I’m having one of those days today where you question the point of things. It’s very annoying. It could be summer holiday boredom kicking in already, but as it’s still actually only the weekend, that would seem a bit premature.
It’s a really frustrating way of thinking, and I’m hoping if I write it down, it will sound so self-indulgent and pathetic that I will be shamed into thinking more positively.
This is how the conversation went this morning in my head:
I can’t believe it’s really nearly here. I’ve been looking forward to it with a mixture of relief, excitement and dread and now I only have one more day to go.
The summer holidays. (DUM DUM DUUUUM!)
What fun stuff has everyone got planned? Holidays? Outings? Adoption?
This summer is going to be different from most for me. It will be the first summer where I have been officially working for myself and it’s a fantastic relief not to have to worry about holiday clubs, childcare or missing out on any fun.
But that’s the problem in itself. No childcare. ‘Excellent!’ I thought to myself, ‘I will wind down to the holidays, keep work to a minimum and enjoy lots of Quality Time with the girls’. But now I’m starting to get a tad panicky. Winding down is all very well, but I do still actually have some work to do, and you know how these things happen – the minute you actively DON’T want to get offered anything, you can guarantee something will land in your lap.
So the no childcare thing suddenly seems just a little bit foolhardy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, they are fabulous, but six weeks of non-stop seven-year old may just tip me over the edge.
I’m a sucker for a decent chick flick, and I really enjoyed the film version of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’, so when I saw a copy of the book at a boot sale at the weekend for 20p – well, what could I do? We know I need all the dating help I can get.
The premise is this – if a man wants to ask you out, he will ask you out.
That’s it really. (I never said it was complicated). The authors claim that if a guy really likes you, he will find a way to get in touch, he will call when he says he will, he will want to have sex with you and he will ultimately want to marry you. If he fails to come good on any of these points, ever, then you face the facts – he’s just not that into you.
About a month ago I posted a couple of attempts at some fiction writing, which my number one fan Brian very much enjoyed. So much so that he has been working on his own part of the story on his blog, Extremely Average. I did promise Brian I would write some more, and he has been very patient, but I have kept him in suspense long enough.
Please bear in mind this is just a first draft, so obviously I need to cut about 70% of it and change all the words, but apart from that… It carries on (vaguely) from where the last post stopped, and finishes rather suddenly due to my having a bit of a headache and quite wanting to go and have a little lie down. All constructive criticism very welcome.
As they approached the source of the noise Beatrice broke into a trot. She moved gracefully – she was much more elegant than Amy ever imagined a camel would be.
Amy hung back though, hesitant about what they might find, not sure if she wanted to bring a baby into their lives. She’d known Beatrice less than an hour and it really felt too soon to be starting a family.
She remembered feeling the same nervous dread when her Dad had taken her to meet her brother Dan for the first time. She was five when he’d been conceived, and had been quite happy as an only child. The arrival of an extra person in her carefully ordered world wasn’t something she was looking forward to, particularly when she had only recently finished rearranging all her dolls alphabetically. She needn’t have worried of course, she had fallen in love with Dan the moment she saw him – lying in his plastic box at the Farnham Centre, wearing the tiny brown hat with the puppy ears that she’s picked out for him the month before at Mr Panther’s Baby Emporium.
Last night Belle and I watched Wife Swap USA.
Yes, I know it’s mostly staged and it’s all rubbish, but I don’t care. I love it. So there. I particularly love the last five minutes when they go back to their own families and, despite having spent the swap coming out with lines like “I’d rather be DEAD than spend another day with that DEVIL WOMAN!”, they take home lots of Valuable Lessons, and all become balanced, loving families, living happily ever after. And no, I don’t even love that part in an ironic way, I just like to think it’s true.
I finally got round last night to reading Saturday’s Guardian magazine. One of my favourite columns is Oliver Burkeman’s ‘This column will change your life’, as it invariable gets me thinking about the way I live and work.
This week he was talking about memories, and the tendency to remember only certain aspects of events, namely how they felt at their emotional peak, and how they felt at the end. So, if you’re remembering a week-long holiday, your memory of it will very likely be a product of one single very happy/stressful moment, and how you felt as you were leaving. The implication of this is that it is better to focus on short moments of intense fun than to holiday for as long as possible, and that half an hour of quality time with the kids counts much more than being around them all day, every day. Phew.
It got me thinking about the memories we create for our children, and the highs and lows I remember from my own childhood. I’ve always thought of myself as a person with a fairly poor long-term memory, but one exercise we did on my recent Arvon course made me realise that there are actually a lot of interesting sounds, sights and smells buried in the murky depths of my brain, if only I can dig around enough and find them under the layers of daily life.
I love David Mitchell. If you’re reading this David, and want to propose, I will say yes.
I know I’m not alone – I’m sure there are thousands of other women who feel the same. We really shouldn’t underestimate the power of humour when it comes to seducing a woman.
Just look at some of the other men I have been drawn to over the years – I think most of my friends would vouch for the fact that not many of them were exactly ‘lookers’, (not that I’m implying you would fall into that category David), and several of them actually had quite serious personality issues, but somehow you are blind to that when you’re laughing out loud.
Anyway, that wasn’t supposed to be the point of this post. What I actually wanted to do was draw your attention to Mitchell writing for The Observer today about The Times paywall, and asking why it is that everything connected with Rupert Murdoch is automatically classed as Evil and Wrong.
Yes, you heard me right – I said chocolate weetabix.
*waits while readers pick themselves up off the floor*
Now before I start, I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking ‘there have been quite a few reviews lately – what’s Jo playing at? It’s boring – we come here to read the sordid, pathetic details of her non-existent love life and feel better about our own lives, not get lectured about teddies and breakfast cereals.’
Well fair enough, I won’t do any more for ages, promise, but things have been a little tighter financially this month, so when I was asked if I wanted to try some of these new chocolate weetabix I was basically thinking ‘one less dinner to worry about.’ What can I say. I’m a cheap date.
I’m supposed to be on a date right now.
I chickened out.
I feel bad about it, ashamed, like a child who’s scared to make new friends, especially given all the hard work everyone put in helping me create my online dating profile. The trouble is, although you got my requirements spot on, you missed one crucial ‘must-have’ for my ideal man.
‘Must creep up on me slowly, catch my eye in a bookshop, be the last person in the world I expect to fall in love with.’ Pathetically romantic I know, but there you go.
Welcome to my 100th post!
*Noise of small brass band playing a fanfare*
I honestly can’t believe I have made it. I have such a short attention span that when I started blogging in December I honestly thought the novelty would wear off it about, ooh, a week? But do you know what has kept me going? Other of course than it being a fantastic procrastination tool (I can’t possibly start that very important piece of work now, can’t you see I’m blogging?).
It’s you! When I first started, I had never even read a blog, and I never imagined other people would be interested in what I had to say, let alone be inspired to say something back.
And now look at me. I am a hopeless addict. Every time someone comments, the attention seeking, praise driven me gives a little cheer ‘Look! They like me!’
When I was invited to bring the girls to a Build a Bear Workshop to make our very own bears I knew I was about to become a Very Popular Mummy.
I’ve written before about the difficulties of having two kids with a seven-year age gap, and how hard it is to find things for us all to do that don’t bore Belle to death or make Bee’s face screw up with a look of revulsion. Well, I think I can safely say that Build a Bear is the one thing, possibly with the exception of dumping them both at Claire’s Accessories and saying ‘here’s twenty quid each’, that they can both enjoy in equal measure.
I’ve often suspected that I don’t have quite the authority as a parent that I’d like. Partly I think it’s an age thing. I was only 16 when I was pregnant with Bee, and I’ve always looked younger than I am. Maybe my children would have more respect for me if I was older and sterner, perhaps with a large bushy beard – how can you not respect someone with a beard?
Given though that I have hardly any hair on my head, and only have to shave my legs about once a month, a beard is probably not on the cards.
Mostly though it is probably my own fault. I do tend to act like a child. (I know my impeccable behaviour at Cybermummy makes this hard to believe, but you’ll just have to take my word for it). I spend all my money on sweets and stationary, get drunk, often laugh at Wizards of Waverley Place. Really not very mature at all.
“It’s funny,” Bee said to me a while ago, “I don’t really think of you as the mummy, I just thought you were in charge because you were the tallest.”