Tuesday, 30 June 2009

abc Wednesday X is for...

X is for

Xochimilco




During our time living in Mexico in the late 1960's and
then later during holiday visits in 1970's, we made some wonderful excursions.
Our Sundays were traditionally spent at the zoo, a museum, an afternoon in Sanborns, the cinema or if we were really lucky my parents and sometimes 'grandmother' Mamacita (little-mother) would take us to Xochimilco.

These are the famous floating gardens. These floating platforms/boats were decorated back in those day with fresh flowers. Then in 1980s they were decorated with paper flowers. These days unfortunately they are just painted boats.

There were floating kitchens selling tacos, enchiladas, quesadilos. Others selling flowers, native goods of magnificent silver jewellery. Other plied drinks, cacaquates and puppets and pinatas.

We would go for a 'punt on the canals, then sometimes we would be allowed to go riding. Then it was on a clearing amongst the trees, with gnarly roots and trunks every which way. It is not like that now. Health and safety issues and all that!

Once l remember my horse/pony broke into a gallop and he sprinted back towards home. I was frightened and thrilled at the same time and thanks to the wonderful western saddles I held on and didn't fall off ever!

We became quite proficient.
Horse riding was available at zoo's fairs and most attractions.

There was a colourful - like everything - in Mexico market and we bought traditional blouses and dresses. Tablecloths and t shirts.I remember being there with my best friend Patience in 1975 during the school holidays in our Junior/senior year- I went to go school i the states for a time. We flew alone, we were 16 and met my father in Mexico city.
We went to Xochimilco again, Taxco the heart of the silver trade, Cuernavaca
and a wonderful night seeing a performance of the Folklorico. Of which I will post another time.

I have been a lucky girl all in all.

(please note these are not my images, these are sourced from the net.
I hope that isn't cheating on abc wednesday)

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

Monday, 29 June 2009

A Mother's Battle Cry!

A Heads up to you all!
Now put away your broomsticks, sorry I meant to say brooms away, if you know where they are!

After recent posts here and elsewhere in blogland,
some bemoaning teenagers and in some cases declaring distinct pleasure of mothering these terrorists, albeit momentary (do l feel a cheap joke coming on here, yes but I will refrain!)
TEENAGERS, teens, tweenies, that is what this post is about, so settle down now.
I have cogitated, plotted and taken the bull by the proverbials.

Horns not bollocks!
And I am really pleased to be able to tell you all, that I have,
with the help of Fhina - A woman of no importance (hardly not my dear!)
well we have produced a fledgling blog for the purpose and pleasure of
mothers, fathers indeed any carer or protector of the little buggers.
Or in my case a 6ft and 1/4 inch 14 year old and his hardassed, full throttled, full on, gobby 17yr old sister by day and Vampire Princess by night.

A place to rant or rave, a santuary to value or vent, a homestead to shout or salve or just a pillow to lay your head a while. A virtual tree house. Dreaming of being fed peeled grapes and er well whatever your heart desires. Now I am getting carried away. I think you get the drift.


We hope to share some Mojitos with you on these sultry summer nights,



with lashings of chocolate if that is your vice, I know it is mine....
and the meatloaf, well it's a bit hot for meatloaf this time of year... isn't it?


So Mamas, Mummys, Mothers, Mums, Moms, Mams,
Dads, Daddys, papas and pops come on by
and if you feel so inclined, write a post for us, just let us know and we will sign you up!!


And....

by the way you don't have to look like this, all waspy, clean and shiny, with davinci veneers!



come over to my house
MAD MANIC MAMAS

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Only Yesterday


It was only yesterday you would run to me when you were upset or hurting. It was only yesterday you held me tight. Rib crackingly tight. For no other reason than that you felt like it. Only yesterday would you share every discovery. Every happiness. Every fear. Every dream. Good or Bad. Every new step. Each fall.

Was it only yesterday you kissed me goodnight for the last time. Telling me gently, but firmly. It wasn't necessary any longer. My heart missed a beat. It isn't? Where is that written? Show me. I wish to silently protest. I'm not ready. Not yet.

I think it was only yesterday when I listened furtively for your each sleeping breath. One to follow after another. So then I too, could breathe.

It was only yesterday you tied your shoes. You buttoned your shirt. You zipped up your coat. First times. By yourself. Beaming with pride. You. Me.

This week you have been on work experience. You've been surprised by the joy and the satisfaction you felt. A class of six year olds called you Mister Watson. Three little giggling girls told you through trembling hands they loved you. A boy asked you if you could be best friends. Life learning. Experience. It has begun.

It was only yesterday I stood paralysed and cold. My eyes following your every step. Every fall. Trip and tumble. On a frozen concrete playground. I stood. On duty. Seemingly, ignoring each other. Balancing the thin line. Secretly comforted by each others presence.

Only yesterday you played in your band for a parents 50th Birthday. I watched you try to hide the emotional squirms and flinches. You asked if we were going. I knew we could not. It is your time. (shhh! I can catch you on youtube)

Your wide dimpled smile sits comfortably in your malleable face. Daily it appears to morph towards manhood. Giraffe like you saunter. Finding you way. Over six foot you tower over me. Man child.

Next week you go away with your history class to WW1 Battlefields in Europe. To the Somme & Ypres. Then a few days later you leave again. For the Duke of Edinburgh award trials. Overnight. Four lads. On the Lakeland fells. Alone. Now I squirm and flinch. My skin itches. I waken suddenly from my thin sleep. My mind is pacing. Across the ceiling. Back and forth. Your bed is empty. Your room is still. My hands sweat and I blink back tears. I try to swallow the fear. My throat tightens. My breath catches deep in my heart.

How do I let go? This is the hard part. The part I have kept boxed away. How not to see them. Nor touch them. Not to reach out every day. I will dehydrate. I will shrink. Visibly smaller. I am less. Lost. To thirst for the smell of them. To breathe them in. Let them go. I know. I must begin. Or else they will tug and pull and rip themselves from me. I am told they will return.

I will sit on the periphery of their lives. On the edge of my own. Watching. Wanting. Waiting. For morsels and cake crumbs. I will drink deep from the well of memory.

She is seventeen. He is almost fifteen. How fast it goes.

And it was only yesterday...


Post of the day
Post of the Day winner. Thank you David. Awarded by David 'authorblog' McMahon.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Photostory Friday


Under a Dogwood tree

The last few days have been cool but sunny
so I have been spending my lunch break
in the shade under this glorious tree
which is in full bloom
it is situated in the corner of the front gardens
of Tullie House a Jacobean town house
which is now the heart of a Museum & Art Gallery
where I work

(most of these images enlarge if clicked)

my garden seat

the beautiful blush upon the blooms

the view before me as I sit underneath its fringe of blossoms
taken with my phone on panaoramic mode

a Jacobean window



Under a dogwood tree

(Japanese Dogwood/ Japanese Strawberry tree
Botanical name Cornus kousa
Origin-Japan

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek




Monday, 22 June 2009

....no one can hear you scream...

I have recently joined British Mummy Bloggers, But I am slightly troubled. Because, yet again, I am too old for the club. Okay! I get it. I do understand. Mummy's like to chat and get together with other Mummy's and we get to go to toddlers/swimming/teddy bears picnic together etc .... but what happens when the kids get older and they don't require constant supervison, even if I think they do. Where does that leave me, leave us?

I have the mummy of young ones' tshirt, painted mug and teacloth, signed old uniform sweatshirts from each childs junior 'graduations'.
The fire guard has long gone, the soft cover pads are off the sharp corners, security socket covers removed. The bed guards have been dumped; toys sorted and assorted clothing boot fair-ed long time past. The coffee table has reappeared in the middle of the living room. Much to Larry's dismay(would he admit it) the freezer no longer contains fish fingers and alpha bites. My kids are trying to get into bars; trying to get out for longer; trying to buy alcohol and trying me to the limit, and that is only what I know about. The mind boggles! So where are these other Mummys, please make yourselves known to me, I know there is Supportive Suburbia & Fab Fhina, but come on there must be more of you, bloggers or not. I'm not a Yummy Mummy any more if I ever was, whic I wasn't. I am a fifty (soon to be fiftysomething) MUM or Mam up here in Cumbria. My kids were born in Kent in the nineteen nineties. They no longer bare the birthmarks in the shape of that fair garden county, they sound Cumbrian, eh? Alraeght chuck? I have to organise a translator some evenings when they are here talking at speed together, way over my head.


There are websites, blogs and no doubt events galore planned for Mummy's of newborns, toddlers and infant and junior children. But where is the support for the Mummys of teenagers, the Mummys of apron tugging and scissor wielding 'gonna cut those apron ties' fifth and sixth formers. Which roughly translates to modern days speak as soon to be Year 11's and 13's, soon to be Gap year-ing or off to University, via some shifts on the shop floor to fund it, one hopes laughingly. This all requires support groups, outings, meetings, litres of Latte and Zinfandel, strawberries and choc's, trips to theatre and cinema with like minded women who are not adverse to admitting occasionally googling out of boredom and pleasure for images of some thirty or forty something hunky actors.

Don't get me wrong, I am in a good place. My cup is half full and I have another bottle in the fridge. I have some great friends (whose kids are just starting school)and I do go out quite regularly these days. I am getting my head around many things and am making plans for the future, my future. But, as someone once said 'In space no one can hear you scream' ( c1980 'Alien' movie I think), it's just, well no one can hear me scream at home or in my mind. Or can you? Teenagers! Sigh.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Time off for bad behaviour




















Due to recent bad behaviours. Rather like a teenager. My laptop has not been responding to my instructions. Or my questions. Nor my demands. And there has been much bad language, I confess !?+?*

I have had to give my laptop some overdue TLC, medicine and some down time to recuperate. She is stuck in recovery just now. Receiving well intentioned therapy (Microsoft updates which have taken 5 hours so far- I do hope I get to bed some time before the early hours)

I started this yesterday lunch time, after I purchased a mega 60zillion GIG external hard drive to back up the little darling. She went into shock. Then I stripped her naked. Then inserted the recovery disk. All went well until I tried to reinstall my music files and there wasn't enough space left. It was then I realised I had installed vista premium instead of basic (bloody vista!) So now having wiped her again this morning...the updates are taking forever.

This is all l have the energy, inclination and interest to post.

Until she is recovered fully and I have had a soak and watched a dvd or two. Larry is going tot he pictures (god does anyone else say that - the pictures!?) the cinema to watch a horror flick with the kids. Drag me to hell and back or summat...not my scene. My bent tonight is the divine actor Mr P Seymour Hoffman and the delightful Laura Linney in The Savages.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Photostory friday - C'est arrivé!



I had to share this with you
as you have all been on this journey with me

This morning just as I was leaving for work
the postman rang the doorbell
he wanted a signature
for this...



Yippee... it's official. I am now British AND French!

My journey has been written through these posts


Visit Mama Geek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Flip flops


I will never complain about my less than pert boobs again!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Moi meme

Stolen from House of lime…but this won’t be half as witty!

FOOD-OLOGY

What is your salad dressing of choice?
eh bien seulement francais tu sais!

What is your favourite sit-down restaurant?
Indian Takeout you can’t take me anywhere, I eat too much and then get loud on one glass of wine. I’m a cheap date.

What food could you eat for 2 weeks straight and not get sick of it ? typically fantastial for a woman of a certain age, a bit of variety please, Hugh Jackman with side portion of Gerard Butler

What are your pizza toppings of choice?
you think I’ll have room or time?

What do you like to put on your toast?

Butter and blackcurrant jam either mine or BonneMamans

TECHNOLOGY

How many televisions are in your house?

One very big one

What colour cell phone do you have?
Purple

What does the first text message in your in box say and who sent it?
Out of context they all sound positively porno!

Who was the last person to call you?
Editorial dept Vogue magazine (don’t get too excited) they wanted me to advertise with them.

BIOLOGY

Are you right-handed or left-handed?
I have two and they both work for me, right.

Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
Well I had
some help with my daughter after 3 days, you don’t want the details surely?

What is the last heavy item you lifted?
Internally my 9lb 10.5oz daughter. Externally, an installation at the Museum.

BULLCRAPOLOGY

If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
No way José!

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
You don’t read my blog do you?









Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?

With medical attention standing by? Add another bloody nought then?

DUMBOLOGY

How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?
you have seen me naked haven’t you!

Last time you had a run-in with the cops?

Me nah never have! Er have I? nah.

Last person you talked to in person?

Larry just came downstairs from his office for an iced drink

Favourite Month?
August and December, sorry has to be two.

CURRENTOLOGY

Missing someone?
Always

Mood?
overcast, but promises to brighten up later.

What are you listening to?
Dido, which probably explains it. I said Dido!

Watching?
People, I love people watching( I remember a corner cafe au Place de la Madeliene, Paris. Or anywhere really.

Worrying about?
Read my blog!

RANDOMOLOGY

What’s the last movie you watched ?
Lost in Translation for 6th time, twice in last few weeks. Neither Larry nor my son had seen it, so l watched it with them individually. Larry kinda liked it, a bit. My son is on the same page as me though.









Do you smile often?
What else is there to hide behind.

Do you always answer your phone?
No.

It’s four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?
My daughter saying she’ll be home soon. Waiting for a taxi. Sigh, I will be asleep soon then.

If you could change your eye color what would it be?
I wouldn’t

What flavour do you add to your drink at Sonic Drive In ?
I don’t know what that is. Does it require batteries?

Do you own a digital camera?

Yes but it isn’t a SLR. Soon though, very soon.

Have you ever had a pet fish? That’s kinda the answer to my second favourite joke. How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb? FISH and yes I had a fish when I was staying in the States, when I left my friend Patience, it lived for several years.

Favorite Christmas song? Fairytale of New York, the Pogues with Kirsty McColl.

What’s on your wish list for your birthday? A ticket to see Johnny Hallyday, he’s giving up touring so its last chance saloon. A Trip to Paris or Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam. London. NYC. Anywhere really. As long as I can go see Museums & Galleries!

Can you do push ups? You shouldn’t ask a lady that.

Can you do a chin up? Which one?

Does the future make you more nervous or excited? Pass-ed out!

Do you have any saved texts. No I always delete the evidence!

Ever been in a car wreck? Thankfully not.

Do you have an accent? My kids and everyone up here in Cumbria think I sound like an East-ender! I think I am accent less, but apparently not.

Songs to make you cry? Jeez there are so many, I’m a sop!
Wichita Lineman/Glen Campbell

Je t’aime comme je respire- Johnny Hallyday

Hymne a l'amour - Edith Piaf

Without you/Nilsson

Caruso/ Luciano Pavarotti

Queen of Hearts – Greg Allman

Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland

Almost Blue- Diana Krall/Elvis Costello/Alison Moyet

Memphis Skyline – Rufus Wainwright

I can’t make you love me – Bonnie Raitt

Songbird- Fleetwood Mac

Blue eyes- Elton John and many more

Hope there is someone – Anthony & The Johnsons

A piece of sky – Barbra Streisand

Plans tonight? Taxi driving for the kids/supermarket, you wanna swap?

Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? I hit my bottom most days!

Name 3 things you bought yesterday? a coffee/ a chicken / crusty bread

Have you ever been given roses? Yes the most magnificent bunch were sent to me on my 40th by a girlfriend. Larry sent me some (I think) for my 21st

Current worry? My work contract comes to an end in March, I’ve started worrying about it not being renewed. If so do I go back to retail, it’s changed so. I’m too old for them now perhaps and actually too qualified. Been there seen it done it. New challenges ahead for me.

Current hate right now? Anyone need a spare tyre?

Met someone who changed your life? When? Bit obvious but kids change your life don’t they, again and again and again

What song represents you? I dunno. I guess for me it would be Je ne regrette rien. I just asked Larry and he agreed that would represent me well. But it was a whole different matter if the question was, 'what songs reminds me of you!

What were you doing 12 AM last night? Dreaming!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Unstuck

I was catching up with housework, promising myself a few hours with a book. Or with the bath tub. Perhaps a dvd. I had arranged to meet my girl friend later for a quick coffee & catch up. Note to self. Fetch phone from under my pillow and text her to confirm.

Then the doorbell rang and she was on the doorstep. One hour early. We just scooped up the morning and set it aside. Without guilt. But slightly unhinged.

Talking over lunch. We discussed the usual domestics issues and tissues. Our mood swings and frustrations.

We spoke of our journeys with the OU and how for now, the study platform doesn't suit. But we still thirst. I found my scattered thoughts take on structure. And form.Words erupted from my throat. I had apparently made a decision. It hung in the air between us. I want what?

My harboured aspirations had been released from their tethered reigns. For a time I have shored up feelings of loss. Reluctantly harnessing the grey hairs of doubt. Looking over the edge of the void. At the long walk down the hill. I have been treading water. I know. This vast wasteland spread out before me. I haven't known what I should do with it. Is it written, I just wait and do nothing. I have had two careers and a bit. Plus motherhood. So just why am I just treading water. Lacking direction. There is more. Much more. Change of frame. The strings are loosened. Not yet a while untied. Not broken. Life doesn't stop. It changes.

I finally said it out loud. I want to do so much. I never say it. I aspire. I want to learn. To train. I want options. I need options. At last. Out of the box steps excitement. Opportunities. I have made a choice. To float in the void. Sink. Swim. Or I have to make things happen. A future filled with living. A Life.

I now have a guidance appt booked with a return to learning officer at Northumbria uni in July; a one day taster course in 'prevention conservation' for the arts, yummy!; An open day appt. at the University of Cumbria, Art School to discuss Access /Foundation to Fine Art and an ongoing discussion with The Open College of the Arts, with whom I may start a foundation course as they will credit me for my OU Art History courses. Now that's what I call options for one afternoons work on the phone.

Just takes a flick of that mental switch. et voila. Tous ca change!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Things I've been silent about...

Feminism – What a crock! It has all gone badly wrong. Yes it has given us more choices. Opened more doors. Bridged the pay and opportunity gap. But let’s face it, I juggle more than my mother or grandmother ever did. I have more balls (in appropriately so) up in the air, I just try and do everything and I do them all badly. No real sense of achievement. Satisfaction not guaranteed.

Equality - My belief is that we are not equal to men. We are different. I have never grasped why a woman would wish to be equal to a man. We can only be equal in intelligence. In every other way we are different. They are stronger, more emotionally resilient and stable in the main. They have no biological and hormonal ‘happenings’ to deal with. Which is why historically men –and this is all just my opinion - have been politically and socially more powerful and in positions of power and authority. Even in these modern times, they are still the master of the political and business workplace. I believe these differences should be celebrated and applauded and accepted. Motherhood must be appreciated for the most worthwhile role in the world. The responsibility of nurturing and keeping another human being alive for me cannot be bettered by any position or responsibility in the workplace. Men can keep it.

Politics - I find I am mostly waist deep in the political mud. I am in turn flummoxed, frustrated and frightened by the political arena. The current development in UK politics, is the MP’s expenses exposé. Which may or may not be a devise to distract from the financial mess that the greedy fat cats have created (dare I say men?) It is shameful and must be addressed, how can they not be prosecuted, they have used badly worded systems to theeir advantage and in some case claimed inappropriately and incorrectly. How is losing a job in the cabinet the 'punishment' how about leaving right now! Because the system would grind to a halt. then what? Rebuild it. If I took so much as a paperclip I would be disciplined. I believe this is just a beginning of a new political structure and perhaps a platform for the future. This isn’t working that much is clear and I do feel there is a domino type of effect working here whereby we will see many established platforms, structures and systems tumbling down and falling. It is time for change. We need our own OBAMA moment.

Religion - I am still searching. I am distracted by the day to day. Perhaps the power of the NOW is the only belief system I know and understand. I am hopeful in time the truth will reveal itself.

Depression – A web of sticky threads, which can draw me in deep, when I’m not looking where I am headed. I carefully dust every nook and cranny regularly to keep the spiders at bay.

Family & Friends –The tree of family is rooted deep in my garden. Their branches reach out and touch. Keeping me near. They help keep the darkness at bay. Replenishing. Comforting. For which I am thankful.

Aspirations - Mostly left on a back burner. Silently and slowly simmering. My creative juices have been capped. Time restraints and family commitments have been my excuse for many years now. A few days ago I unpacked my easels, paints, pencils from their dusty boxes. I started faffing with some preparatory drawings for a small project I have in mind. I set myself small goals. Travel, photography, art, writing, reading, learning are the BIG goals. Baby steps for now.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A la claire fontaine

Monday night I went to the cinema, alone.
'The Monday Night Alternative' is a film season at the Tullie House Museum
which shows independent films that have no chance
of reaching us through the syndicated cinemas by which we are now served.

Two weeks ago I saw 'Miss Pettigrew lives for a Day',
a delightful Henry Higgins of a film. Substantial talent. A period piece.
The screen play was a gentle and respectful representation of the book by Winifred Watson.
I read this last year, it has been republished by the wonderful Persephone -
I love rolling that word around my mouth - Publishing house.
They only publish out of print books,
which they consider to be masterpieces of 20th century fiction.
With a lighthearted punch.
It is funny and classy. The 1930's fashions too, sigh!
The film was a delight. I recommend it.


On Monday I saw, 'I've missed you so long'.
A wonderful crisp french film. Great effortless acting.
I had wanted to see this for some time, it is already on DVD.
But to see it in the small lecture theatre/cinema at Tullie House,
makes the occasion a little more personal and it feels like a treat.
Something which the commercial bathtubs, full of popcorn and selling BOGOF's
through the teenage market on mobile phones, does not quite capture.

Kristin Scott Thomas headed up the classy cast,
in this drama dealing with the dramatic family secrets, ties and angst.
I tend to watch more French and World cinema films.
As I get older the challenge of understanding the plot,
with their subtle hidden humour and stylish nuances
makes the effort of going so worthwhile.




A tune, ' a la claire fontaine' pulled me further in half way through,

as I seemingly knew the lyrics of the first few verses. By heart?

I couldn't recall exactly why I know it - Moannie may be able to tell me -

It has been playing on repeat in my head all day. I hear it now.
A pocket full of memories. Locked away. Until someone turns the key.
Life is strange isn't it?


'A la claire fontaine' was also played at the end
of another wonderful film ' The Painted Veil'
a film adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's book.
Higly recommended also.