all wanted to live up in the North East, we loved it so much. And there is a power station up there, so Kev could get a job relatively easily. There are not many places that I would move so readily to in this country, but the North East, close to Scotland, is one of them. Lovely people, incredible scenery, LOADS to do. And plenty of fascinating history: the whole region is dripping with stories from centuries past.

Eek! Can't wait. I think the booking of the holiday must account for most of the feeling of potential and excitement today.

But that's not wholly it - there's something else.

The release of Eclipse on the 9th of July? Quite possibly. If Sazzle gets the next two books of the Twilight Saga read, we're going to see Eclipse together. Mmmmmmmm - yummy, Edward!

Also, I've just seen the teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I. Oh. My. Goodness. That looks awesome. Released in November. It could be that that's making me sweaty ...

Or perhaps I'm misinterpreting the palpitations and butterflies - perhaps they are caused by the feeling of motivation that I am experiencing right now. Perhaps at the back of my mind, constantly, is the fact that I'm well into the writing of the second half of my book, and that perhaps I only have one third of the first draft left to write! It could, indeed, be that. Cor! Still a lot of work to do though, even after I've got to the end. I will still have to go right back to the beginning and go through it with a fine toothed comb, not once, maybe not twice, but possibly three or four times. Mmm, satisfying :)

Well, lots of things in the air. I will get on and enjoy them, whatever they are. Afternoon, all.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Almost forgot - I've got a Stag Do to organise as well! Pants. Better get on with that as well.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Immortality

An ouroboros tattoo
ouroborosnounvariant spelling of uroboros .uroboros |ˌ(y)oŏrəˈbôrəs| |ˈjʊərə(ʊ)ˈbɒrəs| |ˈjʊrəˈbɔrəs| (also ouroboros)nouna circular symbol depicting a snake, or less commonly a dragon, swallowing its tail, as an emblem of wholeness or infinity.
So I have this thing about immortality. Perhaps most people do. I don't go mad to read about vampires and other immortal beings constantly, but one of the things I do enjoy about vampires is that they get to live forever, mostly. I can sympathise with Voldemort, because he wanted to achieve immortality - I think I probably would be more like Voldemort than Harry. Or perhaps I'd be more like Nicholas Flamel, and achieve my immortality by less macabre means than the Dark Lord - drinking an elixir of life would probably be preferrable to killing people in order to split my soul.
It's one of the things that makes me the most sad, knowing that we have to die, and that we get such a short time to play in this life. I don't know whether there is any kind of life after death - I very much doubt it, I find the concept of a human soul very difficult to swallow - but I dearly wish that there was. It's a horrible and sad thought that the world will continue without us after we die, hurtling towards its own death that lies a few billion years in the future. I wish I could stick around for all of those years and find out how the story ends. Was there a Dr Who episode in which he witnessed Earth's last day? Well, I would love to be there for that (Earth's last day, not the Dr Who episode). I think I'd like to be like an ancient and wise librarian, and be there by the side of our world's death bed, to make sure that everything that had ever been written down was kept safe. It's never a pleasant thought to have, that of knowing that one day everything we have ever done or created will be gone. It will become star dust again. Although, at the same time, it's a beautiful thought. That we exist at all is incredible, like a brief and beautiful flash of brilliance in time and space.

I was thinking of immortality when I was reading my book, The Midwife Trilogy by Jennifer Worth, last night. The characters she writes about in the book, all Cockneys who lived in the 1950s, were all real people. It's not a work of fiction, though it's written in the style of one. But I was noticing how the people she writes about, who touched her life in some way, come to life when I read them. I see those people as clearly as if I had known them myself, the writing is so vivid and alive. I've never cried so much over a book as this one, some of the stories are so tragic. That made me think about immortality. I can't live forever really, but my words can bring me back to life after I'm dead. Someone might read what I've written and be able to see and hear me for a little while, and I'll be alive again, in some small way. I don't know why, but that feels important to me. Even if the only people who read my words in decades to come are my children, and maybe my grandchildren and so on, the thought of that makes me very happy. I don't want my fifteen minutes of fame, because it doesn't really mean anything, not really. I just like it when I write something and it makes someone smile. I would like to think that someone, even just one person, way in the future might read something about me and might say to themselves 'I wish I'd known her'.

That'll do :)


Friday, 25 June 2010

What are you looking at?!

Morning all. The weekend's here again :) Blimey they come around fast sometimes, eh? This is what my hair looks like right now - and d'you know what? I'm loving it today! Yes, I know, I've been hating it since the day I did it, but today it looks nice. I think it's the new hair wax I bought - for the first time, perhaps ever, TV advertising worked on me! I saw this matte wax on an ad, and almost immediately drove off to get some from Asda. I've always hated that you can tell by the greasy matted mess that I am wearing some kind of product on my hair. Now it's much less noticeable, but the fluffiness is kept under control still :) Very good. And you can see my natural colour properly too - it's got quite a bit of blonde in it. So I'm actually thinking that I might keep it like this for a bit.

Hang on a minute - I didn't come on here to write about my hair!!! Not at all. I was going to write about some much more philosophical and intelligent stuff to do with multiple personalities!

So, I was thinking the other day about my different selves. Now I'm wondering whether I've actually written all about this before. Mmm. Well, no matter. I'll write about it again.
I was thinking about how the world sees us, and how that doesn't necessarily correspond with the way we see ourselves. I can remember a lot of people from the year above me at senior school, but hardly any from the year below. But I would not expect to be recognised by anyone but my own friends from school, because the way I saw myself was as a very shy wallflower-type. I've always been pretty sure that I blended into the background and was all but invisible. But this may not actually be the case. When you're at senior school, you very often look up to those in the years above you, yes? They're a little bit like celebrities in the way that they seem so lofty and aloof, and the people in the lower years are in awe of them. I always assumed that the girls in the lower years (no boys at my school) looked at my friends in that way, but that they didn't notice my existence. But I was recognised by someone the other day - she was in a year below me at school. It shocked me, more than a little, because it made me think that I probably look at my teenage self in completely the wrong way. I think I remember, more so, what I felt like when I was talking to people, rather than what I actually talked about. I can remember my heart-rate accelerating during conversations, I can remember struggling to get my words out, I can remember my cheeks flaming, I can remember wanting the ground to swallow me up, I can remember walking away from someone knowing that I had just humiliated myself into the dust by stumbling over a sentence about simple directions to the school office! But perhaps what I don't remember, and should, is that I didn't really stumble over my words all that much, that I only felt those feelings because I was afraid of sounding like an idiot, but that I actually never did sound like one. Perhaps I should remember that I often managed to hide my true feelings of absolute terror and mortification most of the time, and that perhaps no-one ever really guessed exactly how shy I was. I was chatting to a friend from Uni a few months ago and mentioned how I'd been the shy retiring type when I was in Aberystwyth, and he just about fell off his chair laughing, because he didn't remember me that way at all. To some people I came across as confident! Confident!! Me!!!

I have bags of confidence now, but I never really felt sure of myself then. I mean, I was much less shy at Uni than I'd ever been before, and remember thinking things like 'this is it, I'm really not shy anymore, I've done it!' But since then I've grown in confidence unbelievably, since having my children and feeling the need to have my voice heard and having things in my life that are important enough to fight for. I can't think of a situation in which I wouldn't be able to speak up if I wanted or needed to now.

But I was also thinking about different aspects of our personalities that have nothing to do with shyness. We change ourselves - probably subconsciously most of the time - depending on who we are talking to, don't we? I mean, not everyone does, of course. There are lots of people who pride themselves on always being the same with everyone. I'm not one of those splendid people - but I enjoy trying on different Lindas. I like that my accent changes ever so slightly when I'm talking to my friends from different parts of the country/world. I like that Sarah-jane makes me talk in ever such a slightly more posh accent :) I like that I'm very broad Northern when I'm talking to my grandad Wilf and my grandma Freda. I like that I get a little bit Welsh when I'm in Wales, and a little bit Scottish when I'm in Scotland. And when I lived in the US I perfected my generic American accent! I like that when I'm talking to certain mums in the playground I behave myself and act like a respectable mummy, but when I talk to other mums in the playground I'm very naughty and act like a teenager. I like that when I'm with Kev or Noomski I am almost completely myself. I like that when I'm with my dad I turn into a school pupil again and ask him lots of questions about plants and The Nature as if he's my science teacher :) I like that when I'm with my mum I get to talk about all the stuff that no-one else wants to listen to! Different Lindas for different people. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's not about not being true to myself, it's about being comfortable with the different aspects of my personality, and being happy to suppress some of them from time to time, safe in the knowledge that I can let them out to play later.

The other side of this though is that people think they know you inside out, when in fact they don't really know you at all. Ah-ha! Some people might think I'm lovely, but I can be as bitchy as anyone. Some people might think I'm probably not worth talking to because I don't seem to have much to say, but I'm actually just watching them because I find them fascinating and don't feel the need to talk much myself. Some people might notice that I'm watching them, and might be a bit disturbed by my fascination with them, and maybe even a little worried that I'm going to stalk them, but I might actually just be staring into the space where their face happens to be because I'm finding their conversation really boring! Some people might think you're very stupid because you once said something that was factually incorrect. Some people might think you're very clever because you've used a few big words in conversation with them. Some people might think you're ignorant because you ignored everybody and scowled a lot when you dropped the kids off at school one morning, but you might have just had a headache and a lot on your mind. Some people might think everything's rosy in your life because you smile all the time, and always have supportive things to say to everyone, but really you might be depressed as anything and just not want anyone to know. The point here being that no-one really ever knows what's going on inside someone else's head, and aren't we clever beings that we can be thinking things that have absolutely no correlation with what our facial expressions are saying? (That's a very convoluted sentence, sorry!) It doesn't mean that we're being two-faced though - we're perfectly entitled to hide part of ourselves from everyone else if we want to.

I think I've exhausted that particular complicated topic for now. I have achieved absolutely no clarity on the subject of multiplicity in personalities. Anyone else want to say anything?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Painted toenails

Did not achieve much at all this weekend. Sometimes that's just the way it is, and I'm not going to beat myself up about it. Most weekends we do something nice, go for a long walk or something, or just spend some good time playing. But now and again I'm a little burnt out, and I just have a lazy couple of days. When Kev came home from work on Saturday Thomas dobbed me in:

Kev: What've you been doing today?
Thomas: Well, actually, Mummy's been pretty lazy.
Kev: Oh yeah?
Thomas: Yeah. She stayed in bed until lunch time, and we were starving, and didn't have our lunch until tea time.
Kev: (stifling a snigger!) Oh, right.

I must just say that I did not stay in bed until lunch time. That would be neglect, I think. No, I stayed in bed until half past eight, and then got up and spent a lot of the day cleaning up my children's mess that had been created in the half hour before I got up. But I did sit down for a couple of hours and watch Billy Elliot with them. But he's a cheeky chuff that young Thomas, because we played some nice games together. We played Usborne football snap (this link won't last forever because it's from a shop, so click on it now if you don't want to miss it!), and we played in the garden a lot, doing much wrestling and chucking of the giant birthing ball!
This is not me on this particular birthing ball! This is just a picture from Google. Our birthing ball is blue, and it lives in the garden, and it was never used for 'birthing'! But it has been worth its money, because it has been used as a marvellous giant ball for throwing and catching, and also for knocking people over in a hilarious and non-hurting way :) James loves it the most and spends a lot of time asking for it to be thrown at him, and he fends it off using various karate moves that he has learned from watching Karate Kid, and Kung Fu Panda!

Oh, I did not explain my feet photo! That is a photo of my feet, yes. I'm brave to upload that photo, because I don't really like feet. I think I have quite nice feet myself, but I don't really like looking at other people's, even if they're nice. Feet that are horrid make me shudder*. If you ever see me shudder after I've just looked at your feet, please, don't take it personally, it's completely involuntary and it doesn't mean that your feet are hideous, it's just an irrational fear that I have! I don't know what it is that I think your feet might do to me, but I am afraid of them. I can handle mine and my children's, but that is all.
But I put the photo there anyway, because this is one thing I achieved this weekend - the painting of my toenails! Personal grooming is not something I take at all seriously. As long as I'm clean I'm not really bothered about any additional stuff that I should be doing. I'm too lazy. But I do like to keep my toenails nice when it's flip flop weather, and since I have these lovely new red Reefs I thought I should compliment them with some nice silver varnish. And of course, whenever I get the nail polish out the boys swarm around me and threaten to blob and smudge my nails until I promise to do theirs too. So Thomas has gone to school with silver finger- and toenails, and Matthew has gone to nursery with his done as well. James wanted to wait until another day, I'm not sure why. Thomas said that he wasn't bothered if his friends at school called him a girl because he's used to it. Fine. Good.

So that was really all I managed to accomplish this weekend. Oh, I did manage to achieve non-grumpiness for the whole two days :D Yes, that's a major achievement, and I give myself a pat on the back for that one. And we managed to achieve, as a team, the getting of nice presents for Kev for Fathers Day :) We got him a Wii game, a DVD, and some flowers! The flowers were Thomas's idea, and he was very pleased with himself :) What a fab little boy he is. The way he sees it, mums get flowers on Mothers Day, so dads should get them on their day too. Quite right. More men should receive flowers. I will put that in my manifesto when I run for Parliament as an independent candidate!

Here's to the start of a lovely week - cheers.



*shudder sh ədər|verb [ intrans. ](of a person) tremble convulsively, typically as a result of fear orrepugnance : he shuddered with revulsion | [with infinitive ] figurativeI shudder to think of retirement. See note at shake .(esp. of a vehicle, machine, or building) shake or vibrate deeply: the train shuddered and edged forward.[usu. as adj. ] ( shuddering) (of a person's breathing) beunsteady, esp. as a result of emotional disturbance : he drew a deep, shuddering breath.nounan act of shuddering : the elevator rose with a shudder | figurative the peso's devaluation sent shudders through the market.PHRASESgive someone the shudders informal cause someone to feel repugnance or fear : it gives me the shudders to hear you use words like that.DERIVATIVESshudderingly |ˈʃəd(ə)rɪŋli| adverbshuddery |ˈʃəd(ə)ri| adjectiveORIGIN Middle English (as a verb): from Middle Dutchschūderen, from a Germanic base meaning ‘shake.’

Friday, 18 June 2010

Randomness (with a few Wiki-links to click on - enjoy)

(First paragraph to be read in the voice of Jessica from Twilight!!):

So, have you ever, like, done some stuff, sort of thing, and like, not realised you've done it, you know, and, like, when you realise that you've done something, you like, totally don't remember doing it, and so like, you wonder whether it was, like, a ghost that did it, or something, or maybe, like, magic, or something, you know?

(Normal voice now, ta.)
I do. All that time.

This morning, I arrived home from dropping the kids of at school (cycling - YES - cycling again, wonderful pain in the legs!), and went straight round the back to put my bike away, watered some pots in the garden that were looking dry despite having been heavily watered last night, then went to the front door to finally go inside the house. But when I put my hand in my left jeans pocket to take out my keys: GASP!!! They were not there! They were in my right jeans pocket!! How had this happened? I absolutely know that I put my keys in my left jeans pocket, because I remember checking that pocket before I closed the door (because I have locked myself out a few times!). I also remember having my hands in my pockets while I was standing at school, and I know the keys were in my left pocket then. So somewhere between school and home, I have either been got by a tremendously talented and non-malicious pickpocket who has taken my keys out of one pocket, and deposited them in the other; or I have transferred my keys from one pocket to the other with the powerful power of my subconscious MIND!!! It must be the last one, because I was on my bike all the way home. I would have noticed if a talented and non-malicious pickpocket had been on the back I think.

Glad I've cleared that one up. I feel better now, knowing that I can do telekinesis. I always suspected that I could, and now I know. I am Jean Gray.

More dangerously, I do get to places in the car and not remember how I got there. I might set off to my mum's house, and arrive there a short time later, not know which route I took or even whether there were any other cars on the road. I would have no clue as to whether I stopped for any red lights, or if I killed any small animals that had run out into the road. Very dangerous. I know I am not alone in this, but I suspect - and I don't mean to generalise, or be sexist at all - that it might be a female thing. I have heard other ladies mention this strange and dangerous tendency to go into a sort of semi-catatonic state whilst driving, but I've never heard a man mention it. Perhaps the men are just lying about it though, so that they can say women are worse drivers. Or maybe it's just dizzy people in general, like me.

So anyway:
COME ON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!!

(11 exclamation marks there, for the 11 England players on the pitch at any one time! - oh, and another one there for Capello.)

Very excited about the match tonight. We are watching it at home, hopefully on the projector screen if I can work out how to turn the projector on, and how to open the screen. Hmm. Shouldn't be too difficult, but as we know in this house from previous World Cups, things rarely go to plan when it comes to projectors and screens! So we might be just watching it on the telly - either way, it's going to be exciting. The football's the main attraction of course - but what we love about the World Cup, more than any other tournaments or single matches, is that it unifies people. Yes, I know it's cliched to say it, but it's true. Alright, I know it doesn't unify everyone, because plenty of people just can't abide football. But for those who have even a passing interest, they become enthralled with it for these few weeks every four years. It unifies more than the Olympics. Unless you know people who are competing in the Olympics I don't think there are many people who open their houses and invite everyone in to watch events. But this happens all over the world when the World Cup is on - people gather together, and get excited, and cheer and scream and shout at the screen, and jump up and down and hug each other when goals are scored, and it's tremendous. It doesn't really matter who wins the tournament in the end, because the atmosphere and excitement is precious and is the best part of the whole thing, always. Two World Cups ago (I don't remember details, I'm usually just enjoying the atmosphere, and possibly being drunk as well), was it Japan or somewhere? And the games were on at strange times? And one England match started at 7 in the morning? We all trucked round to our mates' house, Phil and Hannah, and had a fantastic time. Nobody was the slightest bit bothered that it was so early in the morning - the beer flowed, the company was light-hearted and happy. Oh, I think we lost, and that was when we went out, lol, but I don't really remember all of that, because I just remember the anticipation, and the high spirits. I had to go to work afterwards, but I came back at the end of the day and everyone was still enjoying the party. Marvellous times.

Let's hope we all have a marvellous time tonight. Not a full house, by any means, but Kev's parents, and Noomski and Jessica, some barbecued food, and some beer (not for me or the kids, of course!) AND SOME FOOTBALL - WAHEY!!!

Lx.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Bike It to School

What a stonking good idea, Bike It to School Day. I can't believe I'm such a numpty that I never thought, with my own brain, to cycle to school with the boys before this. And isn't it astonishing what the promise of free food will do to people?? I've never seen so many bikes at school; there were so many that they had to be locked up in the main playground, on both sides! I felt quite emotional when we got there, all these children and parents looking very pleased with themselves - and well so! It was wonderful. There were people waiting at the gate to ask if our bikes needed fixing (for free), and pupils directing us to the breakfast table that had been set up in the playground, where we could help ourselves to brioche, croissants, apples, bananas and juice (for free).

I was only able to ride myself because James is cycling properly. That's a very lucky thing, because he's only 4. He's done very well to find so much confidence so young. He just seemed to know that he was going to be able to cycle before he'd even been on the bike he's using now. He never bothered with stabilisers! Tremendous. I'm that proud :)
Matthew has quite a way to go before he can cycle himself. He has a little 12"wheeled bike, that was James's, and he can pedal it ... but only backwards. Hmm. I think he'll be on the back of my bike for quite some time. We've had the child seat for the back of my bike for years. I only used it about twice with Thomas, and I thought that I didn't like it because it was heavy. Shows how relative everything is, because I barely noticed it was there today - light as anything, and Matthew is older and heavier than Thomas was when he sat in it a few years ago. I think the last few years of chucking three children about has given me some splendid muscles. I could no doubt do quite well in World's Strongest Man (goodness knows I could pass for a fella right now!).

So, we're thinking that we might like to cycle every day now. Yes, I know, shocking! That amount of effort and exercise in a week could very nearly kill me if I'm not careful. So I'll have to make sure I eat some chocolate every day. And perhaps some cake as well. And possibly the odd packet of crisps.
Tomorrow me and Thomas are going to try an experiment, and see if we have enough time to cycle from nursery (which doesn't open until 8.30am) to school by five to nine. If we're late then I think school will have a bit of a cheek in telling Thomas off for being late for such an important reason!

Eeh, good stuff. It felt ever so nice to be cycling with Thomas and James this morning. They do cycle themselves whenever I'm organised enough to walk to school. But they're usually way off ahead of me and I have to run with the pram to keep up. Today I was right alongside them, and we were able to chat and have a laugh all the way. It's not a lot, but every little bit of time we can spend together and enjoy a few smiles and laughs is precious, eh? I keep discovering these extra few minutes in my days, and I can't be sure, but I think I've managed to somehow make my days into 26-hour ones, give or take a few minutes. I'm not sure how that's happened.

Healthy stuff.

Time for a cup of tea and biscuit.

Mmm, cake.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Friends, awww

I had something all mushy and gushy to write about friends, but I came home from school and spent the morning by myself and forgot what it was that I was going to say.

I like friends.

Friends are good.

Friends are important.

Sometimes I'm not a good friend, but sometimes I am. Depends.

I'm so much of a loner that I probably come across as being moody with my friends from time to time. I'm sure of that. I know that I snap at people, and that I sigh when I'm obviously thinking that something my friend is saying is ridiculous, even though they're not actually saying anything ridiculous at all, it's just that I'm in a bad mood. It's nothing to do with the friend - it's usually a 'it's not you, it's me' sort of thing. If I feel like I've seen the same person too much (for too much read more than one visit a week that's long enough to have a cup of tea and biscuit) then I sometimes get ratty. If I make plans to see someone more than once in a week I usually enjoy the first visit, but then cancel any subsequent meet-ups, because I'm a cow!

Selfish, you see? I don't like giving up too much of my time. I'm greedy with my time. I like to store it up, selfishly, and use it all completely by myself. I might waste a lot of it, but at least I've spent it by myself and no-one has stolen it from me. It's my time to waste. If I share it with someone, then it becomes half theirs and I don't control it any more.

But then most days are like today, when I don't really feel like that. Friends are precious today. Friends give spontaneous hugs that catch you off guard and make you have to rush off before you burst into tears in front of them and look like a wally (thank you for that hug yesterday Sara - it made my week!). Friends also tell you that your hair looks fab, even when you think you've made yourself look like a boy and wish you'd just gone to Jo & Cass to get it fixed. Friends are all over the place, my little world is saturated with them, and they're just about everywhere I look. There are friends within my family, there are friends within other people's families, there are very young friends, and very old friends (my oldest friend, in age, is Olga, and I think she must be about 85 now - though I haven't seen her for a while, and would love to get back in touch with her, because she was a right laugh when I worked with her at the uni!), there are friends that wave when they're on Lollipop duty, there are friends all over the world that send (((((hugs))))) over the magical interweb. There are friends who haven't been met yet - exciting!

Lots of friends.

Lovely.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Dang! I did it again!


Before (well, quite a long time before, this photo is about a year old, but this is about how long my hair was this morning)...

... and, After!
This is what my hair looks like now! What an idiot, eh?! Yes. I don't know what comes over me sometimes, I really don't. This urge to purge myself of my unruly (and usually two-tone, it's the two-toneness that usually drives me over the edge) and frizz-prone hair usually grips me every three or four years. This is now the fifth time I've done it, I believe. The first time was at uni, when I was 21. I was drunk, and got my drunk friend to do a grade 1 on me. I really liked it then; it was very, very short and bristly, and I used to bleach it and dye it different colours like navy blue and scarlet. One deep regret in my life is that I never dyed it green. Of course, there's still plenty of time.
The second time I did it was when Thomas was a baby. I remember with crystal clarity the moment when Kev came through the door and I was cradling a teeny Thomas, and Kev's jaw nearly hit the floor when he saw me. He'd never seen me with short hair before. He quite liked it that time, I think. That was the only time he liked it. Then I did it a few more times when Thomas was little, and then when James arrived too. But I haven't lopped it off for about four years now. Every time I swear that I'll never do it again, and then I just wake up one day and almost involuntarily get the clippers out. It's like I'm sleep walking. There's never any indication when I go to bed the night before that I'll be losing my hair the next day, no warning at all. It's not something I really have any control over. Even this morning as I plugged in the clippers I caught myself thinking Are you sure you really want to do this? Because it's not to late to stop you know, and I replied to myself with stony silence and just got on with it.

IDIOT! I know that it kind of suits my face - being one of those horsey-faced kind of people - and that it's nice to feel fresh and cool in the summer. And it's much quicker to deal with in the morning: just stick a bit of wax on and ruffle it up a bit, bish, bash, bosh, done. But I kind of miss my long hair already. I always know that I'll miss it, but I go ahead and shear it off anyway. IDIOT! It's not even as if it was particularly nice long hair - I was in the middle of growing it out of a stupid bob (that I didn't ever like!). I was looking forward to getting it so long that it would be heavy enough to leave down without straightening. FOOL!

Fortunately my hair grows very quickly, winter and summer, so it'll be back to straightenable length in no time at all. In the meantime I will be doing the pixie thing again! It's all because I have zero patience when it comes to my hair. I can't be bothered to wait for the colour I've become bored of to grow out, can't be bothered to go and see if a hairdresser can blend the colour in for me, just can't be bothered. The easy option always seems to be the clippers - it actually always turns out to be the harder option in the end, because of the strange carpet effect my hair achieves all by itself when it is left without some kind of product on it. IDIOT!

Ah well. Never mind. I just hope that I'll be presentable at Noomski and Jessica's wedding at the beginning of October! Cripes - I'd forgotten about that. I was going to have lovely hair for that - not any more, oops.

But thank you to all the lovely ladies in the playground this morning who complimented my hair very sincerely. There's nothing actually wrong with the style - I quite like it really. I just miss my long hair, that's all.

IDIOT!

I am resisting the urge to say 'I'll never do it again', because it's very likely that I'll end up having to eat my words! But, I do really hope that I never do it again ...


Monday, 14 June 2010

A new relationship

Nothing much to write about this morning really. Life is just plodding on lovelily, as it usually does. Nice Monday morning, getting the kids ready for the start of a new week, and planning in my head what needs to be done around here (knowing full well that almost all of it will not get done - but who cares, we're having fun, and that's always more important than keeping a tidy house, yes?!).
This weekend the boys stayed over at my mum's. Usually when they come back, I'm evil to say it, but I feel like it would have been nice if they could have stayed over two nights - to give me chance to miss them, of course! I just have no problem at all with being away from them. I've never been one to fret over them when I've gone out for the evening, or when they've gone out for the day with a grandparent. I don't know whether it's done them any particular good, me being that way - they've all still had their clingy phases, and Matthew is in the middle of one now. Actually he's been in the middle of this clingy phase for almost a year now :D Maybe we're getting near the end of it. But anyway, clingy or not, I'm always perfectly happy for someone else to look after them, so that I can do my own thing. I'm incredibly selfish that way. But what can I do? Nothing. I'm happy to be selfish.
And it was nice again this weekend. I was just very lazy while they were with my mum. Usually I get on with some writing, or get some jobs done, but I just couldn't be bothered to do anything this time. I just read, and ate rubbish for most of Saturday. I actually wandered round the house a little bit, looking for something to entertain me! I might possible have been ... bored! A strange and new kind of feeling for me, one that I haven't felt for years. I didn't really like it. I don't plan on feeling bored again, ever.
But I did say that this weekend was nice! Well, it was. And what was nice about it - apart from watching the football with Kev, Noomski and Jessica (who didn't watch much, because she hasn't much interest in it, lol) in the pub - was that I was quite overwhelmed with tremendous joy and happiness when the boys came home on Sunday morning :D Matthew and James came right up and gave me the biggest, squeeziest hugs, and Matthew told me that he'd missed me. It was gorgeous. Thomas wasn't to be outdone, and he leapt onto my knee and wrapped himself around me, in his leggy way, like some kind of giant spider monkey, and squeezed me until I couldn't really breathe. Ace.

I think it's got something to do with the fact that I've stopped shouting at them so much. I've chilled out again, at last. Hope it's permanent. My poor kids, they do suffer the fallout of my bad moods quite a lot. People think I'm laid back and relaxed all the time. Ha ha! It's just a facade, and I've always saved the tyrannical telling offs for home, when the windows are closed so that the neighbours can't hear me screaming blue murder!! But I've been thinking that it's perhaps a bit much to expect absolutely perfect behaviour all the time from three energetic little boys who have so much that they need to say every minute of the day, and so much playing to do, and so many arguments about Playmobil to resolve amongst themselves. On Friday I realised just how GOOD my children really are. I've always suspected that they're quite good, but had it confirmed when we had one of Thomas's friends over for tea. And while he wasn't actually naughty - he surprised me by actually being very good, and having beautiful manners - his playing was like nothing my boys have experienced before (Thomas experiences it at school in the playground, of course - but never in our house). It was ALL about fighting. It was all about fighting, and not pulling punches! It was all about getting people to fall over and hurt themselves. It was all about laughing at someone else's discomfort or pain. I did just let them get on with it, because to a certain extent I could see that it was good for my boys to experience playing with someone much rougher than themselves - they do have a tendency to be a bit ... soft, shall we say?! So, I didn't like the way this particular little boy played, but I couldn't tell him off because he never actually did anything naughty. The fighting was consensual, and my boys lapped it up, enjoying the freedom to burn off all their energy, all laughing hysterically. Laughing hysterically, except when they were crying because it had gotten that bit too rough and someone got hurt - which happened several times. But next time - yes, I will allow there to be a next time, I must be crazy - I'm taking more control of the play. We're going to do some creative stuff when he comes again, and teach this little boy that fighting is not the only way to have fun. We did a little bit of drawing with him, and he was absolutely thrilled, so I'm hopeful that we'll be able to have a calmer time next time he's with us.

So. Nothing else to say today :) Have a good one.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Books

So, I've just bought 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'. I don't really know what it's going to be like - except that it will have zombies in it - or if I will like it at all. I've a funny feeling that I've just paid a lot of money for a daft book that looks incredible, all faux-leather bound, but that I will hate. I am a terrible phoney when it comes to reading. You know when you write a profile of yourself? We all have to write profiles these days don't we, for Spacebook and MyFace and all these things? And it asks you what your hobbies are, doesn't it? Well, I always put the usual things that sound very dull and unsociable - reading, writing, walking, thinking, blah, blah, blah... And then it asks you what books are your favourites, and that's when I start to be revealed as a right fraud. I put my usual favourites of Lord of the Rings (everyone has to put that, so that they look intelligent), His Dark Materials, The Art of Happiness; and then the ones that I don't really want to put because society says that I must be embarrassed by them, but I have to put something, so I put Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Twilight!!! And that's when I'm exposed. I'm NOT a great reader, and just like Elizabeth Bennett, I don't deserve such praise (see I've put that there to impress you with my knowledge of literary characters, when everyone knows everything there is to know about Pride and Prejudice - without zombies - because we all did it for GCSE or O Level! Fraud!)
There are quite a lot of people who are great readers (or they say they are - how am I to know if they are telling the truth, when I haven't read any of the Great Books they've read, so I can't ask them questions to try to catch them out!), and usually I've never heard of more than a quarter of the authors and books they mention. I'm ashamed. How can a person be a published author if they haven't read any of the Great Books of our time? I don't even know what the Great Books of our time are! It's not right is it, and it shouldn't be allowed really. I should put more of an effort in, to read good, high-moral-fibre-providing literature. I'll start as soon as I've read the zombie book.

I would dearly love to be a great reader, but I get too obsessed with the trashy stuff. You know the stuff that's designed specifically to suck us in and maintain a firm stranglehold, and make us buy Merchandise? Well, I'm intelligent enough to know that that's what it's written for, but I allow it to take hold of me anyway. *Sigh, at own stupidity* I hardly ever read anything that's obscure, that no-one has really heard of, that is gritty and thought-provoking. I did try Neil Gaiman's American Gods, but got about fifty pages in and realised that I was mind-numbingly bored. I have to assume that since the book was written by someone marvellously talented and brainy, that the fault is with me for being a rubbish reader, and for not being clever enough to care about the characters in Gaiman's story. I preferred Stardust, because it was fun! I like my literature to be fun, if at all possible. And if it's not possible for it to have great dollops of chucklingness, then it at least needs to have some real magic in it. I like Fantasy very much - haven't really tried Science Fiction, but I will at some point. I've always assumed that I'm not clever enough to understand SF, but I've learned lots about science in the past few years, so maybe I could keep up now.

I might possibly be being a little hard on myself actually. Let me look at what I've read this year. I have read a fictional account of the last years of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov. I've read Twilight, twice - ahem, moving swiftly on *blushes horribly, as impure thoughts of Edward Cullen try to invade her mind, again*. I've read The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon - stonkingly beautiful fantastical story, lots of magic, very good. I've read almost a whole encyclopaedia of spirits - that was an enormous book; learned a lot about faeries and things. Oh, and I read a few of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels - they're always very, very enjoyable. I read Small Gods - that's my signed copy of Small Gods, yes. Signed by the author, not just by anyone! Yes. Terry Pratchett, yes, I met him. He is the only famous person I have ever met, and not at all a celebrity to be ashamed of :) (Oh, no he isn't the only one, I met the guy with the massive hair out of Toploader whose name I can't remember, but who was incredibly good-looking!)
At the moment I am reading a book called A Fraction of the Whole, a novel by Steven Toltz. I can't really describe it in any way that will do it justice, but it's a funny story about a man, his dad, and his dad's brother. That's all I can tell you really. You'll have to read it - I'm sure my description of it has you completely intrigued!! (Now you can see why I will never be paid to write book reviews!) It's an excellent book, and not like anything I've ever read before - but strangely, it is like something I'm writing. That's quite bizarre because the thing I am writing was started months before I'd even heard of Toltz's book.

Well, I think I have proven, with these witterings today, that I am definitely NOT a great reader. I read a lot of books, but I fall so desperately in love with so many of them that I have to spend a lot of time re-reading books that I've already read more than once. This is a problem, because it means I never get around to reading that biography on Marx that my dad bought for me a few years ago, or that copy of Catch 22 that I got for £2 from HMV in 1999, or that collection of essays on the Elizabethan underworld that I bought from a charity shop when I was sixteen. I really should take my reading more seriously.

So, I will now go and get on with Mr Toltz's book - this is a book I'm not ashamed to be reading, because it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for 2008. Oh yes, it's THAT good. When I've finished it I absolutely will not read Twilight or Harry Potter again, definitely not. At least not this year. Maybe next year. If I've been good and have read several books that are very high-brow indeed. Maybe.



Wednesday, 9 June 2010

I'm in my brain

I feel like a strange and interesting change has come over me. I think I woke up the other day and was just a bit different. I don't really know what I mean by that. Something's just different in my mind, the way I see myself I think. I think I've moved on from something, but I don't know what it is I've moved on from, or to. I'm feeling all kind of wooly.

Perhaps I'm just tired :D

So this is a picture (below) of a human brain. I don't know what all the different sections of it are for, but I thought I'd post it because I've been a little bit fascinated by brains this week. I saw one being cut up on The Story of Science, and it was just incredibly interesting. Imagine all of the stuff that happens in our bodies, as well as our consciousness, stemming from this strange looking lump of matter. It's completely mind-boggling! It's like one of those things you discuss at Uni, when you're drunk, that just makes you stop and go 'oh ... wow ... my mind is melting ... this is too complex and massive for my brain to cope with'! It's like our minds - the minds of those of us who are not geniuses - can handle the middle sized things, the every day things, the things we see happen all the time. But they can't cope with things that happen on a gargantuan scale - such as galaxies forming. And equally they can't cope with things that happen on a nanoscale - such as cells dividing. All completely, bafflingly beautiful.



(I was going to post a picture of an actual human brain, but when it came to it I, strangely, found myself feeling rather squeamish. Couldn't do it. Weird. Sorry.)


This is what I am doing quite a lot of the time. Thinking, pondering, wondering, staring into space with a vacant look on my face. Pretty sure I'm just tired actually! Probably I should get some decent sleep, and stop staring into space until midnight, and then I'll be able to think more clearly.

Yesterday I was thinking about my childishness. I was thinking about the reason I know I'll never properly grow up actually. It was while I was playing with James and Matthew in The Zone for four hours that I realised that I'll never be able to call myself a 'woman', because I'll always be a girl. This is fine by me - I don't want to be a woman, ever. (I'm not saying I want to be a man!) So I made a list of things that I am still able to do now, that I thought I would not still be doing by the age of 33.
  • Playing in soft play areas
  • Talking to imaginary people
  • Pretending to be on magical and epic quests when I am walking somewhere by myself (I see dragons on these quests, and I carry a sword, and fight orcs, and sometimes I ride an imaginary horse, and I always have a band of motley companions)
  • Climbing trees (my favourite thing to do outdoors!)
  • Believing that the stories in books and films are REAL - I truly believe that Middle Earth and Pandora exist!
  • Watching Dogtanian and the Muskehounds
  • Enjoying picking my own scabs and prodding my own bruises
This is just what I thought of yesterday. There are many more things I do that a person of my age probably wouldn't normally be doing, but I'm going to strive to keep doing them until I'm 113. I've picked 113 as the age at which I will die, and I'm sticking to that. My Uncle Andrew has said that he will be 116, so I'll die six years after him as he's only nine years older than me (have I got the maths right there? I usually don't get the maths right).

That was completely random!
I just spoke to a lady who's working on a documentary for Channel 4 :) She just phoned to speak to me as I was writing this. It was in response to a text I sent yesterday. I'd forgotten about it. They're making a documentary on the differences between raising a family full of girls, with a family full of boys. I thought it would be good to get a chance to participate because we have three ace boys. We chatted, and it was nice, and I wanted her to say that we could be on the telly, but she didn't, lol :) Our boys are too young for this particular project, which would involve swapping children with another family for the weekend. I think Thomas and James would be alright with that, but Matthew would be another story, lol. He'd be very upset to leave me (won't have a choice in October when I go off to sun myself in Barbados for a week, ha ha!). Oh, and he'd be very upset to leave Kev too, of course :D

So, back to normal. Where was I, before thoughts of celebrity and riches forced themselves to the front of my mind?!

Ah yes, I was about to finish off this post. I have two hours to get some writing done before collecting J and M. I caught an inspiration particle for a new story this morning, dammit! There I was, just minding my own business, making a cup of tea and some toast with lemon curd, when this story just dropped into my brain. I let out a little gasp of surprise, then giggled with delight as I realised the whole story was right there, and then frowned and said 'oh no' because this was what happened when I was writing my Faerie story - Freaky Jones just forced her way in, and prevented me from seeing the faeries clearly. I can't have another story come and block my view of Freaky. This has got to stop right here! I'll make a quick note of the new story, but that's it - literally, a note. No more. Freaky Jones must be finished this year - early next year at the latest. I'll never get anything published if I keep starting stories but never finishing them - flaky procrastinator, I am!

So, onward ...

Monday, 7 June 2010

Chinese themed weekend, Part II

Alright, it's a tenuous link - there's not much that was really Chinese themed about this, but the dragon heads on the boats were Chinesey, so I'm sticking with it!

It was the Dragon Boat Challenge yesterday. Something I need to add to my list of things to do next year. My mum and Janine were in one of the crews - the Quernmore Sheepdog Handlers crew, actually :) So we went along to support - we were actually going to go along and watch anyway, but the fact that we knew people racing made it all the more exciting.
Actually, it turned out to just be a lovely relaxing day. The boys were tired from being up late the night before, and the night before, and the night before. So they were fairly quiet, and happy to just stand along the river bank and watch the races. No telling-offs required at all, I was a very proud mummy :) There's not really much to tell about the day, which just consisted of watching (and photographing and videoing) Grandma Denise and Janine in their races, eating some burgers and hotdogs and chips, and visiting the Raptor Centre stall (pictures further down).

It rained a fair bit, on and off, all day. But we didn't mind that at all, it was rather pleasant because it was quite a muggy sort of day. So we got a bit soaked, but sometimes you've just got to say 'to hell with it', and get wet. Nice.

So, here's what we saw:

Lots of racers in their boats on the beautiful River Lune.
This is the stretch next to Halton Training Camp (the boys were very excited to be able to walk through the camp and see some soldiers!).


Janine is the one grinning at us :D She was the best rower, of course!

Here is our team, just about to come in with their second best time, and win themselves a mention as 'Most Improved Team', knocking 6 whole seconds of their first time. Yes, 6 whole seconds! Astounding!

Here's my mum, Grandma Denise, doing the drumming and shouting 'One... Two... One... Two...'. Very good. Very professional drumming. Those drumming lessons are certainly paying off.

In between races we went to explore some of the stalls, and after a good bounce on an ENORMOUS bouncy castle, we were surprised and delighted to see the Raptor Centre's stall. We've seen these birds before, at Cartmel Races, but we never tire of stroking them and watching their big eyes, and hearing their rescue stories. Thomas's favourite animal is the barn owl, and he's had his photo taken with a few now. This one is called Simba, and is 22 years old. Simba loves humans, and thinks that she is one :) He was pretty upset when this man was telling us that he thought barn owls would be extinct in the next five to ten years :( Let's hope something can be done to protect them in the wild.


This Eagle Owl is called Abu. Abu also loves humans, and enjoys the attention that he gets. He was taken into care because his owners couldn't be bothered to take him to a vet when he had a broken wing. Abu is about 20 years old. He should hopefully live for another 20 or 30 years, so we will see him lots more times. Simba too :)

Fire engines are always very good to have a sit in. If there's one around at this kind of event it's always important to have your photograph taken whilst sitting inside it. I always do. This engine got a call and had to rush off, but it was okay, we were not without something amazing to look at for long, because then a helicopter came in to land :) We think the helicopter brought a celebrity with it, but we didn't see who. I did spot Miss Morecambe 2010 walking around, but I don't think she came in on the helicopter.

This is me trying to sound knowledgeable about fire safety equipment, as Thomas bombards me with questions about what everything is. Of course, I did my First Aid badge at Brownies when I was 8, so I knew all about it. I think Thomas was very impressed with my knowledge about boots, radios and breathing apparatus.

And of course, you should always have your photograph taken at the front of the fire engine, so that everyone knows it's a fire engine.

Is there really a better way to finish off a weekend, and indeed a half-term holiday, than by sitting in the bay window watching the most stunning, clear and bright, full rainbow? I don't think so. This one reached from the top of the Chinese State Circus tent (as it was being dismantled yesterday evening), and landed in the Castle. Spectacular, and very beautiful.

That was a good weekend. Thanks boys, for being so well-behaved, and so much fun :) (And even Matthew, who was feeling poorly yesterday, but still got dragged to the river to watch the boats - well done little fella :) .)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Chinese themed weekend, Part I

There are so many places in the world that I need to know more about, need to travel to and experience firsthand, need to at least see once before I die. China, surely, has to be one of them. Things happen in our lives that make us realise how ignorant we are from time to time, and this weekend has been just such a time. I know next to nothing about China, its past or its present.

A quick list, of countries that I must see in the next few years, otherwise I'll be very annoyed!:

CHINA, JAPAN, RUSSIA, AUSTRIA, GERMANY, USA, AUSTRALIA, SWEDEN, ICELAND, BRAZIL!
(off the top of my head!)

And, you know, I haven't the foggiest idea how we'll pay for trips to these places - with three kids in tow as well - but what's the point in existing on this wonderful planet if we don't explore it as much as we're able? That's just me anyway. Lots of people don't want to explore it, and that's fine too :)

So, anyway, it was China this weekend. As I mentioned yesterday, we were off to the Chinese State Circus in the evening, and I was very excited.

Oooooooh, it was very good!

Mm-hmm. Yes it was. As soon as the first performers came on I was fighting back tears, because I am a right big softie :) I felt a bit sad for them, because the auditorium wasn't even half full, and the audience took quite a while to warm up. I did a couple of whoops on my own and clapped as hard and loud as I could, lol. What the hell, I enjoyed it immensely. Wish Lancaster could have received them a bit more enthusiastically, as they deserved to be packed out for every performance. And I hated that the audience started to leave before the performers had finished their final bows - it was rude, and I was embarrassed by it. I clapped and cheered as loud as I could to compensate for the missing audience members, who should have shown more respect by staying in their seats until the curtain closed. The performers gave everything they had to us, never wavered in their professionalism, never let their smiles falter for a moment, despite ours being their third performance of the day - and the least they should have been able to expect in return was our attention right until the end.
Anyway, I watched the boys as much as I could, and they were just rapt the whole time. Thomas's mouth was a perfect 'O' every time I looked at him. And no wonder. I mean, is there a better time to spend a Saturday evening, than watching death-defying feats of tremendous bravery and dexterity? I don't think so. I don't know about you, but I could quite happily watch contortionists bending themselves completely in half and putting their own feet on their ears from around the back of their heads every day of my life. I wouldn't mind having some of those shaolin warriors in my back garden, so that whenever I paused for a restful cup of tea, I could broaden my mind by learning how to centre my energy and impale myself on spears and such without feeling any pain. Or I could just wonder at the beauty of the human form as I watched the warriors doing their thing, if I was feeling a bit lazy. And I don't think a person could ever tire of watching two people suspended by their ankles or wrists or waists from lengths of silk, spinning and twirling through the air in a dance that they make look as effortless as breathing. (That one did make me cry, it was just stunning.)

Here are some photos of the Chinese State Circus that I pinched from Google Images (don't know if that's allowed, but I am acknowledging now that the photos are not mine, and that I cannot take credit for their beautifulness!).


Of course, as predicted, Thomas went completelycrazy when we left the circus. Actually, it started before we'd even got out of the tent, as he leapt, with astounding grace for a six-year-old, from his seat and landed beautifully on the grass, arms outstretched for the perfect finish. He then proceeded to show us exactly how he'd been paying attention to every act, and he sprang, dived, rolled and pirouetted across the park without stopping for even the tiniest second. He found a stick, and a pine cone, and practised his balancing whilst trying to do the splits. We called in at my grandparents' before we went home, as they live next to the park, and Thomas seemed to be in his own little world as he carried on with his acrobatics for half an hour in the middle of the room as if no-one else was there. I don't think he was actually aware that he was being watched, and it was quite an amazing thing to see. Absolutely hilarious, but amazing too.

So I went to bed thinking beautiful thoughts.

Part II to follow tomorrow.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Sometimes a blog just needs to serve as a diary - apologies for emptying my brain here today!



I'm just like a big, bulgey and squashy bag of thoughts at the moment! So sorry for the ramblingness of posts for the time being - I can't pin down any ideas to write about them properly...

Just waiting for Noomski to send me some pictures that he took of me last night. (Got them now, see above!) Sometimes, in the right light, with a very good camera, and a bit of distance, I can look quite nice :) I don't usually photograph well - I seem to have one of those faces that always gets captured pulling a very strange gurn* whenever a camera comes near me :) Thomas is the same - or at least he was when he was a baby. I remember looking at the photos we used to take of him, and being frustrated that we couldn't get a photo that showed him as he really looked. I knew that he was beautiful, but always felt like people wouldn't believe me when I showed them his photographs!

* gurn |gərn|
verb [ intrans. ] chiefly Brit.make a grotesque face : [as n. ] ( gurning) gurning is one of the fair's most popular competitions.DERIVATIVESgurner nounORIGIN early 20th cent.: dialect variant of grin .

Anyway, last night's photos were taken because we went to a fancy dress party, and I was dressed in the costume that I wore to my friend's '60's themed 40th birthday party a little while ago. I made the dress myself (with some expert guidance from my seamstress mum :) ), and I'm very proud of it. I would like to make more dresses, because I really did enjoy making it. There's something ever so relaxing and focusing about using a sewing machine, I absolutely love it. But I've no reason to make dresses really. I wouldn't wear them, and they actually turn out to be more expensive than buying clothes ready made :( I could make my own dress for Noomski and Jessica's wedding though. It really wasn't all that long ago that people made their own clothes all the time though, was it? It's so strange how the world changes, and different ways of being become normal so quickly. My mum talks about how she loved spending her evenings making clothes for me and my brother, and about knitting while she watched us play (I've done that myself - only really made scarves though, nothing so complicated as my mum used to make). But perhaps lots of people are striving to go back to more traditional ways of living, and I think that's marvellous. My friend Emily's blog, The Tangled Yarn, is very inspiring - she has moved onto a smallholding, and pops into the blogoverse to tell us about things she's been making (the Jamaican Crunch Pie looked DIVINE!), with scrumptious photos that make us all feel uplifted and encourage us to have a go.

But I was talking about the party. I love family parties. I have a lovely family :) And family just seems extremely important this week. There's been so much sad loss, and of course, that invariably makes a person think about what they have.

And I have everything :)

I mean, it's no wonder I'm so goddam happy all the time, is it? My boys are fantastic, and I have my family all close by. And I have lovely friends - who I don't see too much of so as to get sick of them! I have Kev :) And I have my beautiful friend Jamie, all the way over in Arizona, who is another inspiration to me, constantly. Life gets pretty tedious and tough at times, but it's not hard to look around and find beautiful things everywhere. I still have not watched Life is Beautiful properly, but I know that the sentiment is true.

Oh yes, I was talking about the party! Off on tangents today, sorry :D And what's the best thing about family parties? (Apart from fancy dress costumes, when people's personalities go on display very nicely, and we get a glimpse of their fantasies, as they reveal who they most admire, be it Shrek, Lady Gaga or Dennis the Menace! There really was a splendid selection of costumes last night - photos to follow in next post, though I was too busy enjoying myself to take many.) Dancing! Dancing like a loon. My mum loves to dance :) And I love to dance :) Some serious hip-wiggling, and some stomping, and some arm-waving, and quite a bit of pogoing, and some screwing up of the eyes and singing at a ridiculous screechy volume to your old classic rock tunes by Queen and Suzi Quatro (is there actually a better family-party-dancing-tune than 'Devil Gate Drive'? I don't think so). It's one of my favourite things to do, though I don't do it very often. Always do it at family parties though. It always makes me want to organise my own party - but there's the rub: I can't stand organising parties! I get serious nerves, and sweats, and palpitations, from the minute the invitations are issued to the point that the first guests arrive. I think it's about fear of rejection, LOL! But at least it's a nice change from my shy-person days, when the sweats and palpitations would be from fear of someone forcing me to dance in front of other humans.

Waffle, ramble, witter. The problem with this post is that it's taken me about three hours to write - I've been writing it in between cleaning up some juice spills, some poo, and some destroyed Lego games :) I've been getting no time to write anything at all for the past week, so I respectfully asked the boys if they would mind playing nicely while I blogged. Of course, they had no idea what blogging was, but said that of course they didn't mind. But good as they are, even the best behaved kids need things doing and cleaning several times a day. We love this slobbing around the house kind of time, where they get to just play and make mess and get mucky and be free for a few hours. Later I'm taking them to Morecambe for a play on the beach, a bit of paddling, and perhaps an ice-cream if they're good.

And this evening? Oooooooh...

WE'RE GOING TO THE CHINESE STATE CIRCUS!!!!

I'm so excited! :D Very expensive (and that's with three of our tickets at half price!), but I'm very certain that it's going to be well worth it. My dad took me and Noomski to see this same circus a few years ago, and it was excellent. Thomas, I know, will be practising acrobatics and gymnastics for several weeks after this :D They're a little nervous about it right now, as they saw the 'tent' when we went to buy the tickets, and were a little overwhelmed by the size of it, and by the sound of deep bassy drumming coming from inside. They really have no idea what to expect, which is partly what's making me so excited. Will certainly be posting about it tomorrow.

Well, I think that's quite enough of this rambley rubbish. Have a good day everyone.

One more link, just for the hell of it: Muse, 'Supermassive Black Hole', because I love it :D