Thursday, 31 July 2008
The thing of it is I am 50 next week and l am meeting up with 18 female friends and family for a meal on Monday evening. As there aren't any plans here for any celebrations, as far as l know, (my expectations for birthdays and anniversaries are apparently absurdly higher than others'). So l decided l would make the best of it and celebrate, because if l don't then this lurking dark heavy cloud that is 50 might just suck me up and wring me out to dry.
In the spirit of the 'glass half full soroity' and with all the will in my world, as this will be the start of a new decade, l shall brush myself off and wade right in positively. Well perhaps, maybe later.
However l am ill prepared, the two dresses l've already bought, which are lovely, don't look lovely when l am the hanger! I look like a sack of spuds! My only alternative is to wear my usual uniform of jeans, though my best long wide leg ones, with a silky top.
But the whole point was to dress up a bit. Not you understand in a glam, glitzy, luxe up for christmas day kind of way and NOT in a fur coat and no knickers kind of way, though l must say that after yesterday l am in desperation leaning that way!
So l decided yesterday to take the bull by the, well, no actually not the horn, but by the bollocks and determined to find something er 'special'.
Although l was prepared to find this task hard, l wasn't prepared for the difficulty l experienced.
It's SALE time, so every rail is in a mess, all sizes and styles muddled up, a bit of pot luck then. I had several forays in and out and in and out of the changing rooms. The sales assistant with her look not even veiled, with a sudden drop down of eyelids whilst she took my figure in, from the floor up and to my head and back down again. Nor for the fact that, not one suggested anything for me to wear, but I did recieve, 'ours are not cut very generously' and then without drawing breath, 'but that's as LARGE as we go!' A classic FFF moment!
Okay, okay, l know l used to be a fashion retailer, in those dark misty bygone years, nay decades., so perhaps my standards are high but standards have fallen so far, l'm in danger of falling in! Where l worked for the trendy shops and the classy fashion departments in well known stores, but bloody heck and eee bye gum and WTF is selling all about nowadays? The only girls that helped were the girls on the changing rooms, allowing me a few at a time.
l went into the personal shopper room, but there wasn't anyone there, it was choc full of sale rails and l waited a few moments feeling out of place and like l wasn't supposed to be there. l was shufflling from foot to foot, so definately furtive!
So did l find anything? Yes, a knitted top and a pink dressing gown, neither of which l plan on wearing on monday night.
What's a girl to do!! sigh!
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
The book tells the story of a group of women in the 1930's who by chance came together and corresponded through a secret shared magazine. These women united for various personal reasons, but they shared the lonely, isolated existence of all housewives and mothers in the society of their time . They all felt a need to share and exchange their worries and concerns, feeling and needs.
Sound familiar so far?
Every two weeks a new magazine was compiled and posted to each woman, who in turn read it and wrote her comments upon it.
This poignant, informative and humorous compilation of a series of letters, experiences and as l see it, cries for help and recognition by other likeminded 'stay at home' mums, helped them to maintain their sanity.
It occured to me that the women in this book weren’t so far removed from ourselves; we are but a group women, mothers, wives (and dads too) who are busily writing our blogs (!) and I guess we probably reflect a much larger global exchange. The similarities of the women in this book though, don’t stop there, the women wrote under pseudonyms. Some of the women met up annually, some didn't or couldn’t for various reasons. In the 1930’s (and in some measure even to the present day) roles as wives and mothers went unrecognised.
So it was out of necessity that these women came to share and reflect with each other, especially in this unusual and innovative way. The experience for many turned out to be life changing.
So much of women’s lives has changed over the years since the 1930's or even 1960's, in fact some may say out of all recognition, women now have careers or children and some women have both. We now have help around the home thanks to modern technology and products, with small or no thanks due to the men in our lives (unless they invented them). But one aspect l think remains the same is the sense of identity and confidence women lose as their roles change from independent women to not so independent women, who endlessly try and balance and juggle, house, home, kids and all the other crap foisted upon us (wittingly or unwittingly).
We just have to get on and deal with it, as did these women and all our female forbears including our mothers and grandmothers.
The womens' correspondence continued for over 50 years, they shared a rare experience, made meaningful and rewarding friendships. Until now their stories and their magazines were frozen in time, as they were archived in boxes at the University of Sussex. From where it was uncovered by the author, who was so inspired by these womens’ writings.
The result is a compelling and uplifting book and l am staggered by the similarities that run through it, emotionally and practically.
l urge you to read it..
Plus ca change!
‘plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose’ - french phrase
Translated means – ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’.
Monday, 28 July 2008
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
She writes; "I read an article the other day in a daily newspaper about a woman who was horrified to find that details she had posted on Facebook had turned up on a sex site and she had lots of very weird people contacting her. While I thoroughly enjoyed the 100 Things About Me (who wouldn't enjoy talking about themselves...) I had slight misgivings while putting them together and then this morning I received an email from a fellow blogger who pointed out to me the dangers of all this information on the blog, and said that it would be very easy to track me down and identify me. She cited a friend who had her identity pinched in this way which was used to get a new passport and benefits book.
While not wishing to sound paranoid about all this, I have therefore decided to take the posts off the site. I have printed them out and also all your lovely comments and responses which I very much appreciated but the posts themselves have now been deleted.
Shame isn't it that these sorts of precautions have to be taken. I leave it up to anybody else who has done this exercise to have a think and my thanks, once again, for the warning."
It brought it all back, very evocative it was of the sun, the sea, the scenery, and the sparkles it really does sparkle like that Greece (it was supposed to be Greece wasn't it), those great fun songs, and La Streep at almost 60 was fabulous!
I have criticized the films they show here in Carlisle, as usually very safe, very mainstream, either all cartoons, grunge or teen films, or gung-ho gore flicks, nothing 'literary' or 'deep and meaningful' here. Usually the audience rarely laughs when I laugh, (what is that about?) and never have l attended a film outside of London where the audiences cheer or applaud. Well, they did last night, laughed, sung along, clapped and cheered. Once someone shouted, 'YES PLEASE!' when Pierce appeared and we ALL cheered in agreement and laughed along. Such a great atmosphere and l just laughed so much, my cheeks still hurt and admittedly I welled up twice, once with happiness and once with THAT certain song ... sigh!!
I guess there were only 4 men in a full house of women! People even chatted with strangers on the way out, a rare thing indeed! I think l'll take my daughter afterall, l'm sure she'll enjoy it and I don't want to wait for the dvd to see it again!
l'm a southerner (l'm from Kent) and l live in the most northern town in the north west of England (Carlisle) and l too get weird looks and silences. They seems to last moments that feel like cold steel hours, ALL of the time. Please be reassured that you are not alone!
So, we can assume your voice fits in (mine doesn't) and that you're not an alien (I'm assuming not) and that don't speak in an inordinately loud or shrill manner? Let's assume it's a given that when this happens you aren't still in your pj's ; your toothbrush isn't sticking out of your er ... pocket; you haven't got a damp patch of sick or have an overlooked soggy rusk hanging from your shoulder; your skirt isn't tucked into your knickers, which if it is, means you've probably been walking around like that since you last went to the loo 2 hours ago. Or you may suffer from a disorder such as Tourrettes and you may have to accept the fact that people will react appallingly and stare at you mouth opened.
If we allow for those people who have suffered life's trauma's and tragedies, we can only assume that these morons you are meeting are either plain rude, anti-socal, snobs or disfunctional adults or they are just so far up their own bums they can't hear you properly!
I try and smile at people, (it can be an effort l know). I do like to thank people for their help or service and mention that I appreciate it, when they go that extra mile. But often times they just peer over their glasses or through their iron (fava beans & a nice chianti) masks at me!
Let's keep up with the friendliness, the smiles and the bonhomie. It really isn't you but it is a sad reflection on our times that people would rather withdraw into the safety of their solitary existences.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
I have now until thursday afternoon to myself! Although l am working on Thursday, the rest of the time is FREE for ME!! weeeeee!!!
So what am l spending this quality me time doing? Well, so far l have driven to the gym; it was closed. I have spoken to two insurance companies, phoned the bank and then SKY to get the digibox reset. All the programmes l set to record to watch tonight and tomorrow night have FAILED! I have changed the sheets (please don't yawn, you are riveted aren't you!) and l am debating whether to mow the lawn now or tomorrow, as it looks like rain. Such decisions! I have hoovered and tidied my daughters room. This is a chore she abhors with avengence and a sour face on her that would make anyone think l'd asked her to drink her own urine, or worse!?
But I have a saviour! My pal Lynn, has phoned and she is escaping her rural village life and little ones. We are meeting at 6.30 for happy hour at 'our' Italian bistro and then we are going to see Mama Mia. My daughter and l have planned and postponed this twice, I think she was humouring me anyway, she is so bored after 4 weeks off school and 'no job yet', that a Magnum and chick flick with mum is just about ok. Well, she's jumped ship and l'm going anyway! Her Mum laughing loudly and humming or even singing badly along to the ughhhhh! retro soundtrack maybe a tad too embarrassing!
Lynn (I hope) isn't embarrased by me! We're lucky, we seem to get each other, she is a mum, albiet a mum of toddlers not teens, and she is almost a generation younger, she has a wise head on her young shoulders, she is from 'down south' also and she is a 'mentalist' too!
We can chat and vent, sympathise and soothe, eat much and drink little We can laugh and sing along as loudly as we like, ignoring the usual silence that surround us, it seems that the locals are very restrained and subdued at cinema, which just makes us worse!!
So we are in for a lovely evening!
Sunday, 20 July 2008
Have we lost the art of writing?
Are we wasting too much time online, writing unnecessary emails (not to mention blogs, I said not to mention...) and less time with pen and paper writing a meaningful letter?
I often hear older family members and friends talking about this generation losing the Art of the Letter writing. So when I opened a hand written small white envelope yesterday morning, (not a brown envelope or a generic 'to the householder missive' or one with cheap pen inside,) it made me think how I used to really enjoy receiving letters.
I used to go through my own little ritual when this rare commodity arrived on my doormat. This would involve placing the letter unopened on the kitchen table, then I would go about making a cuppa. Prolonging the time until I opened the little treasure, by boiling the kettle, heating the pot and then again for luck. Spending time ruminating about the length, the tone and the content of the letter. I would try and extend the time further until I got to the letter and bring time worn and by now reliable avoidance techniques into play (which I still employ when my open uni' essays are about due). After even more circuitous behaviour, I would sit with a tray of tea and biscuits (by which I probably mean chocolate) and enjoy the letter opening, the unfolding and the reading of! (I'm not supposed to end a sentence with of - am I?)
In recent years with the popularity of and how commonplace the internet now is in our lives, the receipt of letters has dwindled to but one from my mother. Then she went, at the age of 72 or so and connected her computer, that goes by the name of Paco, to the internet. There were promises banded about that we would still keep writing to each other, but it was in vain! Now we get snippy if we haven't exchanged emails every few days. In fact I'm wondering if texts are replacing our emails, but I dont think so, even my kids couldn't live with just texts.
I still do write thank you letters and the like by hand and l'm an obsessive list maker, (are there any women that aren't? ) I'll let you into a secret, when l get emails that look long and chatty from family and friends (or even my phone service provider) and if home alone, I print off the email and go through my little reading ritual, it is just as enjoyable.
Surely keeping in contact and the communication flowing is the important thing here. I think there is more contact not less, its just different.
LOL! Unfortunately the letter this morning, was a bill! Beware white handwritten envelopes, they may not be all that they seem!
Well strange you should ask me that, as I'm the owner of an online vintage Boutique or two!!
If you asked my husband that, he would roll his eyes, guffaw or just scream, l'm the bane of his life. I also have my own collection of antique and vintage bags, as well as the stock for the sites, my own website and an Etsy site. Before we moved in November, from a large isolated country farmhouse to urban bungalow-billy land, my bags were displayed in old glass cabinets and were my pride and joy,(after the kids obviously, it is obvious isn't it?). Now it is all sequestered around the house, in secure boxes, under beds, in greenhouses and garages, the house attic and in cupboards and wardrobes in all bedrooms, this is not to mention the vintage clothing ... arghhhh!!!
... and as for my own clothing, I know l have pieces that l havent worn in over a year, cos l always buy a suitable xmas party frock, sometimes vintage sometimes current, and we never go out anywhere to wear them, so I have about 5 in the wardrobe now, that narrowly avoided the skip in November.
here are some of my handbags...and my sites
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
So okay, I've had a busy week of evacuation exercises, work pattern changes, strikes and picket lines and busy, busy times on a busy reception, busy... do I really need to say busy again? My current routine, which as I've mentioned before involves juggling work, home, kids, animals during the week, whilst hubby works away. Not to mention the housework and the zillion other claims, which admittedly I put upon myself! This is something a world of other mums do and probably better than I. It isn't anything new, rare or indeed different. We women do joke that we can multi task, but actually I do hold up my hands and say that I do multi task but none of it do I do particularly well ... and it's all getting a wee bit tedious, actually.
We made some choices that changed our lives and we had two children. When they were toddlers we upped sticks and moved from the sunny seaside of Kent, to the dark, dank and dreary climes of Cumbria. Great for walkers, climbers, ramblers, farmers and fish! I've had a variety of part time jobs here, which I've chosen so they worked well around the kids' school hours and hol's.
For a time I didnt work at all as I was busy setting up my onlone vintage clothing site (http://www.sarasattic.co.uk/). But I soon felt isolated alone all day on remote farm and so found another job that fit around the family.
So what the hell happened? How can a week of part time work, (granted over five full stressful days), two teenage kids that don't really need mollycoddling anymore, (even if I do fuss), a dog, a rabbit, the usual housework, keeping on top of the garden, some bill paying and a Tesco online shop, drive me to cotton wool wobbly despair? I have the coping skills and stamina to deal with most major domestic/emotional castrophes, l know this cos I have been there, when the shit hits, you can count on me. Please don't misunderstand, these are my choices and I stand by them. But the daily grind seems to be getting the better of me!
SO whats with the stress? the headaches? the angst? the miserable moods? I like to, no hope to think it's the mid life change and all this brings to bear. This too shall pass.
A menopausal mum in crisis with two teenagers in the house. This house is a hormonal haze. No wonder my husband only comes home at weekends! I can't blame him, I wouldn't come home at all!
...5 days off now, breathe deeply, smell the roses, tomorrow is a new day ... yeah well obviously, DUH!
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Monday, 14 July 2008
"As I grow in age, I value women who are over 50 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:
A woman over 50 will not lay next to you in bed and ask, "What are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think.
If a woman over 50 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it's usually something more interesting.
A woman over 50 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 50 give a darn what you might think about her or what she's doing.
Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.
Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.
A woman over 50 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women.
Women over 50 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.
Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 50. They always know.
A woman over 50 looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women or drag queens.
Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.
Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.
Yes, we praise women over 50 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coifed hot woman of 50+, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 18-year-old waitress.
For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free," here's an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage."
Sunday, 13 July 2008
Friday, 11 July 2008
One! ONLY ONE!!!! And do you know WHY? Because no one else in this house knows HOW to change a light bulb! They don't even know that the bulb is BURNED OUT!! They would sit in the dark for THREE DAYS before they figured it out. And, once they figured it out, they wouldn't be able to find the f# &%! ** light bulbs despite the fact that they've been in the SAME CABINET for the past 17 YEARS! But if they did, by some miracle of God, actually find them, 2 DAYS LATER, the chair they dragged to stand on to change the STUPID light bulb would STILL BE IN THE SAME SPOT!!!!! AND UNDERNEATH IT WOULD BE THE WRAPPER THE FREAKING LIGHT BULBS CAME IN!!! BECAUSE NO ONE EVER PICKS UP OR CARRIES OUT THE GARBAGE!!!! IT'S A WONDER WE HAVEN'T ALL SUFFOCATED FROM THE PILES OF GARBAGE THAT ARE A FOOT DEEP THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE HOUSE!! IT WOULD TAKE AN ARMY TO CLEAN THIS PLACE! AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON WHO CHANGES THE TOILET PAPER ROLL !!
I'm sorry. What was the question?
Everywhere I went I was met with stoney faces, sirly replies and general unhelpfulness and disinterest. Knowing my daughter would 'tell me like it is', l asked if I was being arsey or having attitude, she said not.
So I can only assume:
We went to have a zip replaced and no tariff of charges was displayed on the wall of the shop and the price which seemed to plucked out of thin air was £12 and would take 3 days, blow that! So l shall get out the old faithfull sewing machine and do it myself.
Whatever happened to the phrase 'the customer is King!'? cos it sure feels like there has been a beheading or an abidication.
But one nice thing, my daughter saw a black vest top she liked, it was festooned with diamante,lace and trimmings and had a glitzy price tag of £29.99, which l am certain must be an error. So we tracked back to haberdashers and bought some assorted lace trimmings, sequins and stuff and will spend this afternoon at the kitchen table, making one for her to wear that will be unique. Oh and replacing the dress zip. Some quality time together. Lovely!
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Why do l do this often enough, that every six months or so I have sit down with a pen and paper and list my roles, jobs, projects and then I shave the list so I can breathe?
One of my 'roles' is as a part time Museum & Gallery assisitant on a 25 hour week, which is worked over a complicated eight week shift pattern, which changes over three seasons and that only the Ancient Bablylonians or Egyptians would understand!
I juggle this job around the family, which includes two teenage kids, one 13 year old boy and a 16 year old girl (I thank you for your sympathetic groans!) and a 12 year black lab called Pippa. My husband works away most weekdays and comes home for weekends, although as I type, we are in the middle of a three week 'work away' period, which is new to us all; more on that another time, depending how it all turns out!
So as l'm sure you can imagine the daily photofit, with me managing everyone and myself in some sort of tuneless syncopation which we call, our day!
So when l am asked and invariably this is a twice weekly event, to alter, extend or swap a shift to suit someone and anyone other than me, why do I say, 'yes that's fine!' ....even though I am given the, 'you don't have to do it!'... get out of jail free card!
I tell myself that it's cos l want an easy life, no hassle! But the bottom line is it gives me hassle! It doesnt make my life any easier!
Like I don't have enough to do!
So you heard it here first, the first point on my 'plan' is to say no! No changes, no new projects or at least until l finish the ones l've started (oh my!)and for gods sake Sara, as my daughter is always telling me, 'CHILL WOMAN!'
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
'Yet recent reports in a British newspaper suggested that Cleopatra was fat and frumpy, with a large hooked nose, bad teeth, sharp eyes, and a thick fat-folded neck.'
Peter Higgs, curator of the Museum's Greek and Roman Department explains,
"These statues carved in the Egyptian style, show this wonderful curvaceous body, but, if you look at the face, it's not what we call beautiful by modern standards, although she may have been considered beautiful at the time."
PAH!! only a man would say that!! I think she still looks pretty darn fine!
Am I fat, frumpy & fifty? I guess l'm overweight a tad or two, but then who isn't? Am I frumpy? truthfully? yeah on a BAD day or when l'm just slouching around the house and garden, no makeup, just jeans and a tee. AM I fifty? Ah, now here we come to it, the crux of the matter.
I will reach this monumental state next month. Sigh! I'm all a twitter and I can hardly stop thinking about it!
However, l have decided not to sit and squirm and squeeze this offending spot on my immediate horizon, I have decided that this will be a great year, the year I start to put myself a little more ahead in the queue of wants and needs. Perhaps to pamper, to indulge and perhaps to enjoy!
I haven't a plan but I'm sure it will come together nicely over the next weeks and months and l shall try and stick to it, this plan I don't have!