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Headshakes and Bargains 5 March, 2014

Posted by monopod in Him, Observations.
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Last weekend I was supposed to be working while Him took care of the kids. Naturally, after having got the easy stuff out of the way, I procrastinated on my project plan while laughing about Indian headshakes.

I usually joke that Him is being racist when he asks “You Indian ah?”, because it’s typically in response to exchanges like the following:

#1
Him: What do you want to eat?
Me: *noncommittal waggling of head*

#2
Him: I thought you said that was the last time.
Ethan: But this really is the last time. The last last time.

I’m actually concerned that despite Indians laughing about the video maybe it’s like those situations where you can only joke about something if you’re part of the relevant demographic. So I thought I’d finish on a different note. I’m also musing about when you get old enough to bargain like your mother.

2009/2010 26 February, 2014

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.
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My renewed enthusiasm for blogging precipitated a scrolling through of all my Facebook posts from the start of 2011, which was when I started writing again after that last post here in October 2009.

I’ve been thinking about that year (and a bit) after I returned from maternity leave. It was a difficult year on a number of counts, coming to terms with being an inadequate mother, an inadequate wife and an inadequate employee. Hence the reference in an earlier post about not juggling things successfully. Or at all, for that matter. Reflecting on this, part of it was really my fault for having come back to a new job in a completely new area, at a higher grade, and managing a team for the first time – clearly one does like a challenge, which is probably part of the problem (expectations and being your own worst enemy, anyone?)

That was a very difficult Autumn. I wrote posts, and then I cancelled them, and then I wrote them again, and then I abandoned the blog altogether. I nearly had a breakdown partway through the year and was on the verge of handing in my notice, but with some timely support and native stubbornness managed to hang in there. This scrap from early 2011 gives a small flavour of things:

Every night I’m so tired but I dread going to bed, because that just means the morning and more failure comes around all too quickly. Ethan told me yesterday “Look at where your life is going Mummy!” I’m not sure he meant what I took from it, but he’s right, you know?

The return from maternity leave #2 was different – new job again, but a sideways move and this time no management responsibility. The confidence crisis was far less protracted and six months in, I think I’m doing an ok, if not particularly noteworthy, job. I suppose I’m older and wiser, with more work experience, and also had more perspective borne out of the fact that having been forced to leave work on time to pick Ethan up from nursery, and then being too tired to work much once he was in bed and the house put in order, inadvertently gave me a better work/life balance. If I’m honest, though, I do wonder to what degree simply ‘caring less’ about work has to do with it. I now find myself regularly dreaming up exit strategies and wishing I were with the kids. Maybe I’ve just moved further away from being a perfectionist than I would like to think and am actually happy settling for mediocrity at work.

Shudder.

It’s Been Over Four Years 24 February, 2014

Posted by monopod in Ethan, Family, Him, Self-Absorption.
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I was reminded about the existence of my blog this weekend, so took a tentative look at it and decided that I liked what I saw. Rereading some of the posts conjured up such marvellous memories that I decided it would be remiss of me not to capture more and similar, now that I am a mother of two. So yes, that’s what I’ve been busy doing over the past four and a half years; raising and guiding and teaching and occasionally losing my marbles over my now nearly-six-year-old, and learning the ropes all over again with the little dot who is my sixteen-month-old daughter.

There is probably a fair amount of ground that I’d like to document since I all-but-abandoned the blog in 2009 in favour of posting on Facebook, but for now, I thought I’d leave you with two classic exchanges between Him and me, one slightly vintage, and one hot off the press. Hello again world.

#1
Him: Why are you using that knife to spread the butter?
Me: Because I already used it to cut the bagel.
Him: You used a non-serrated knife to cut bread?
Me: Yes.
Him: And now you’re using it to spread the butter?
Me: Yes.
Him: Do you want a screwdriver instead?
Me: Would you like me to stab you with this non-serrated knife?

#2
(while Whatsapping, talking about a house purchase)
Him: That one is promising as well, according to the agent.
Him: Sorry… that last message was mean’t for my dad.
Me: Mean’t???
Me: Disgraceful, hope that was an autocorrect
Me: Anyway, promising as in the lady might accept the offer?
Him: Heheheee… Got someones hairs up…
Me: Alamak then where you need the apostrophe it is missing
Me: *facepalm*
Him: I guess… it need’s to be a joint decision between the two joint owners.
Me: …
Him: Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

One Day 28 October, 2009

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.
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I’m only human, I’m just a woman.
Help me believe in what I could be
And all that I am.
Show me the stairway, I have to climb.
Lord for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time.

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

Late Night Conversations are the Stupidest Conversations 19 September, 2009

Posted by monopod in Him, Self-Absorption.
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Me: I’m tired but I can’t sleep.
Him: Go get a book to read. If you keep trying to sleep it’ll get worse.
Me: *ignores Him and closes eyes*
Him:… or you could talk to me.
Me: Hee hee.
Him: Yeah, because that will probably make you fall asleep right. Because I’m so exhilarating.
Me: I love you precisely because you’re not exhilarating. I love you because you’re boring.
Him: Thanks a lot.
Me: I love you because you’re sturdy and dependable.
Him:…
Me: Like a packhorse.
Him: Go to sleep.
Me: …
Him: Come on, at *least* a shire horse.
Me: Ok, shire horse. Can’t a packhorse be a shire horse? Or is a packhorse more like a donkey?
Him:…
Me: Hee hee.
Him: Go to sleep.
Me: I think I’m going to go blog.

Recent Conversations 5 May, 2009

Posted by monopod in Ethan, Him.
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#1
Me: Ethan bit my toe today. I was sitting down on the chair with my leg tucked beneath me and he was standing up beside me. I looked away for a moment and all of a sudden OW.
Him: He tried to bite my ankle yesterday.
Me: Weird boy.
Him:
Me: Since when have I bitten your ankle??
Him: That’s just social norms.

#2 (eating raisins and in a contrary mood)
Him: Did you take those from the pack that was already open?
Me: There was a pack that was already open? … Well, now there are two packs that are open.
Him: Got expiry dates you know.
Me: They’re raisins.
Him: May have fungus.
Me: …
Him: …
Me: I like fungus.

The Spit of His Mummy 5 May, 2009

Posted by monopod in Ethan.
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Him and I have come to the conclusion that Ethan is really a lot like me. I shan’t sum up all the similarities because exhaustively counting the ways is both impossible and embarrassing*, but let’s just say he may be a Daddy’s boy in appearance, but is definitely a Mummy’s boy in spirit.

*By way of flavour, he forgets that he isn’t supposed to breathe while drinking, is quite contrary when it suits him, has no balance, loves pasta, does this weird lip-licking thing (according to Him; I have certainly detected nothing of the kind) and needs unusual amounts of cuddles.

Protected: Besotted 21 April, 2009

Posted by monopod in Ethan.
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Vignettes 18 April, 2009

Posted by monopod in Observations, Self-Absorption.
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Today I was standing at the counter at the post office, minus brain, when the member of staff who was serving asked me what was in the package I was sending, and I dreamily replied “a birthday present for my mum”. It took me a few seconds to realise he wasn’t really interested in my filial piety.

Then later in the afternoon I got on the escalator and someone tried to pick me up. It would have been flattering except he was creepy, so after he told me I had a sweet face and asked whether I wanted to be his friend I politely told him that I didn’t think it was a good idea, then proceeded to look studiously in the opposite direction and thank my lucky stars that escalators are short.

In other news, today Ethan woke up and had a big milk feed, then ate a big bowl of porridge for breakfast, then had a big milk feed after his morning nap, then had a big bowl of pasta with pork, tomatoes and herbs, then snacked on a biscuit and bits of my fish while we were out in Birmingham, then had two biscuits in the car on the way home, and then had mushroom risotto for dinner before finishing off his epicurean day with a nice big milk feed. I think someone is having a growth spurt.

And finally, the reason that you have been looking at totem animal poetry for the past two months is that I have not been juggling everything successfully and have had to give priority to fending off evil nursery bugs and going to work with all my buttons buttoned in the right order.

Words From A Totem Animal – W.S. Merwin 2 March, 2009

Posted by monopod in Writing.
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I love this. Particularly the last verse.

Words from a Totem Animal

Distance
is where we were
but empty of us and ahead of
me lying out in the rushes thinking
even the nights cannot come back to their hill
any time

I would rather the wind came from outside
from mountains anywhere
from the stars from other
worlds even as
cold as it is this
ghost of mine passing
through me

I know your silence
and the repetition
like that of a word in the ear of death
teaching
itself
itself
that is the sound of my running
the plea
plea that it makes
which you will never hear
oh god of beginnings
immortal

I might have been right
not who I am
but all right
among the walls among the reasons
not even waiting
not seen
but now I am out in my feet
and they on their way
the old trees jump up again and again
strangers
there are no names for the rivers
for the days for the nights
I am who I am
oh lord cold as the thoughts of birds
and everyone can see me

Caught again and held again
again I am not a blessing
they bring me
names
that would fit anything
they bring them to me
they bring me hopes
all day I turn
making ropes
helping

My eyes are waiting for me
in the dusk
they are still closed
they have been waiting a long time
and I am feeling my way toward them

I am going up stream
taking to the water from time to time
my marks dry off the stones before morning
the dark surface
strokes the night
above its way
There are no stars
there is no grief
I will never arrive
I stumble when I remember how it was
with one foot
one foot still in a name

I can turn myself toward the other joys and their lights
but not find them
I can put my words into the mouths
of spirits
but they will not say them
I can run all night and win
and win

Dead leaves crushed grasses fallen limbs
the world is full of prayers
arrived at from
afterwards
a voice full of breaking
heard from afterwards
through all
the length of the night

I am never all of me
unto myself
and sometimes I go slowly
knowing that a sound one sound
is following me from world
to world
and that I die each time
before it reaches me

When I stop I am alone
at night sometimes it is almost good
as though I were almost there
sometimes then I see there is
in a bush beside me the same question
why are you
on this way
I said I will ask the stars
why are you falling and they answered
which of us

I dreamed I had no nails
no hair
I had lost one of the senses
not sure which
the soles peeled from my feet and
drifted away
clouds
It’s all one
feet
stay mine
hold the world lightly

Stars even you
have been used
but not you
silence
blessing
calling me when I am lost

Maybe I will come
to where I am one
and find
I have been waiting there
as a new
year finds the song of the nuthatch

Send me out into another life
lord because this one is growing faint
I do not think it goes all the way

W.S. Merwin

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