This didn’t end up being a penance post after all

This is not a sponsored post.  This is a penance post.  Masochists might enjoy reading on.  I said I’d do 40 posts during Lent so by gum I will.  I said I’d give up chocolate and 3 days in I peeled the chocolate off my daughter’s Magnum so she could honour her temperance. She’s still clean but her chocolate habit was tame compared to mine. Yeah, peeled it with my teeth and disposed of the offensive chards in my stomach!  So I’m throwing my weight (and soul) behind the blog promise.

On Friday I went in to town to meet a pal.  Over Lattes and a Mille-Feuille we caught up.  Followed this up with a quick scoot to John Lewis.  Swung by the Kids department and a pair of size 2 ivory satin pomps feel in to my lap with a sales tag  -£7.50!- swinging from them.    To complete my DD’s Holy Communion outfit and bringing it all in for under 50.  With the savings I slid down to Waitrose to buy the lunch I’d need for a play date, bumped in to a neighbour at the till and get an offer of a ride home.  A value-added ride at that.   I know she’s a business mentor and psychotherapist. She asks about my situation.  Without having to lie prostrate I talk  about my confusion, indecisiveness etc.  She pep talks, recommends a book and promises a follow-up over coffee when I’ve read the book.  I disembark feeling slightly less chaotic.

I have 45 mins turnaround time in the house before doing the school run.  I take a Skype call from a good pal who knows me well.  We talk about procrastination.  I tell her about my ride home, she reminds me of an energy therapist she’d recommended and I end up making another pledge.  By our next conversation I’ll have bought the book to bring on the coffee talk and I’ll have made contact with the therapist.

Scrub the penance post title.  No doubt there’ll be one of those soon.  No this post has earned its keep. Another step towards my resurrection.






It didn’t matter that Nothing happened -cos it did kindof.

What if I am being prompted and beckoned by ‘opportunities’,   daily  even, but I’m just not tuned in to the right frequency.  How tragic would that be? Though how easy to repair.  For change to come in to my life I’ve got to make some simple but major little adjustments.  So yesterday I turned the dial.   When clearing the boot as  I vacuumed the car I think I might have picked up a signal.  It took the form of a crumpled up flyer that I very nearly binned.  For a small village in suburbia we have quite an active library.  Last year,   Katheryn Stockett read to us – she was booked in before The Help was made in to the Hollywood blockbuster or even topped the reading polls. I doubt we’d get her now.  For £2, Katheryn, a glass of wine, a cheese and grape kebab and an after eight mint.

The flyer was propped on the counter and caught my eye because  it mentioned L.M. Montgomery, author of my favourite story books –  the Anne of Green Gables series. We weren’t getting L.M but ‘a distant relative’. That was enough of a pull for me.  Also an Author and also Canadian.

I hadn’t clocked that there was any text on the flip side of the flyer. But now I was reading about “Nothing matters:  A talk and debate with Ronald Green”.   On the concept of ‘nothing’ in history, philosophy and religion. And given that Nothing had been happening for me, I thought this might be my sign.   Though still with ailing tooth and now a roast dinner in the oven, I got a ‘freedom pass’ for the couple of hours from my DH and hopped in the car making it to the library with moments to spare.  I guessed it might not draw the crowds – a bit esoteric for the elders that bloat the author receptions.  But I didn’t expect a practically empty parking lot.

When I’d rung the library a couple of hours earlier,  I was assured there was no rush on tickets.  Now as I tentatively approached I thought about how a debate might go if there was only me v Ronald Green. Could I fly the flag for ‘something’ in the face of ‘nothing’.

Though lit up, the building was shut.  I looked through the window and saw…nothing.  Well nobody.   I took the  flyer from my jeans pocket and only then focused on the small details. Date right, time right but venue 4 miles away.  Nothing matters went on without me but you know it didn’t really matter.  Points to me – I’d struck out.

My Phoenix is rising…. fingers crossed

It didn’t happen back in March 2011 (when I started my blog) nor in Jan 2012 (Resolution opportunity) so maybe the 40 day stretch that starts today with Ash Wednesday will be the clinch for regular posting!  That and early nights.  I might stay off chocolate though I don’t want to commit yet.  The fact that I am still nursing a stupendous toothache might be fooling my resolve.  There are sooo many other things I’d love to give up/take up as part of  my ‘Rescue me ‘/’Chasing the boat’ program.

My DD earnestly announced that her Lenten promise was to stop playing on the Wii.  A very noble commitment represented in laminated artwork at school .  Forty days without her console until we calculated that it’s been about that long since she last threw shapes to Just Dance 2!

I chide my kids for watching too much TV with “how is this advancing you in any way” while Tracy Beaker vents in the background.  But what of me and my checking out Facebook.  To my credit I don’t post. I’ve nothing to share with these FB friends. Though I did get a buzz from my ‘chat’ earlier today with an old uni pal whose just had twins.  We were roommates 25 years ago and its been about a decade since we met.  It was nice to have that contact. Brief but sincere.

But what of all the FB banality from my FB friends (friends at its loosest meaning).  There are two guys in particular – both dads now but ladies men of yore.  We’ll call him Alan – my pal lost her cherry to him on an overnight away from his co-habiting partner.  It was a big deal for her, a notch on the post for him.  I last saw Alan 15 years ago.  I gather he’s married and a proud father.  Fair dues.  We’ve had pictures of Kids report cards and merit awards. But to post about how clever his son was for going a couple of nights without soiling his nappy!!  Then this other FB pal – last contact about 10 years ago – an unknown to Alan – posts something along the same lines last week.  I was able to retrieve his post

‘ Great news – my son, just over 2 years now stopped wearing nappies and is happy telling us when he needs to go’  Pleeeeaze!

And this from another ladies man.

The men aren’t the only FB bores.

There’s Eve who tells us – ‘kids in bed, ironing done, glass in hand’.  We get a variant of that every other evening.  Eve – GET A LIFE!

Actually Lily’s would be a good one if it was up for grabs.  We get regular installments about how great her life is as an emigrant in the Southern Hemisphere.  We hear of her front row seats at pop concerts or see her photos ‘by my pool’. Her (self) congratulatory posts to her daughter for academic achievements. Tooooo much I say.

As for me – my brag, which I won’t be sharing on FB, is that I’ve completed this post  –  the first of my forty!

Toothache or earthquake?

If health is wealth,  toothache is destitution. Today I’m poorly.

I was one of those kids who made it to her 6 monthly appointments yet rarely walked away with just a floss. I took my mother along until I went to university and the logistics behind fetching her outweighed the comfort of having her present. Those first few solo visits were especially terrifying. I’d want to make sure the dentist was adequately briefed – was it on my records that I am an extremely nervous reluctant patient.  My mam wasn’t there to set them straight.

A highly skilled and expensive Sikh dentist I attended in my twenties talked me round to having a gold crown.  Very bling and incongruent.  It’s baffled boyfriends/husband since.  Dr Ubi wore a turban and mask so when he cranked up the chair and yanked me back til all I could see were these intense brown eyes I’d agree to whatever treatment he suggested. Though I do recall  drawing the line at his offer to harvest my bone from my hip and graft it in a gap left by an extraction. I developed a similar dependency on Dr Ubi as I’d had on my mother.  For a decade he was the only one to tend to my dental needs.  Until finally gaining a mortgage meant ditching my private dentist.

Now at the mercy of the NHS I take my care where I can find it and still brick it when I walk in to a Dental practice (btw use of the word ‘practice’ doesn’t exactly fill an anxious patient with confidence).

Today’s visit was driven by pain – the tipping point came over the weekend when it got so severe, it dwarfed my inertia.  My mother sent me the prayer to St Peter that my grandfather would recite to her when she had a toothache . He himself wore dentures.  It ends with ‘anyone who keeps this prayer in memory or in writing will never suffer from a toothache’.It’s quite possible that he came upon ‘the cure’ after he got his false teeth.  And though I transcribed it yesterday, I didn’t really believe my pain would vanish.  It didn’t.

My sister evoked Louise Hay’s take on tooth ache.  Root beliefs are being destroyed.  Foundations shook.  Teeth represent decisions.  Long-standing indecisiveness.  Inability to break down ideas for analysis and decisions.

I admit the diagnosis fits.  I do feel like I’m on the brink. By the cliff’s edge.  And all who know me know my problem with decision-making.  Almost as bad as my fear of the dentist.  Almost..

Louise Hay suggests these affirmations ….

“I make my decisions based on the principles of truth, and I rest securely knowing that only right action is taking place in my life.

I create firm foundations for myself and for my life I choose my beliefs to support me joyously.”

And the outcome of today’s appointment? To give the metaphysical the best chance I’ve agreed to the root canal treatment prescribed .

I think I’ve got it covered.

Sins of the father

There’s something very grown-up about attending a parent-teacher meeting.  Or at least there is in the pre-attending stage when you might mention it to your mum on the phone or slip it in to conversation with your neighbour. But when you pitch up at the school, that all evaporates and you feel like the child again.  This is no doubt aided by sitting on midget-size chairs outside the classroom as you wait for your timed slot with the other expectant parents.  Rooting through the  samples of your child’s work set out while sizing up the competition and sneaking a peek at another parents stash.

We’ll call this teacher MissK.  She tends to run over so there’s always a gaggle of parents built up outside in the corridor – all with earlier time slots, still waiting to be seen.

So the pre-consultation consultations begin. With the other parents.

Junior is finding the maths a bit challenging.  Not easy, these fractions.

Really?  We’ve had no grumbles yet. My girl is just getting on with them.

It’s those equivalent fractions …

‘Oh! We haven’t had any of those..

Conversation ends as the penny drops…one child in on extension work when clearly the other isn’t.  Or worse case scenario,  fear sets in and one parent is left wondering if their child is following a remedial math programme.

Time to move on to another parent.

And then it is my turn in the classroom.  Teacher says ‘ Oh dear, lots of parents still to see. No offense but this should be a quick one’. Glances at her prompt sheet. ‘ B-R-I-G-H-T girl but NOT working to her best’.  I hear Chatterbox, daydreamer …terms etched on my soul from my own school reports.  And that’s all I can remember from the 10 minute chat. That’s what I take away.

As soon as I come through the door my seven-year old asks what was said.  As I repeat what I remember my DD sobs.  Should I have cloaked it in innocuous rhetoric.  The teacher didn’t.  But then I’m not 7 and can take the truth.

And whose truth is it at any rate.  I can’t seem to help myself when I start on the ‘ do as I say and not as I did’ routine.  This is where sitting on potential got me blah blah blah. After my 5 minute diatribe I ask my daughter if she can see what I’m getting at and she shrugs.  She’s 7.  Talking aside in class isn’t going to nobble her of her stab at life, swindle her out of a promotion.  But my reaction could be the fodder of a therapy session twenty years from now. I need to get perspective.  I need to get a job!






A pal’s water breaks…can I take her sons while she makes the hospital dash. I hop from the bed I’d taken to a couple of hours earlier, weak with menstrual pains, to receive the two little boys full of anticipation as their family expands and diversifies (it’s to be a girl!). The implications of the offer slowly dawning on DH as he realises this is the night I’ve offered to babysit for another pal.  A night out I reckon won’t happen as that friend, whose family she considers complete, has just found out that her ‘late’ period will not come without intervention.  Meanwhile I wonder if I should cancel the arrangements for tomorrow.  My son’s godmother offered to take our two off our hands while she and her boyfriend take them to the London Aquarium, the South Bank and to some child-friendly eatery for their tea.  She has never regretted the sterilisation procedure she had a couple of years back.  I’m guessing gestures like these reinforce her resolve.  Four women.  Connected. Colliding.