The end of 46 Days

At the beginning of March I had a crazy idea. Instead of giving something up for Lent, I would try to do something every day. The idea for 46 Days came from there. Today is the 46th and last day.

I thought I’d have a look back through the last 45 days and see what’s happened:

0 people offended (that I’m aware of…)

1 holiday booked

1 disastrous week of night training

1 graduation attended

1 Margot Leadbetter moments

2 bouts of nostalgia

2 guinea pigs (Charlie and Lola) arrived

2 fish (Eddie and Bob) bought

3 fish (Maisy, Eddie and Bob) died

3 Easter bonnets made

4 3rd birthday parties attended

4 One Born Every Minute liveblogs

5 separate illnesses (2 for me, 2 for G, 1 for R)

6 twinny observations (I could have written hundreds of posts on this)

7 Friday photos

8 rants (I’m amazed there aren’t many more)

That’s a fairly average seven or so weeks in the HoT. Ok, so you don’t buy guinea pigs and kill off goldfish every day, but everything else was pretty normal…for us at least. It’s a nice little snapshot of our lives.

I only missed one night – when I was away for work – and I made up for it the next night with two long posts.  I have to say, as the weather improved dramatically in April I found it much harder to generate enough enthusiasm to sit down every night and write a blog post. Last night I ‘cheated’ and uploaded the Friday photos from my iphone whilst slumped on the sofa after another busy day. Thank Steve Jobs for the WordPress app!

I speculated at the beginning of all this that a period of sustained creativity might make me want to do some creative writing. It hasn’t, but only because I haven’t had time after writing 46 Days posts. There are a couple of ideas percolating in my brain but I can’t commit them to screen just yet.

Instead I’ve been exploiting my creative mind in different ways. I’m really into card-making at the moment. If there’s an event coming up I’ve probably made a card for it! My cards aren’t going to make me rich and they definitely look ‘home made’ but I hope people appreciate the effort. I attempted my first scrapbook – a graduation present for my Mum. I love getting creative with photos, bit of paper, a stack of embellishments and a ton of pritt stick. I have also made great progress with my latest cross-stitch and am already thinking about the next stitching project. I might do something really challenging this time…

As I get older I can no longer sit in front of the telly of an evening once the girls are in bed. I have to be doing other things, so that I feel my evenings aren’t wasted. That reminds me…I have very strict rules on my ‘me time’ activities. They are all done in the evening in the precious few hours I have when the girls are asleep and before I go to bed. During the day I’m either spending time with the girls or working.

I’m looking forward to having a few nights off (maybe even a week or two) from blogging – or the tyranny of the blank page (which only affected me twice in 46 days) and the feeling that I ‘have’ to write something. I might try something similar later in the year. November is my bogey-month so I might try 30 Days or something like that to ward off the SAD.

That’s all in the future. Now, I’m off to make a Mojito and await our take-away delivery.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

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Friday photo 22/4/2011

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I have been playing around with Hipstamatic on my iPhone and I really like these photos.

G looks so much like my sister in this picture. I was wearing the scarf and she asked if she could try it on. She just needs the big dangly earrings and it would be spooky.

R just performs for the camera and always looks so smiley. She was reading stories to dh and they looked very cosy curled up on the sofa.

Keyboard Collywobbles

A full-size piano has taken up residence at nursery.

There are apparently photos of R and G doing a double-act – G ‘playing’ the piano while R sings ‘Slippery fish’. You don’t know Slippery fish? It’s up there with Beethoven, The Beatles and the Backstreet Boys. You’re missing out!

For some reason this brought to mind Hinge & Bracket…but did they play the piano? My brain then made a leap to a Victoria Wood sketch and came up with this:

Marathon memories

We live ridiculously close to the London Marathon route so every year we drag take the girls out to watch. They were four months old when they watched their first marathon in 2008. I recall bundling them up in the buggy and marching determinedly towards the nearest steward to find out the best place to watch…only to find out that the runners passed the end of our road. R and G snoozed peacefully as I shouted ‘LOOK THERE’S A CAMEL!’ at them.

2009. R and G were 16 months old and were really into it this time. Dh and I took them out in their single buggies and they clapped enthusiastically throughout. For months afterwards, every time I took them to the park they would slow handclap runners in what may have looked like a bit of a sarcastic gesture, but wasn’t.

2010. 2 years 4 months old. I was away for the weekend with a friend, so Dh dragged an extremely reluctant R and G out in less than clement conditions to see the runners. There’s a photo of them looking fantastically unimpressed at the whole event, with people running past in the background.

2011. They liked the idea of going out to watch the runners and they certainly enjoyed seeing some of their friends that live locally, but that’s about as far as it went. They watched stony-faced as thousands of runners streamed past us. They got into it a bit more when the fun runners in fancy dress started appearing. They played ‘spot the rhino’ and loved the two men running in a plastic wedding bus. Topical? Oh yes.

My family has a bit of a history with the marathon. My Dad ran it three times in the 1980s. I worked out earlier this week that he was 33 when he first did the London Marathon, so not much older than Dh and I. He wasn’t very serious about his running then and did it in about 5.5 hours. We laughed loads when we found out that he had been beaten by a woman in her seventies! His second marathon was his best – 3 hrs, 9 mins and (I think) 15 seconds. The time used to be burnt into my brain but the exact number of seconds has become hazy over the years.

We used to stay with relatives in Essex the night before the marathon and knew the best places to watch – just after Tower Bridge (not on, that was mental) on Tooley Street and at around 18 miles, before the underpass. We remember when no-one went to Canary Wharf because it was a wasteland with just a single massive structure in the middle of it. A few years ago Dh and I cheered on a friend of ours from just under South Quay DLR station and that was an excellent vantage point. Most people head to Cutty Sark, the 6 mile point but it’s always mental. We used to live there and I could watch the marathon runners streaming down the road from the window of our flat.

In my teenage years I became dismissive of the marathon – of running generally. Probably a natural reaction to a childhood spent in a variety of locations watching Dad run. Since I moved to London 7 years ago I’ve fallen in love with it again. I love the human interest stories – the people with a highly personal reason for taking on such an enormous physical challenge. I’m happy to admit that I get quite teary watching some of them.  I’m fascinated by the elite runners – built differently from us mere mortals and achieving feats with the human body that simply shouldn’t be possible. I marvel endlessly at the people who decide to wear a crazy, heavy costume for 26 miles.

After each marathon I ask myself ‘Could I do it?’. The honest answer is that no-one really knows how their body will respond to 26 miles of effort. I was saying to Dh last night that I would need a reason, an anger to propel me through the pain and I’m lucky not to have that problem at present. I think I’ve got a marathon in me – I’m walking 26 miles in October – but it’s one heck of a commitment in terms of training.

Maybe one day.

Caveats

A necessary evil of blogging, as I’ve found out in the three or so years I’ve been writing HoT.

If I wrote a secret diary I could probably get away with a lot more moaning, bitching, naming and shaming. However, I made the decision to ‘go public’ and so I have to accept the consequences. Once I have typed the words and uploaded a post, I lose ownership of it. Other people interpret my words as they see fit.

I’ve had two examples of friends that I got extremely angry about things that I’ve posted on HoT – one about 18 months ago and one fairly recently (pre-46 Days). Ironically, the posts that I think may have riled them weren’t actually about them at all. Those two people didn’t enter my head for a second as I typed the words, posted them up and let them out into the wilds of the Internet. One of the friendships is on the road to recovery (we’ve been falling out with each other periodically since we were ten years old and probably won’t stop!) and the other is broken beyond repair. The break was their choice not mine and is also based on things I apparently wrote about on Facebook as well  – amazing what people can read into your words if they really want to fall out with you. As they subsequently defriended me on Facebook, but not before telling me exactly what a horrible person I was, there’s no way of rescuing it.

I’ve always been very clear in my mind that I haven’t targeted anyone, deliberately or inadvertently, on HoT. My posts are inspired by R and G (obviously) and, as a keen observer of people ( bloody nosy), by a whole host of things I see and hear, both in ‘real life’ and online. I’m not SO stupid that I would coldly and callously decide to make someone, (particularly someone I know) a target of my words. That’s a pretty weird thing to do, right? It’s not like I sit in front of my laptop with a hitlist thinking ‘Ooh! They’ve pissed me off I’ll write a little poison pen letter on HoT’, shrieking with glee as I write pure venom designed to hurt someone. I’ve been bullied pretty badly at various points in my life and I know how soul-destroying and confidence-sapping it is. I simply wouldn’t put anyone else through that.

If you like what I write, read it. If you don’t…well, don’t. No-one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read it. If you have an issue with something I write then I’d rather discuss it in a reasonable manner and we can go from there. Don’t imagine all sorts of things about me, build them up so that I become a monster and then press the destruct button on the friendship. If I ever go too far (I’m willing to accept that my sarcastic, dry sense of humour is not to everyone’s taste), I’d rather know so I can pull back, or at least have the opportunity to defend what I write.

The lobotomy post I wrote on Thursday was inspired by something I saw on Twitter the previous day. It wasn’t aimed at any of the people in that particular discussion, but I after I put a link to the post on my account someone I know professionally contacted me and asked if my post was aimed at them, with a little winky emoticon afterwards. I replied in a jokey way and they responded in kind. Matter settled. We moved on. Isn’t that how adults are supposed to behave?

I now put caveats all over my posts. I can write something sarcastic (my sarcasm really is my downfall) but I have to write a disclaimer at the end of it. Why? One tires of hearing how much they suck after a while (I can beat myself up perfectly well – I don’t need you to do it for me) and frankly I don’t need the added hassle in my life. The caveats and disclaimers will remain, but if you see anything that you think is aimed at you, it really isn’t. Ok?

Lobotomy

NEWSFLASH: Women who have children do not have full-frontal lobotomies.

SHOCK HORROR!

There seems to be a perception that all women, once they become mothers, instantly dissolve into a massive puddle of hormones the moment they come into contact with a baby. Any baby. Babies in the street, babies in shops, babies in workplaces apparently reduce us mummies to gibbering idiots.

Erm, nope. To be perfectly honest I have very limited interested in children that aren’t R and G. I absolutely adore them. I also like babies and children belonging to friends and family. I’m hopeless with them, but I like them and I’m interested in their development and all-round loveliness. Babies of strangers? Not so much. My womb doesn’t twang the moment I catch sight of a baby.

Amazingly women who are mothers are also perfectly capable of having interesting conversations about things that have nothing to do with babies or children. Speaking for my people, we actually love talking about non-child things. The first thing that people tend to know about me is that I have twins. Some people move beyond that. Most people don’t.

I don’t mention R and G at work unless someone asks me a direct question about them and even then I try to steer the conversation round to something else? Why? Work is my grown-up time; my escape from family life. I have a photo of the girls on my desk and people are welcome to look and ask questions – I won’t be rude – but it’s not what I’m there for. I can’t bear women that constantly reference their children in conversation in the workplace. Do they know that they are spouting drivel? The funny thing that thingy did is probably hilarious to them but no-one else. Everyone smiles when someone tells an anecdote but you can actually see the boredom, the ‘Kill me now’ look in their eyes.

Yes, I’m a mother. Yes, I have twins. Yes, I think they’re marvellous. I also have three degrees. I’m a Librarian. I work with social workers. I’m married to Dh and we’ve been together for years and still like each other. I love music. I do cross-stitch and make cards. I love shopping. I adore handbags. I like expensive make-up. I watch television. I do some writing. I’m an avid people-watcher. I love sport (Harlequins RFC, Surrey CC and Boston Red Sox, since you asked). I’m a space geek. I love 19th Century British History. I’m a bit fond of trains. I’m a Socialist. I’m an avid reader. I love my family and friends. I like eating out. I’m fond of wine and cocktails (not together). I’m sarcastic and love nothing more than some good humoured banter. None of this has stopped being true since I had R and G.

When you pigeonhole me as ‘just’ a mother with nothing else of note to offer you devalue me and every women who also happens to be a mother on the planet. We don’t lose our minds when we have children. Our minds are enriched by children, not decimated. When you choose to define me in such narrow terms you expose the limits of your imagination.

Maybe you’re the one that has had the lobotomy.

p.s. This  post is not about *one* person or one event. It’s not aimed at *anyone* in particular. It’s a general observation. Ok?