This is my hand

image

It’s a hand that does dishes (or at least loads and unloads the dishwasher).
It’s a hand that has raised two children.
It’s a hand can play the flute.
It’s a hand that has written eight novels.
It’s a hand that looks its age; that has a little arthritis starting in the wrist (broken twice while rollerblading and cycling).
It’s a hand that, for half its life, has worn a wedding ring. And now it doesn’t.
I like it fine.

A good start … I think

So here are some things I’ve said ‘Yes’ to since I decided to start saying ‘Yes’ to things. Some of them are very small. Some of them might not even seem like things at all to some people, but they do to me. Small steps. In no particular order.

  1. I got a ticket to see Lou Reed. On my own, initially, and that was fine, but I mentioned it on Facebook and now I’m meeting a friend there.
  2. I agreed to plan a series of writing workshops for groups to be set up in local libraries. I may end up delivering them too, but I’ll have to be very brave and talk money. Realistically.
  3. I applied for a part-time job that I probably don’t want. And I’ll probably go on not wanting it until the moment I’m rejected, at which time it will become the only possible job that would really make me happy. If this happens (likely), please remind me of the fact that I don’t really want it.
  4. I went into the British Library and had a look round the (free) Treasures exhibition. (Did I mention I’m trying to do things on the cheap where possible, simply because I’m just not sure what my financial situation is going to be in the next few months, and I’m trying to be sensible?)
  5. Tomorrow, all on my own, I’m going to see Purcell’s opera The Fairy Queen, broadcast live from Glyndebourne, and screened at my local cinema, and I’m going to get membership of said cinema at the same time, because it will totally pay for itself as I continue to immerse myself in culture!
  6. I have a applied to do an A-level – adult-education ting, over 2 years. There are a number of subjects I’m kind of interested in, all on a Tuesday night, and the timing should work out just right for me to go there straight from work. Here’s the catch – the administrator said that last year, the one I really want to do was cancelled because of lack of interest so, in a pleasingly aleatoric way, I’ve registered my interest in four different subjects and I’ll allow fate to decide which one I enrol for. This is rather in the spirit of buying whatever is reduced in the supermarket and making a meal out of it. I do that too.
  7. I will be seeing a number of undeniably fabulous friends this week. Some of these meet-ups have been planned for a while, others are more spur of the moment. This is exactly what I want to embrace. This, and the friends too, of course.
  8. I had a cull on my underwear drawer. I’ll draw a veil for now …

Image

The Year of Saying ‘Yes’

Here’s the thing I don’t want to do: carry on living my life exactly as it was before, but with the sense that something is missing. Like – oh, I don’t know … let’s say, for example, a husband.

That’s what I’m not going to do – go on the same but with a husband-shaped hole.

Because, to be honest, that would be a ridiculous waste of time and endow the absent one with far too much significance. Whereas, quite obviously, the important one here is me. And the important two is my children. And the important three is me and my children. So, it’s a new life for me.
Brave words, eh? And, strangely, it didn’t take me too long to come to this momentous decision, but carrying out my resolve is going to take some thinking. (All suggestions gratefully received, btw.)
One reason it’s going to take some thinking is because, after 28 of marriage, I’m not really used to thinking about what want. Like most women of my age, I’ve felt, for some time, like the jam in the sandwich, being slowly but surely squeezed on all sides until I’m spread so thin. I’m virtually invisible. I know what I am to other people – a lift, a meal, a pile of clean laundry, a secretary, a bank, a counsellor, a personal shopper. But what I am to myself is more of a mystery. 
So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to try to change my habits. I’m going to alter my thinking. I’m going to try to work out what my instincts are, and follow them.
I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to go about this, but the first thing I’m going to do is say, ‘Yes!’ and see where it leads. I’m not even sure yet what I’m going to say Yes to, but I’m saying Yes to that too. I’m going to say Yes for a whole year, even when I don’t feel like it, and I’m going to write about it here.
Yes, I am.
Feel free to join me. 

Thank heaven for the internet!

The other day I had to buy a dozen double damask dinner napkins. Don’t ask why. I just did. Sometimes you simply have to do these things.

Anyway, thanks to the internet I was able simply to click in the appropriate place on the John Lewis website and didn’t have to go and actually ask for them. Who knows what might have happened otherwise!

tonguetwister.jpg

Prepare a yawn …

I’ve been tagged by Coffee Boy for a meme that you may have seen going around. I’m very bad at memes – nothing brings crashing home my fundamental dullness like being asked for 5 interesting facts about myself. I’ve got one of those pending. Very pending. And every time I think of something more or less interesting, I write it down on the proverbial back of an envelope. And then I lose it. There – that’s probably more interesting, in itself, than anything I’ve written down on the envelope so far.

So you see my problem. And it’s going to be made all the worse by the fact that Coffee Boy did a triumphal job with his version. Anyway – here goes. At least with this one, the questions are provided so that’s half the inspiration. That’s it – it’s a meme for the intellectually fatigued!

1. My uncle once: no – in fact, several times, was summoned to donate blood because he had some fancy rare blood group. In fact, he went on donating long after age should have precluded him because of it!

2. Never in my life: Kentucky Fried Chicken. Brrrrrr.

3. When I was five: I was very good at climbing trees and wanted to be an archaeologist. Lara Croft was totally based on me.

4. High School was: mostly in Scotland.

5. I will never forget: sorry – I wrote it down on the back of an envelope – it’s here somewhere …

6. I once met: Christopher Lee in a lift. I couldn’t prevent myself putting my hand up to my neck.

7. There’s this girl I know who: … hey that sounds like gossip and I’m officially the most discreet person in the world. I knew exactly where Johnny Depp was staying when they were filming The Libertine round here and I didn’t tell a soul! And I knew David Tennant was going to do Hamlet way before it was announced. Likewise, didn’t breathe a word.

8. Once, at a bar: I used to drink Scotch and coke. What was I thinking?

9. By noon, I’m usually: wondering why I didn’t have breakfast.

10. Last night: it rained and rained and rained.

11. If I only had: one super-power, it would be the ability to give malefactors immediate and irresistible diarrhoea. (Actually, the ability to spell diarrhoea without having to look it up would be a start.)

12. Next time I go to church: I’ll be thinking about my mum and wondering where she’s gone.

13. Terry Schiavo: is someone I just looked up on Wiki, but I don’t really have an opinion.

14. What worries me most: is being trapped by the foot by a giant clam, underwater.

15. When I turn my head left, I see: a door and a lot of paperwork patiently awaiting my attention.

16. When I turn my head right, I see: another door and, through it, my son, playing on Guitar Hero III.

17. You know I’m lying when: my voice goes all squeaky and I sound particularly reasonable.

18. What I miss most about the eighties: is my gravity defying hair do.

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: ‘a’ or maybe ‘k’.

20. By this time next year: my kids will be in Peru – perubably.

21. A better name for me would be: ‘Gazes Out Of The Window’ or ‘Shops At Primark’ or ‘Rarely Does Ironing’

22. I have a hard time understanding: what people mean when they say, ‘deceptively simple’. Does that mean it really is simple but it looks hard, or it really is hard but it looks simple?

23. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: be surprised by what a cold day it is in hell.

24. You know I like you if: I get all silly and giggly.

25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: my lucky stars – or maybe St Jude, patron saint of lost causes.

26. Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferraro: what?

27. Take my advice, never: think to yourself, ‘Well, these shoes are bound to get more comfortable as I wear them’.

28. My ideal breakfast is: baguette, unsalted butter, Rose’s Lime Jelly Marmlade and Yorkshire tea – lots of it. 

29. A song I love, but do not have is: Rapper’s Delight, by the Sugar Hill Gang. More innocent days, my friends.

30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest: you buy an attractive bust of William Shakespeare. Every home should have one.

31. Tulips, character flaws, microchips & track stars: are you on drugs? Oh, I see. Tulip – Queen of the Night or those nice lily-flowered types with the pointy reflexed petals; character flaws – too many to list; microchips – salt and vinegar, please; track stars – with the Hubble telescope.

32. Why won’t people: just do what I tell them?

33. If you spend the night at my house: you’ll be quite cosy, although a cat may walk on you.

34. I’d stop my wedding for: Mr Briggs, bringing the letter that confirms that my husband to be, Mr Rochester, is already married. Actually, I wouldn’t marry Mr Rochester at all. I think he’s abusive. Mr Darcy all the way. Or possibly Noddy – own car, cheerful nature, good with animals, steady job, likes cake. What’s not to like.

35. The world could do without: string cheese.

36. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: have it lick my belly. But I’d want to wash it first. And make sure it’s horrible little scratchy feet were out of the way.

37. My favorite blonde is: … must I? I don’t really like blonde men, tbh. Don’t mind ginge, don’t mind grey, don’t mind bald – but blonde … nah, sorry. If I must – Gwen Stefani.

38. Paper clips are more useful than: you might imagine. You can straighten them out and prod people with them, for a start.

39. If I do anything well, it’s: usually by accident.

40. And by the way: you’re snoring!

If I only had a brain …

I distinctly remember having a conversation, some time ago, in which I said, ‘Well, I won’t forget that – it’s the day before the twins’ birthday.’

Unfortunately, that’s all I remember. I can’t recall who I was talking to. I can’t picture where I was when I said it. And I haven’t the faintest recollection of what it was I arranged to do. Tomorrow.

So if anyone’s expecting me … sorry!