Thursday, 23 August 2018

Things I've asked Hubbie this week...

that prove - beyond reasonable doubt - that we are meant to be.

If for no other reason than no one else would have us.

The other night: 

Me: when will Brown Bear be old enough to watch Father Ted ?
Him: What ?
Me: Well I think he's going to love it and it's hilarious. Not rude or too adult.
Him: *just looks at me*

At 6am the other morning: 

Me: Where is my towel ?
Him: On the washing line
Me: Still ?
Him: Yes
Me: That's 2 days now.
Him: ...
Me: Where are you going ?
Him: To get your towel off the line.

On the phone earlier today: 

Me: Shall we do something while the kids are away next week ?
Him: Aren't we going to the theatre already ?
Me: Yeah, but I mean maybe go for a swim together ?
Him: Oh that sounds nice.
Me: And we could order a takeaway
Him: Really ?
Me: Yeah. It's an annual event so let's go for it.
Him: Now that is a brilliant idea
Me: *smile to myself*

My phone rings at 8am: 

Me: Is everything ok ?
Him: Did you take the scooters out of the car this morning ?
Me: Dammit I forgot !
Him: Oh good. I thought they'd been stolen from the doorstep.
Me: We live in Croydon, not the Bronx (ok I admit I may have just thought this).

At 2am:

Me: Why are you awake ?
Him: I don't feel too well
Me: What happened ?
Him: I think the microwaved burger I had at football disagreed with me.
Me: It didn't occur to you that might not be a great idea ?
Hubbie: Nah.
Me: *roll my eyes and go back to sleep*

One evening: 

Me: do you want some chocolate ?
Him: Always
Me: Ok here's where it's kept - you can help yourself.
Him: What ? (looks aghast)
Me: Well after 14 years together I figure that you can be trusted
Him: I'm not sure I can
Me: I have faith in you
Him: *shakes his head*

It's a funny thing marriage isn't it ?

Thursday, 16 August 2018

I had blonde ambition because of Madonna

How is it possible that Madonna is 60 today ? I mean I realise it's perfectly normal and had they lived Prince and Michael Jackson would also be looking at cashing in their over 50s plans and popping out for the early bird oap special in the local Harvester. I guess I just don't see Madonna as 'older' and of course 60 is no longer old anyway.

I've loved her since I was a teenager and was influenced by her in so many ways. The hair; rags, curly and messy, the platinum blonde phase I wish I could have carried off. The fashion; thrift store clothing, ankle boots, leather and lace. The attitude, her perseverance and  let's face it the self confidence. Of course she has her faults - who doesn't ? - but I honestly believe the influence she has had on many women (and men) of my generation is profound. So here - in no particular order - are my top ten reasons for celebrating Madonna.

1. She is a genuine poor kid made good. She literally went from rags to riches. Ok the rags were in her hair, but you get the point.

2. Mads is a fierce advocate of the gays - ok she wasn't the first, but she certainly wasn't shy about talking about sexuality. When her book 'Sex' was published my friend Jo pre-ordered it and when it was delivered we sat in her bedroom at uni looking through the photos in awe even though most of them had already been published by papers to prove how depraved she was.

3. I made my family come home early from temple one Sunday afternoon so I could watch the Blonde Ambition tour on an italian cable channel. I can't believe my Mum actually did that for me.

4. She is fluent in French and Italian - this woman is no thickie. She sent her kids to a french speaking school and values education very highly.

5. As a parent M is very strict - I like that she doesn't take any crap from her kids. It's far too easy to give your kids everything when you are loaded, it's much more difficult to say no.

6. Talking of saying which - Madonna doesn't need anyone to like her. Remember that scene in the movie 'Truth or Dare' ? Where Kevin Costner comes to see her backstage and she makes a gag face ? See she don't give a damn.

7.  As a business woman she has built an empire and maintained it. Other singers have been ripped off by accountants, record companies and even their partners, but M takes no shit from nobody. (sic)

8. Her acting is abysmal, but I did really enjoy her turn as Karen's flakey roomate in Will and Grace. It was self-effacing and hilarious.

9. When Madonna falls in love she gives it all she's got. Famously her love for Sean Penn has never really gone away. She turned herself into an English lady for Guy Ritchie. For a woman who is so strong and independent she falls hard for the men she loves.

10. The woman can dance. That is all. Watch any pop starlet and you will see her moves all over them.

So those are the highlights from my history with Madonna. It's not an exhaustive list by any means. I mean I didn't even talk about the music videos (stunning), the chameleon-like style changes (epic), the adoptions (best not), the feuds with other singers (legendary) and the fact that even after all these years she's still able to terrify with a look. I can't help, but admire the woman for that.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

You want me to put my boobs where ?

There are a few things that I have observed about getting older - I mean proper older not that "Oh I can't believe I'm going to be 30 next birthday" kind of rubbish. This is the realistion that two years from now I'm going to be 50. Oh shit ! What on earth have I done with all these years so far ? Well, a fair bit really. It's what's to come that fascinates me now.

I always took it for granted that I would grow old with my friend Soraya. We had our kids older than most women we know so shared a loathing of all things aimed at, 'yummy mummies.' When we were both back at work after maternity leave we used to go for a run at lunchtime. It was less about fitness and more about plodding round Green Park while having a natter and a catch up. One weekend while driving somewhere - probably to visit the in-laws - she phoned me. It wasn't unusual for us to have a chat outside of work, but it was often futile as one or other of us would be on the move. She told me that she had something to tell me and she was sorry not to tell me in person, but wanted me to  know something. I knew it wasn't going to be good news. It wasn't. Soraya had breast cancer. She apologised to me - I told her not to be so daft. Then we talked about all the practical things that she had to do, the treatment plan, the time off work, etc. I offered my help with anything at all. She thanked me and we went about our business.

Once the treatment started we would talk about how it was going. When anyone 'helpfully' suggested some woo-woo solution like herbs or light healing we'd have an expletive filled conversation about it. I mean me and Hubbie had heard all that guff when were told we would never have children. Shamanic drumming, acupuncture, sound healing, all sorts of magical waters to bathe in and even some specific foods were all suggested. When anyone told Soraya that this thing was better for her than chemotherapy we would discuss how, "it would be lovely to bathe in marshmallows, but I'll take the poison that has a chance of killing the cancer thanks." At one point she told me how guilty she felt about the 'poison' and I told her to stop thinking of it that way and to see it as medicine that was working for her and not against her. We spoke about hair loss and how crap she felt after chemo.

Then the treatment was done and it was the waiting game until she had the 'all clear.' There were check ups and after effects and the constant fear that any twinge or headache was a sign of something far more serious. Two years ago she had a pain in her spine that wouldn't go away. Whenever I talked to her we were baffled that her doctors weren't taking it seriously considering her health history. Then a year ago she paid privately for an MRI and it showed she had a tumour on her spine. That's what was causing the pain. She was livid - understandably. We talked about what was to come next. Radiotherapy this time and she told people in stages that she had secondary cancer. She had the overseas holiday she'd wanted for years. We went to the theatre and spent time making radio shows together. Every time we met we would hug like long lost sisters and it was magic. It was her last year of life - even though we didn't know that at the time. I am so grateful I spent as much time with her as I did, albeit by accident rather than design.

So why is this on my mind right now ? Well a couple of reasons, but I'll tell you just one of them for now. About a month ago I was called for a mammogram. My first thought was, hang on who's going to go with me ? Don't get me wrong I am perfectly capable of going to appointments by myself. However, in this case it was one we had already discussed. Whenever Soraya had a check up I'd offer to go with her. We agreed when it was my turn she would do the same. I told Hubbie and he said he'd go with me. It was a lovely gesture, but when we arrived were told it is a women only clinic and he had to wait outside - fair enough. As I sat in the waiting room making small talk with the nurse I felt the panic begin. Not for me - that wasn't the issue at all. It was fear that the sadness would rise and overwhelm me. It wasn't via breast screening that she found out about her cancer. She did have a lot of them afterwards during remission though. We joked about the 'boob sandwich' and how only a man could have created such an instrument of torture. As I repeated the same joke to the kindly nurse who undertook the exam my face hurt from trying not to cry. Then it was over and I went to work.

The results came two weeks later. All fine.

Not everyone is so lucky. For anyone who has had different news I am thinking of and holding you right now.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Things I learned about my boy this week

Blue Bear is almost five. It's a bit of a shock to realise he's going to be in reception in September and that he is a fully fledged kid now. Not a baby or a toddler, but a proper little boy. He can say so much more now and I find conversations with him are great fun. When I went to pick him up from the childminder the other evening he came to the door holding a box and as he opened it he said. "Ta-daaa !" and revealed the contents (which included slugs - eww !!) to me. He has a sense of drama, timing and knows how to create interest. It made me smile and I still do when I think about it.

He stayed with my parents this weekend while I moved his bed into the same room as his brother so they now share. When he got home he walked in and said, "Wow ! It's great Mummy. I lub it." He has a cute way of saying love and I hope he continues with it for a while.

Yesterday Hubbie was cutting the grass and Blue Bear said, "Daddy shall I bring my leaf barrow ?" He went to the back garden, found his toy wheelbarrow and brought it to the front to help gather up the trimmings to put into the green waste bin. Later I looked outside to see him crouched down watching as Daddy cleaned and repaired bikes. It was such a lovely father and son moment I just enjoyed it rather than trying to take a photo.

Today when he got home from my parents' house he asked me how Neo was. I told him he was ok and he went over to see him. He got down to the cat's level and I heard him say, "I missed you Neo," and he cuddled him. It was so sweet. I'm sure Neo missed the boys too - he does look lost when they aren't here.

Whenever I am outside running or walking home if I see an acorn, a conker or a pretty leaf I pick it up for Blue Bear. He loves nature and being outside. I saw a ladybird on the kitchen floor the other day and called Blue over to see it. He came in and was delighted to see it inside his house. Daddy offered to put it outside and Blue told him he wanted it to stay inside to keep it safe. We agreed it would be happier outside and he asked Daddy to be gentle.

The other day when the boys were eating their tea for some reason we were talking about family and Blue asked about his 'first mummy." I said I didn't know her, but we could ask 'Auntie' - his foster carer - about her. He nodded and got on with dipping chips in ketchup.

When I was arranging the childcare for this weekend I told my sister that Blue Bear is really good fun and she'd have a good time with him. She sent me a whatsapp message this afternoon praising his behaviour and how well he got on with his cousin. It made my heart sing to hear that.

Earlier when I picked up Brown Bear from scout camp I was called aside to hear the usual litany of things he did wrong. It made me sad. So much so that when we came home and were watching The Greatest Showman I kept bursting into tears. The emotional fallout of having my sons away for the weekend is plenty to deal with. When they get home I just want to hug and hold them - which they won't let me do for much longer anyway.

Oh well, I still have Neo to cuddle when the mum hormones kick in big time.