Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The one where I got out some more....

Husband's job has meant that for almost 8 years I have stayed in. Well not EVERY night like a prisoner - but it hasn't been as easy for me to skip into London town and paint it red as it was in the pre-kids (golden) days. Now that he has changed jobs and walks through the door every evening at 5pm ish, I have taken advantage of the freedom and raced out the door at every given opportunity. It has been SWELL.

One big merry-go-round of nights out, birthday celebrations and then topped off with a blissful trip to Paris. It began a few weeks back - the week after my 'Grappa man' night out as it shall be known. (Though let's not bring that up again as Husband still frets over it and let sleeping dogs lie and all that...). I headed out on the Wed night to a gig with a good friend. Work obligations - and an early start the next day kept me from my usual drinking antics, so a few simple beers and much merriment enjoying Matt Berry's band in Islington, and I was on the train home.

That Friday I reached the epitome of being deeply uncool - and threw myself into a night of audience participation at 'Sing-a-long-a-Purple-Rain.' It was hilarious. The film itself is beyond woeful - 30 years on, and you see how dreadfully sexiest it is (Appollonia wearing not very much to sing Sex Shooter being the low point) and that 'the Kid' is basically a wife-bashing arrogant little prick who kisses like he is resuscitating someone. But... the songs. They are as fresh as when I heard Let's go Crazy on a tinny radio back in 1984. What shocked me, was the theatre was packed with folk who weren't BORN when Purple Rain first hit the flicks. There were jump cuts, it crackled and the dialogue was sphincter clenching stuff - but we were all on our feet waving our hands to Purple Rain at the end. If there is any way way to have more fun - I have yet to find it.

Saturday night and a different spectrum of culture. Having never been to the ballet - my good mate Sam bought us tickets to A Winter's Tale at the Royal Opera House. It was breath taking - from the magnificent Opera House and it's uber sexy bar (s) to the mesmerising ballet itself. Just beautiful. I am officially a covert. Opera you can take, but a ballet - ahhhh... just stunning. I wish I had a waist the size of those spritely nymphs. How they cavorted around a stage for as long as they did, without collapsing in a sweaty coma, I have no idea.  

Monday, was my birthday and once again from high culture to low - all spectrums were covered. After heading out for family cake (usual bedlam with Sproglette covering Sproglet in orange juice, Husband being mortified and me desperately trying to clean the place up) I took the kids to see the latest Muppet Movie. Meh. Then to a fab literary salon at the Kings Cross hotel. Another uber sexy place - god I really must get out more - to see Lynne Barber talk about her latest book and David Nicholls read from his. I went with two buddies who had never met each other - and it was a blast. One friend bought me her book 'An Education' and she inscribed with Happy Birthday. I'm a fan of her interviews - not least because her late husband was my favourite lecturer at Uni.  Anyway, we sank red wine, envied David Nicholls ability to write awkward moments SO brilliantly as he read from his soon to be published book 'Us' and  lounged around the swanky interiors. All in all an ACE birthday. Then I raced home, whereupon I drank more red with my 21 year old babysitter and talked over her boy troubles. It made me momentarily grateful to have turned 41...

The sunny week ended with us all departing on the Eurostar to gay Pareee for a blissful few days. My friend's Dad has a french country house that we went to stay in, after a day strolling around Paris and taking my son up the Eiffel tower. Sproglette wasn't so jazzed on the whole Eiffel tower malarkey - instead loving a rather shiny dolphin balloon... Anyway, the house was beyond beautiful - all rustic open stone walls and wooden beams... filled with wine and cheese (obvs) and great chat. And a pinball machine. We all became insanely competitive at table tennis, supped champagne every night before dinner and talked until the week hours over manys a bottle of red and er... bourbon. It was heaven. And now I am home. Birthday done, nights out all done, Easter break all done. All is left is for me to keep munching on the kids' choc eggs...

Still, it was a good run while it lasted.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Was I in the wrong?

So husband isn't impressed with me at all.

It all started (and ended) innocently enough: I went to the Curzon Soho to see The Double with a good friend. We ate cake, drank coffee, mused on the talented actors in the bizarre and bleak film and then retired to Dean St. Townhouse for some red wine. It was a school night, and I know I know, school hols have started BUT still, Sundays aren't the day for a big night really. So, I headed home on the 11:34 train.

At the station I jumped in a cab and then this guy - smartly dressed, Michael Stipe-esque, asked if I was going near his street. As it would happen, that street is just around the corner from my house so I told him to jump on in. We chatted on the short journey home - he'd been at a gig, (Rufus Wainwright and therefore I assumed he was gay - as coupled with his jaunty cap and glasses, my gaydar was on alert) I warbled on about the movie I'd seen and he invited me into his house for a drink.

So, I went.

He was friendly, he knew I was married, he wasn't hitting on me or anything. It seemed like a fun thing to do. I rarely get to behave in a spontaneous fashion - I love meeting new people, why not? Now, I know, I know. It could have been an axe murderer. But here, in my little Hertfordshire town? In a house around the corner from me - literally is 3 houses behind mine?

So we chatted, he showed me around his new house - he moved in 3 weeks ago - I envied his shed and amazing claw bath - and we drank Grappa and listened to music. It was really pleasant and fun. I left when I realised it was nearly 2am.

My head is feeling far from clever today and it is amazing I can actually type... Anyway, I rang Husband and he asked why I'd got in so late. I explained my fun evening and he was FURIOUS. He hung up on me. Annoyed that I had been so stupid. He called me dumb.

But am I? I mean do we have to be suspicious of everyone we meet? Is there no sense of joy and unexpected meetings anymore? Do we have to be afraid of everything? Of everyone? Is it better to just avoid all unusual or random invitations - just in case it is something more sinister? Or should we listen to our gut?

I always go with my sixth sense about all situations and I have never put myself in any threatening or dangerous situations. Anything that feels odd - I am outta there. I mean, millionaires paid for my best friend and I to stay at the Shangri La hotel in Hong Kong for a week - and we'd just met them in a bar, our first night of travelling. I trusted, I had faith. They were gentlemen who just wanted to look out for us. I've met many people and had faith in them - which, maybe down to luck, or my good intuition - means I have been safe and never been harmed in my life. Thank god, touch wood and all.

But here I am, a woman of 40, a mother of two - accepting a drink from a stranger. Does that make me someone who has a lust for life, for adventure, for people, or a stupid blonde who puts herself in potentially dangerous situations? 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Why do you have to be a wanker?

That, people, is my question of the day.

I just don't understand folk - I don't. Why take the wanker path when you could be a nice person? When that little smidgeon of pleasantness could resonate with someone's life and make their day. Why go out of your way to be sarcastic, or cold, or rude, or off? Why not have some grace, some manners?

Here are the things that irritate the hell out of me - that could in a moment be rectified:

On the road, if I let you out, sit and wait in my car when in fact I had the right of way, but you were speeding on ahead, so I kindly waited, let you through - when it was my RIGHT to go forward and make YOU go back - all you have to do is wave your clammy hand to say thank you and I'll be fine. But you don't and I want to kill you.

When you're being served in a restaurant, or bar - does it make you feel big to pick on the waiter? To be rude and snappy when all they are trying to do is make your fecking champagne colder?? Why belittle them? To make yourself feel bigger? Are you short or something?

When I text you, or email you - isn't it polite to respond? Just an acknowledgment. Folk that like to play the whole 'no reply - ha! I have the power' game make me want to claw out their eyes. There is no game. It's called manners. Grow up.

At events where I know no one, wouldn't it be nice to say hello, make some small talk? No one likes kids' parties, having to be there just because your child can't yet wipe their arse, so why not have some chat, be friendly - you know, make it easier for everyone. In fact, kids' parties should come replete with liquor - then they'd be MUCH better.

Anyone, at all, who is in a position of power and bullies those beneath them - not physically, but with words (often things that remain unsaid in fact) and their manner - you should be ashamed of yourselves. Having been on the receiving end of this - a miserable director in 2003 - the worst experience of my life in fact - I know what it is like to feel hated, to be miserable, to stay awake at night fretting over the next encounter. Why can't we all just treat people how we'd like to be treated? Simple but true.

When my kid scoots off faster than Lewis Hamilton on a good day, don't come up to me and in a condescending manner announce that 'she was was very far away...' like I am some bad parent - especially if YOU have your kid on a leash. All this parent judging - feck that. Do what works for you and leave everyone else alone. Each to their own and all.

Buy a fucking a drink. When you spend the night at a table and gleefully accept drinks from the entire table - put your hand in your pocket and buy a goddamn drink you tightarse. Or else, sup water.

Most of the time, people who actively enjoy making others feel bad are wildly insecure. The most secure, talented folk I have met/worked with are nothing short of lovely - why? Because they have nothing to prove - they are happy in their skin. Get some therapy and stop taking your insecurities out on other people. It aint big or clever.

Be honest. Honesty is perhaps the most underrated of virtues. I appreciate honesty most than anything else. It takes guts - but aren't the people you value most in life those that you can be honest with? And can be honest with you?

Jealousy is bitterness swallowed up. It makes folk do funny things. So things didn't work out for you like you expected - big deal. Try something else, try another path. There is ZERO point in being jealous of others - who it DID work out for - and reacting to them in a detrimental way because of it. Their life has NO bearing on you at all. We're all guilty of the old green monster creeping up on our shoulders once in a while - and it can spur us on in a good way. Just don't make it your master. Green isn't a fetching shade.

Being pleasant costs nothing. People have made my day with their small acts of kindness: the man across the road who helped fix our wobbly loo seat; the nice guy at carphone warehouse who moved all my phone numbers across for me; the sweet boy who carried my xmas tree up the hill to my home; the person who bought me a coffee when I had forgotten my purse; the nursery that agreed to keep my daughter on 3 days a week for free; the man who I crashed my car into who didn't ask for money - but just asked me to donate to his just giving page; the boys on the train who made me a gin and tonic with ice and lemon. All small acts of kindness...

In reality, no one needs to be a wanker, so why be it?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Why did Gwyneth and Chris break up?

I've had an odd reaction to to news that Gwyneth, she of perfect body, house, children, career, oscar and life advice, and her rocker Husband of 11 years are to split up.

It makes me feel sad.

I don't know why. I've had both a grudging respect for the Goopster, mixed in with a smidgeon of jealousy and a whole heap of 'you've got to be kidding me?' when she suggests my Spring capsule wardrobe costs $12,000 or that her kids love sprouts - so why wouldn't mine? (No matter how you salt and fry those fuckers NO kid like sprouts woman). But at the end of the day, marriage ending is always sad.  People talk of marriages failing, but they never say how for 11 years it damn well succeeded.

Marriage is tough. Beyond hard. There is you with all your shit and baggage and needs and wants and career and friends and stuff - and then, there is them with all the same. You have to come together, like some similar stuff, share life values, fancy each other, enjoy hanging out, get used to each other, tolerate the differences, buy properties, share money and expenses, household chores and then raise kids together. IT IS A MINEFIELD.

All along the way there are reasons to split - from lack of support, financial stress, illness, differences in opinion, careers pulling you this way and that, and then all the heap of angst and energy one has to expend on their kids. Meanwhile there are new people - fun sexy people dancing before you like sweets in a candy store (granted not regularly - but all it takes is the one) and you have to say 'no!I want the person at home with hooky toenails who hasn't showered all weekend and forgot to bring the bins in.'

I mean, there are potholes galore. There is no one fix solution to a marriage staying together. I have wanted to leave my Husband several times. I have felt lonely and neglected. I have had a crush on someone else. (I told Husband of course). I have wished for the heady days of sex all night and cocktails until dawn. But there is the school run and nit check and food list and all the mundane bollocks that just eats away at any kind of romance.

But Chris and Gwyneth - they had money! Help! Cooks! Cleaners - I mean, if you have all that - so you aint fighting over who pays the school dinner money, and tasty food is on the table and the wine is chilled and you have someone stacking the dishwasher for you and folding the laundry (FOLDING THE LAUNDRY!!!! What more do you need in life??) - then what is there to fight about?? Which deserted caribbean island to holiday in for new year? Which mansion to buy? Whether to go to the Met Gala ball or not, or should we skip the Oscars this year? Invite Madonna for tea or Cameron Diaz??  People! If Chris and Gwynnie can't make it - in their organic stylish lives, replete with pools and private jets - then what hope is there for the rest of us - who get a thrill out of the free coffee at Waitrose???

Maybe, there are just the same problems, but in a different scale. When folk are away with their jobs a lot - that separation takes it's toll. Since my Husband changed his job, I get such a kick out of us all eating dinner together. Something we haven't ever done on weeknights through our entire relationship. The simple pleasures really are the best.

Marriage is a promise we make when we are giddy with love. When we have hope and expectation. It  is a journey that constantly evolves. As Gwyneth said, staying together is a lot about both of you not wanting to split up at the same time. It is about forgiving mistakes. Letting go. Plus - and I am pretty shit at this - not sweating the small stuff.

I've had (to my knowledge) a faithful marriage for 10 years this October. But it is no picnic and every week there are reasons to go - to throw in that towel as we bicker over trivial rubbish. But there are always more reasons to stay. Not because of the kids - well, partly. But because he is home to me. I love him. When he walks through the door, I still get excited. I love nothing more than having dinner with him, or watching a movie together. Some days it is hard to muster the chat, the intimacy. It is easier to sit on line or read the papers. I don't think that what's out there is more exciting. I don't crave another. But I can see how, if people are not tied together financially - that it is perhaps easier to walk. As I type that though, I know it is never easy to walk out of something so sacred to you - that you have invested so many precious years into....

In marriage therapy, I remember so clearly what Wendy our counsellor said to me, back in 2008. She said that we just repeat the same mistakes - to make up for our issues, our childhood baggage - so if I left Husband, I'd just go and find another him. Naturally that isn't the case for some marriages dogged with infidelities or abuse or whatever... (or maybe it is - maybe folk just repeat those mistakes too?). Who knows, I'm no expert. But the point is - look at you, before you look at them... What is your part to play in this fuck up?

But I am married, still. I know how hard it is to stay so at times, but also how hard it is to go.  So as the vultures pick of the carcass of the Paltrow/Martin split and gleefully ravage on the perfect woman being just as fallible as the rest of us - I think let 'em be.

It's hard enough.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Not sure...

Lately I haven't felt like blogging much. Usually I think of loads of stuff I want to rant about but at the moment life is moseying on by, in a slower, infinitely happier place and I just don't feel like I have anything to blog about. Blogging about life being rosy comes across as smug and showing off, so there is less impetus to write, less things to say.

Plus, several folk tripped themselves up - or gave away that they read my blog. (These are not the fab folk who have emailed me to say they discovered it and loved it - but the folk who in conversation with my husband, or me, knew things that I had only mentioned on here). People who I had never wanted to find it, never wanted to know the darkest parts of my mind, my troubles, my worries. I wouldn't share it with them in my life, so why on line? Folk that found it and told me so - they are different - they feel honest: that in acknowledging that they read CMWD and enjoying it, it feels like they are supporting me.

I started CMWD because I wanted to reach out to the unknown, to find like minded folk who related to the loneliness of motherhood, the grind, the loss of self etc. I found those kindred souls - and had a pretty cool small group of folk who read and commented.

I felt in control, oddly, over something which I have no control. I can't dictate who reads this... who finds it. Since I started writing for Babble I am more aware that people can google my name - not CM, but my real name - and it will lead them here. That was never the plan. This was anonymous... CM a pseudonym... So ONLY those I wanted to, would know who really was behind these witterings.

Over time I am guilty of course of mentioning my blog to people, sharing it on Facebook and Twitter - leading folk to it. But I felt that by writing about personal stuff and sharing it - that it kind of (jeez this sounds trite) empowered me. That by saying 'my life aint perfect' meant that I wasn't ashamed of this, my failings, my mistakes. I was owning up to them, mocking myself, being accountable and therefore had nothing to hide. Who cares what XYZ thinks of me - they can gossip all they want, after all, I SHARED IT. So, gossip, smirk, revel in my misfortunes all you want - but it won't harm me, won't affect me, because I chose to let you know this. I chose to share. You are only aware of what I want you to be aware of...

Lately, I haven't felt this way. I'm not so jazzed now on Mums at school and ex-friends or colleagues having the inside track on my life. If I'd wanted these people to be as aware of my life - I'd be calling them and asking them for coffee, or staying at the very least staying in touch. But in this oddly isolating social media world, we can be 'in touch' with 300 people, of whom we actually only SEE in the flesh about 20.

My blog has always been more of a online diary. I write to vent mainly; because something churns in my head until I spill it onto the page... My hardcopy diary I stopped writing (having kept one since 1983 when I was 10 until I was 28) in 2001. My last line admits that I have met someone, I'm off for a date, he seems like a nice guy and 'wish me luck.' I never wrote in it again. Oh, and I married that boy a year later/and 2 years later. That last comment - if you know me, you'll get it.

So do I want to share my stuff now that it is kind of out, to all? Not just the good buddies who call me up to say they loved the last post, or friends at work who like it on Facebook and say it made them cry. Not the CM supporters... but rather the bitter ex-friends (I only have a couple of these mind), the uni mates I don't bother to keep in touch with (a cold bunch but that's another story) or the ex-colleagues of old, the people who are in the peripheries of my life, rather than in the bosom of it?

TBH I never get troll mail, or evil commenters... It's not that big a blog - 5,000 hits a month... So maybe I am over- thinking all this. Me, over thinking? Never!

Anyway, I may take a wee blogging break for a while. Just until I get my mojo back with it. Like everything in life, there are peaks and troughs. It's just this was my little corner of the big vast web, that was just for me. All of a sudden it doesn't feel like a cosy nook, it feels like I fell asleep and woke up the middle of a big empty exposing field.

It's not where I expected to be.

Monday, 17 March 2014

The heart wants...

Sometimes, only a poem will do. Perhaps you know this one. Maybe you don't. Anyway, I love it. It is by Pablo Neruda. Enjoy...

Sonnet XVII (I do not love you...)
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Why I am over Facebook.

This is a genuine status that I read in the past week on Facebook, by a man a consider a nice guy:

think my sister finally thinks I'm cool after driving her home with rap music pumping and the roof down in the BMW 6 series convertible !

Asides from the lazy overuse of the word 'think' and the lack of capital letters, it made me want to punch something. Who writes this shit? Answer: many many people.  Facebook has become the most tragic of all places: the bar where the drunks have staggered in and are pontificating on the rights of the world. Where all those freaks who sat in the corner by themselves at school and collected spiders, have been unleashed unto the masses and at last have a VOICE!

Plus my Mum has joined it. Gawd bless her. If there was ever a sign that the cool factor has gone out the window - that indeed is the one.

At the beginning I loved Facebook - hooking up with old mates, seeing photos of peoples' lives, joining stupid groups like 'I like the cold side of the pillow at night.' Then, well then I got more 'friends' - then I axed a 100 (my threshold: do I care if I ever see this person again? Sweet as that runner was on a show I worked on in back in 2004, I haven't seen nor spoken to him since, therefore are we really 'mates'?) then another 100. Then, it got a bit awkward - folk you politically HAVE to accept as mates - because they are distant relatives or know someone who you know well... People you feel obliged to accept.

We all remember my Facebook rant of last year - where I kind of boiled over with all the nauseating humble brags that Facebook sports so frequently. The 'How can I be losing weight when I eat dairy milk every day?!' type.

People, I don't care about your dinner. Or that you feel tired today (who doesn't?). I do love a good holiday snap, to see friends' kids growing up or to hear that someone got a promotion, or to see some viral video of strangers kissing.

But it just has lost it's appeal of those early years - that even a 'your Facebook video' can't quite re-create. Like some last ditched attempt to save the relationship. One colleague declared to me that he loathed most peoples' status updates - he actually ranted for a good few minutes about the inane vacuousness that people spouted - yet, like I guess we all do - he is still friends with the very people he was slagging off.

So why be mates? Why sign up at all? Do we think if we don't pop on there we are missing out? Aren't the same old 20 people liking your photo - and the last one you put up - and the one before? How many of them do you meet for coffee? Send an Xmas card to? Meet for a beer? A third - if even - I'm guessing. And by gathering 'likes' does it make us feel better, more popular, more accepted?

But we put ourselves through all this shenanigans at school, at Uni - so why bother with it all again? We are doing ok - we don't need the validation surely? What did we do before Facebook existed? we picked up phones, sent emails, wrote a paragraph on Friends Reunited, actually contacted folk. For the record, I'm now more into Twitter - with all the great articles I can read and the updates from all kinds of interesting - yes interesting! - sources.

Facebook has it's place, I'm just not sure where that is anymore, or how much I want to be involved. Naturally I have some friends on there - some from days of old, that I don't see but I do care about - and some I genuinely love - and acquaintances and old colleagues etc - that I do like to hear about... But then they post the above and I wonder why I ever thought they had any humanity at all....

The irony of this here blog post is that I will obviously, link it to Facebook. And count the likes. So I guess I'm just as tragic as the BMW twat at the top....