Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Bloody fest

The dentist did his deed yesterday with the last of the arranged extractions. It went better than the last time despite a minor misunderstanding before we left the house. I nearly went into panic overdrive as I thought dearest Mr Doris was going to try and fit in getting daughter to college before the dentist. It was my time and I felt very fragile and nearly threw myself onto the floor in a trantrum fit and certainly went into hyperventilating and heart racing.

Daughter looked at me like a madwoman and Mr Doris couldn't understand why I was upset as I had clearly misunderstood that he was putting me first. But he was very sweet and apologised.

The dental assistant tried to get him to sit in the waiting room and I was firm this time that he should hold my hand until I went under and he did. And then in the recovery room I passed out for 20 minutes and he was holding my hand as I came to.

I had another stitch but so far recovery is going better than last time. For 24 hours I resisted any food or cups of tea as I just can't bear anything to go wrong. I bit down on a wet wad for many hours yesterday to try to stem the bleeding. It seems to have done the trick.

Today, to complete the blood fest, I get to use my new Mooncup proper. It's been a very long time since I've been excited about my monthly cycle and will review the Mooncup in a few days.

Original Comments:

Milt Bogs said...

Hope you're continuing with the recovery Gran. My little chinese dentist wanted to relieve me of something or other. I refused as politely as I could. I suspect she was only after my money.
Fancy your forebears being from Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:08:00 PM

Cheryl said...

Feel better soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:40:00 PM

Writer Mom said...

Dental work and Mooncuppery. What a week!
You're doing well! Better than I would, for sure.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 6:49:00 PM

jane said...

Oh my goodness, I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I can't wait to hear how it goes with your Mooncup!
I'm glad you're recovering more quickly. I know how the dentist scares you, you've been such a very brave soul.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 6:26:00 AM

Anji said...

Hope that you are having a good rest. Good luck with the mooncup!

Thursday, December 01, 2005 10:54:00 AM

Writer Mom said...

Are ya still healing?

Next time, come over to the states. Dental Hubby will fix you up very gently.

("Next time???")

Thursday, December 01, 2005 11:02:00 PM

Orikinla Osinachi. said...

I hope you are allright now?

God bless.

Friday, December 02, 2005 5:16:00 PM

Juggling Mother said...

Hope you're feeling better now. Why are dentists so much scarier than doctors?

Saturday, December 03, 2005 3:39:00 PM

Rain said...

Hope you are feeling better! Thanks for visiting me.

Sunday, December 04, 2005 4:13:00 PM

Z said...

I've been known to throw a tantrum that will rival any the kids. Mightily embarrassing.

Oh for an understanding hubby. I usually get told off for being-a-brat by my 'better' half.

(And still having dentist probs I see, hope it's all over)

Sunday, December 04, 2005 4:22:00 PM

doris said...

Yoo-hooo! Thank you for your encouraging and lovely comments. I have been up to my eyes but oh what a wonderful week. It is so good when everything seems to be coming up roses, especially for others who I have tried hard to help out with. Nice to know it is making a difference.

My mouth is on the mend - nothing like last time - but have a few twinges and hope it is nothing more. I had just a little rest the day after but since then have been non-stop. Sometimes it would be nice for the roller coaster to stop and for everyone to leave the fair for a few days. Ah well, I probably wouldn't want it any other way :-)

Sunday, December 04, 2005 6:59:00 PM

birdychirp said...

oh sounds so painful - teethwise. I hope they get better soon.

Mooncup; my back doesn't move well enough. But great plan though!

Sunday, December 04, 2005 9:11:00 PM

Annie said...

I admire how well you are coping with it. I was a bag of nerves just having a small filling a few weeks ago. Hope you feel totally better soon. *Hugs*

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 11:32:00 AM

dog1net said...

Extractions are never fun. I had my wisdom tooth pulled a couple of weeks ago, and I'm glad I'm all the better for it. Good to hear you fared well. As to the "mooncup?" Well, that's entirely different matter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 12:09:00 AM

Monday, 28 November 2005

Driving snow

Warm in the car
Driving along.
Thick flakes of snow
Pelt across the windscreen
Like a blizzard
With me in my snow globe.

I love driving in the snow :-)

Original Comments:

Penn Beer said...

We have gridlock here in Bogsville. A dusting of snow and the idiots are out of control.

It warms my heart to know that there is at least one other expert driver out there somewhere.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:46:00 AM

miltbogs said...

Who is Pennbeer? What's he doing in Bogsville?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:49:00 AM

jane said...

That is such a beautiful post, both in word & appearance.
I seem to be easy to confuse tonight. Is it really snowing there? (I'm thinking not, but am not sure)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 5:50:00 AM

doris said...

Jane Oh yes, we had snow yesterday. Great big fluffy snowflakes that came down in a sort of blizzard. Now we don't get real blizzards and it made me laugh becuase a negative person I know complains about blizzards (which we don't get) and here was one! It's not settled as it was too wet.

Milt Maybe you have new neighbours and need to go over and say hello and invite down the Tulip & Tiara don'tchafink? :-)

Penn Beer You've casued dear old Milt some consternation. He is always regailing us with tales of Bogsville! Coo - I've been referred to as an expert driver. I think I should say no more and swan off thinking I really am :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 7:44:00 AM

Growing Up said...

I'm a real nervous driver so thats one thing i'm dreading when it snows here. My kids are going to hate me because we will be walking to school everyday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:43:00 PM

jane said...

Doris, that is so cool! It sounds like you get just enough snow to where its enjoyable. I absolutely love the snowflakes around the poem. (well I know they're flowers, but they look like snowflakes)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 7:43:00 PM

DorisFM said...

It's beautiful.
Greets from Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:10:00 AM

Astryngia said...

Love the snowglobe idea. Lovely. We had a blizzard last Friday. Snow disappeared in sno time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 10:23:00 PM

baker said...

nice poem!!

Thursday, December 01, 2005 12:02:00 AM

Thursday, 24 November 2005


In honour of Buy Nothing Day this Saturday I have bought (!) my daughter and I a Mooncup each. As you can see we have a mummy sized one on the right:

Also MrsDoF has long mentioned them and wrote again about The Diva Cup which is another brand of the same sort of thing. A friend of mine was raving about them a few years ago so, finally, I have taken the plunge.

Daughter is going to get hers for Christmas. It should be one of those suitably embarrassing gifts but I wish it wasn't an embarrassing subject for her. If it can help towards saving her from 10,000 sanitary towels and tampons during her lifetime then it must be a great gift.

As for me, I have yet to take my Mooncup for a tour. And to trim it's tail to what is comfortable for me. They reckon it lasts for ten years and all you do is insert, and then a couple of times a day remove, wipe out, rinse off and re-insert. Occasionally you are supposed to sterilise it in boiling water or in a steriliser. (I can hear it now.... "Muuuum, what's this boiling on the cooker?")

Apparently it can take up to two menstrual cycles to get used to it and then I'd never look back. I did lots of reading on the subject and found some very funny reviews. My natural ghoulish curiousity can't wait to see how the contents of my Mooncup works out in practise. Fingers crossed - not long to wait.

Original Comments:

The Editter said...
hello - delurking to point you to a blogger Mooncup review here:

hmm, you're not going to make your daughter open it in front of a whole bunch of rellies, are you?
Friday, November 25, 2005 2:32:00 AM
doris said...
Hallo The Editter

"hmm, you're not going to make your daughter open it in front of a whole bunch of rellies, are you?" Ooooh tempting revenge.... but no! More important issues at hand here.

Nice of you to de-lurk and I've put that link in as a clickable link...
Friday, November 25, 2005 7:38:00 AM
Ally said...
Hmm, I've read about these before, now definitely going to get one. But what happens at night? Do you need to get up half way through and empty it, or does that just depend on how heavy you are?
Friday, November 25, 2005 1:52:00 PM
doris said...
Just as you say, it depends.

I'm part way through reading this other review and subsequent comments.

I've already experimented myself and so far much better than I expected and have a few things to say in due course on the subject!
Friday, November 25, 2005 2:01:00 PM
MrsDoF said...
Thanks for the nod, Missy Doris. Blush, blush.
Actually, Ally, I like it best at night. No need for panties to hold a pad in place. I hate it when my panties get in a wad ;) !!
I've used my cup for several cycles and don't have leaking. It can stay in for as long as 10 hours, and holds several ounces.
Makes me wonder about what Natives used in times past. How come history always mentions battles but not fixable monthly needs?
Friday, November 25, 2005 6:32:00 PM
Badaunt said...
I'm looking forward to reading how you get on with it. I've thought about getting one, too. Maybe you will inspire me...

Mrsdof: I've often wondered about how women used to manage, too.
Saturday, November 26, 2005 3:13:00 AM
jane said...
Doris, won't your daughter just die if she finds out there was an actual photo of her Mooncup on an international blog? I dont think I'd tell her.
I find it cute you got mom & daughter ones. I'm thinking now of getting it for myself & Cavegirl.
I'll wait for your review first. :)
Saturday, November 26, 2005 10:07:00 AM
doris said...
Jane - she won't find out! The kids do not know about mommy's secret blogging habit which is why I keep it anonymous and do not mention their/our names.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 11:37:00 AM
Juggling Mother said...
Sounds like an interseting concept - you'll have to review it for us once its been used.

My mother once sent me embarrassing post while I was working in a holiday camp. we got the mail at breakfast, & I opened mine in front off all the staff & children for about 20 condoms to fall out. Thanks mum!

The historical evidence tends to show women used to have the big tie onto a waist-band pads that some of us can remember - filled with moss most usually. Of course women didn't menstruate as much, tending to be pregnant or feeding babies most of the time. Also, many cultures "secluded" menstruating women, making life much easier:-)
Saturday, November 26, 2005 6:56:00 PM
Writer Mom said...
I shall have to wait until the children are older. I expect they would think it a small trumpet.

Not that I would leave it lying around. Oh no. I'm very organized.
Sunday, November 27, 2005 12:15:00 AM
Jo said...
Well obviously I don't have any personal experience ;-) but 'er indoors swears by them and has been a loyalist for some years now!
Monday, November 28, 2005 8:47:00 AM

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Comfort food - Tiramisu

The 100% calorie-free comforter!!!


Mascarpone cheese; double cream; organic egg yolk; sponge fingers; frozen chocolate, strong coffee sweetened and Tia Maria.
1) pour glass of Tia Maria and sip
2) whip Mascarpone, cream, egg yolk and generous slugs of Tia Maria until firmish

3) Pour several more generous slugs of Tia Maria into about half pint cold strong coffee ever so slightly sweetened. Put handfuls of the sponge fingers into the coffee and liquer and let soak a moment and then lay in serving dish. Keep going until you have base covered in sponge fingers.
4) Use a peeler to shave chocolate over the moist finger base. I used about half of a strip of chocolate here.
5) Keep sipping your liquer

6) Pour over the whipped Mascarpone mixture. No extra sugar was needed in it as the liquer sweetens it if you use enough!
7) Spread out the cream mixture.
8) This is what it looks like from the side.
9) Shave some more of the chocolate over the top.
10) Admire how it is looking and sip some more Tia Maria.
11) Refrigerate for at least several hours. I made this at lunchtime and will eat it the same evening. It tastes even better the next day as the flavours and textures will have developed.
12) This is very important and in fact you shouldn't attempt this recipe unless you do the following. Get your mixing bowl...
13) ... and lick it nice and clean. A clean finger should do the trick. Make sure you haven't wasted any precious mixture on the beaters either. A tongue is good for them (but first unplug mixer!)
14) Some hours later you are ready to serve up...
15) Enjoy.

As for those calories you must remember that if you worry over these things then you are lost. Eat with love and thanks and just don't over do it. Mr Doris and I will probably finish off this pud in two days!! :-)

Original Comments:

Le laquet said...
Yum! Mascarpone ... with anything, yum!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:18:00 AM
Hannah said...
It's fine: if you cut it in half, all the calories will fall out. It's one of the Diet Rules. :D
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 10:43:00 AM
jane said...
It's 3am & I find myself wanting to go to YOUR house & raid your fridge.
The restaurant where my daughter works used to serve tiramisu but stopped for some really stupid reason.
Gosh Doris, that looks absolutely scrumptous.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 10:54:00 AM
Ally said...
[moan of greed ...]
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 1:34:00 PM
MrsDoF said...
I think I gained a couple pounds just looking at the yummy pictures. Yum!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 2:03:00 PM
ella m. said...
I'm going to the store to get ingredients, just so I can make this tomorrow. :drool:
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 2:16:00 PM
doris said...

Le Laquet Absolutely!

You know Le Laquet, I had a funny thing with my browser last night and couldn't access my blog because it kept serving up yours! It was a strange browser cache problem [of mine] because it had my url but each time your blog!!!

Hannah I endorse that theory too ;-)

Jane :-) "The restaurant where my daughter works used to serve tiramisu but stopped for some really stupid reason." That reason would be the bird flu I suspect. Musn't use raw egg products but what the heck, I'm British and we ate British beef during mad cow disease when the rest of the world boycotted it! I went for a quality organic egg but I reckon it is supposed to be the free range chooks more at risk from birds carrying bird flu!

Ally :-) At least even less calories and probably burns some just looking!

MrsDoF Nah - you should be losing the calories from the brain energy of imagining these sumptious and cosy warm creamy flavours >grin<

Ella M If you do, let me know. I reckon every time I make it my quantities are slightly different so I reckon one can be flexible. I used to put a good vanilla essence into the cream but I reckon the Tia Maria puts paid to the flavour so don't bother now.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:09:00 PM
Milt Bogs said...
It's time to point Mrs B. at a new pud.
Thursday, November 24, 2005 12:33:00 AM
/T/ said...
oh my god, that looks good. You just made me crave Tiramisu more than anything. Can I order here?
Thursday, November 24, 2005 9:11:00 AM
Sarah said...
I'm not a big Tiramisu fan but it does look very yummy!
Thursday, November 24, 2005 11:56:00 AM
Anji said...
Wow, you made that AND took the photos. I'll buy your cookery book when it comes out!
Thursday, November 24, 2005 3:03:00 PM
craziequeen said...

any use asking if there are leftovers??

Thursday, November 24, 2005 5:35:00 PM
Lisa said...
Sounds delicious. However, I would like to posit that it is not comfort food. Far too much work is involved fot that to be comfort food. Comfort food is chocolate, chips, cake... oh God. I need some chocolate.
Thursday, November 24, 2005 7:45:00 PM
Neutron said...
Wow, I haven't had tiramisu for yonks!! MMMMmmmmmmmmm...
We once took one - well laced with alcohol...the cake I mean - to my older daughter's kindergarten summer party only to find - shock horror - that when our backs were turned the kids had eaten more than half of it and were staggering around drunk! We took my younger daughter to a different kindergarten!
Thursday, November 24, 2005 11:10:00 PM
Writer Mom said...
Just came out of my Thanksgiving coma, thinking I could never eat anything ever again. You have cured me! I want to eat again!!
Yum E!!!
Friday, November 25, 2005 4:15:00 PM

Sunday, 20 November 2005

Dawning of an age

16 year old daughter finally has her first part-time job. It is in a major electrical store in one of those satellite shopping parks and she is in Customer Services. One of those spotty youths (although she is generally not spotty) who stand there and are supposed to help you with your refunds or problems with your product, but clearly know nothing about anything.

Each of these weekend mornings I have had to defrost the ice-cube known as our car and deliver said daughter on time. And once up and frozen I'm not inclined to go back to bed.... so yesterday morning I came back and took son shopping for some winter woolies. Last night daughter commented her wonder that people are out shopping at 9am. Well, I now know. Those shoppers are the parents of all the spotty youths and having just delivered them decide to make best use of the time.

Original Comments:

Jo said...

Hey tip to give your daughter. When customer asks her to tell him/her about the product there on the shelf, suggest that she does more than just read out the point of sale card that's sitting right next to the item in full view! You know the one - the bullet points telling you the 3/4/5 'key' things...but which tell you nothing...that you've already read when you approach the assistant!

Currys and Dixons have this down to a fine art - the belief that the chief difficulty their customers have is with reading.


Seriously though - good for her. Hope she enjoys it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005 12:26:00 PM

doris said...

Ha-ha! You are sooooo right :-) I'll see if I can broach that one with her.

Form the sounds of it (and she hasn't stopped yapping about it since she started - which is a nice side-effect from the usual grunting teen) it seems she is bringing in some of her vast knowledge of various equipment from computers and their various operating systems to mobile phones.

And even for one guy who was having trouble with a charger she did at least apologise to him for having to ask the obvious such as had he switched on the power!

On the other hand, she has already adopted a worrying tendancy to preserve the company's assets by doubting some returns which left one woman fleeing the store in tears. I'm not sure I could do that.

All very surprising stuff from a girl who although with excellent confidence in some areas in other areas couldn't make a telephone enquiry or ask a shop assistant a question!

Sunday, November 20, 2005 12:47:00 PM

MrsDoF said...

You have reminded me about the time when youngest son broke the town teenager curfew, so we received a call in the darkness from the police station saying that a parent had to come pick him up.
His dad decided that his punishment would be no driving for two weeks, which seemed reasonable considering that his trouble was for being out in the car too long.

The next day, when his friend wanted to come over and didn't have a ride, our son comes into the kitchen and asks if I would go get the other guy. I said I had stuff on the stove, I didn't want to be going out just then. But I said he could use my car, parked in the driveway with a full tank of fuel.
Um, no, he was not to be driving.
So, who was getting the punishment? This mother, who heaved a huge sigh of relief when he passed his driving test.
I marched downstairs to my Mister's office and said that I didn't like the punishment of no driving for breaking curfew. So then dad said I should figure out what's fair.

I sent the son off to fetch his friend, then said he would be doing something else about being out too late.

What I set him to doing was cleaning the bathroom, a chore he especially cannot stand.
He plays the guitar and wants to keep the callouses on the pads of his fingers.
Cleaning the shower and sink means having his hands in water for awhile. Even with gloves, he says doing such tasks are not good for being with his instrument.

We've been fairly lucky with the sons and their jobs. They usually ride their bicycles or even walk. Sometimes there is sharing of the car, but very few needs for a chauffeur.
I can see that you do want to make use of the early time for getting a few errands done, especially after thawing out the car.

Sunday, November 20, 2005 10:14:00 PM

Ally said...

You made me smile with this, remembering the hell I put my mother through getting her to take me to my first ever job :).

Sunday, November 20, 2005 10:43:00 PM

dog1net said...

Enjoyed reading about your daughter's rite of passage. My daughter worked at a sea shell shop in Pismo Beach, CA just before going off to college this fall. When I was visiting, she asked me to stop by where she worked so that we could go and get something to eat after. While waiting for her shift to end, a customer came into the store and started looking at the display of conk shells. After a few minutes, the customer picked up a couple of the shells and then looked at my daughter. "What's the difference between the $20 shell and the $40 dollar one?" he asked. My daughter answered very matter of factly, "The sound of the ocean." He purchased the $40 dollar shell. As always, I enjoy your posts, and never have a disappointing visit.

Sunday, November 20, 2005 10:52:00 PM

Writer Mom said...

Mrsdof, I think I need to take up the guitar. Your son's got a brilliant excuse. Maybe I could say I don't want to ruin my typing callouses. I hate cleaning the bathroom.
Doris! What's the definition of "spotty"? :)
And I thought things would get easier once the boy child finally mastered potty training. Not really, huh? Aw, well. I'll sleep when I'm dead, I guess.

Monday, November 21, 2005 6:39:00 AM

ella m. said...

I worked a lot of customer service jobs when I was a teen and I was neither spotty, nor unknowing of our products.

We sold ultra high end clothing and accesories. I knew every thing from designer bios to stitching types used for of each seam of every single piece we sold.

I coveted all of them despearately, so took to using minor technical details to choose which one to blow my hard earned money on.

I had a very non nonsense mom. If I was old enough to have a job, I was old enough to figure out how to get there despite not having a licence.

I became very familiar with the buses and taxicabs rather quickly. :D

Monday, November 21, 2005 4:56:00 PM

doris said...

It was great to read all your stories. They tickled me when I read them on the email, but I'm afraid I'm a bit wiped out to respond properly.

Big hugs all round :-) Group hug ;-)

Monday, November 21, 2005 7:28:00 PM

Thursday, 17 November 2005


Today I picked up a free newspaper in which was my first ever Sudoku puzzle. I messed it up and thrust the paper into the trash. A quick google and I found a sheet of six Sudoku beginner puzzles to print out.

On completing the first one I realise that the pairs of puzzles were the same. Thank goodness I realised that in time! Now I've successfully completed the first (wahey!) puzzle and part way through working on the second when the penny drops. Doh. This is a page of the same six puzzles.

What chance have I when I can't even identify that I am doing the same puzzle twice.

What's even sadder is that I have better toys to play with here. Tch.

Original Comments:

Prydwen said...

You realise that now you have attempted you're first you will never put them down.... I'm on 10 a day, but I'm having counseling.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 9:19:00 PM

Ghone said...

Ah... the joys of Sudoku!
Mrs Pig is an expert now.
Much to my intermediate disgust.
Yahoo do a free one every day.

I find it easier to print off and then use a pencil (with an eraser on the end) to write down your (can only be this or this number) pairs inside a square).

Have fun!

Friday, November 18, 2005 12:23:00 AM

Red Mum said...

I sat down the first time i saw them and I have never seen a puzzle given the opener this was. Then i attempted to do it and then got distracted!

So I havent as yet been taken in by the addiction,yet!

Friday, November 18, 2005 12:41:00 AM

jane said...

haha That's so typical of so many women's memories...myself at the top. I may as well just have 1 book because I probably wouldn't realize I'm reading it over & over.
Once I get caught up visiting blogs that I've dearly missed, I've got to look up these puzzles. (I think one will suffice)

Friday, November 18, 2005 3:23:00 AM

Cheryl said...

I like the pun in the title. :-)

Friday, November 18, 2005 2:58:00 PM

doris said...

Oh dear... this is an especially good link as it allows you put in maybe answers:

And this is an incredibly sad activity. The most futile of puzzles but jeez they are good. Just don't do one. Not even one!

Friday, November 18, 2005 3:11:00 PM

Anji said...

here's an on line one and you can correct yourself as you go along:

Friday, November 18, 2005 4:13:00 PM

bentley92 said...

They have them in the TV Guide (in the States) now but they are letters and one of the lines spells out a TV show.

Friday, November 18, 2005 6:54:00 PM

ribbiticus said...

haven't heard of sadoku puzzles over here. will be sure to check them out!

michele sent me today. :)

Friday, November 18, 2005 9:06:00 PM

Cin said...

My darling father-in-law discovered those when he was in England last - I think it was the first or second day they ran in the UK papers. He came back with a full-fledged passion for them, and got my spouse hooked. Now he's gone back for another visit with the family - who knows what he'll come back with this time?

Hopefully the Harrod's afternoon tea blend :)

Friday, November 18, 2005 9:07:00 PM

craziequeen said...

Hi Doris

luckily I have not been tempted by sudoku yet - but then I am crap with numbers so I doubt I would be in fear of addiction. I did try one, but gave up in frustration after putting two numbers in [lol]

watch out, there are some dosgy chinese porn spammers who look for the word sudoku - I think it was mar who got spammed - nasty people.

'tis a cold and frosty morning here in Gloucestershire!


Saturday, November 19, 2005 10:37:00 AM

Minerva said...

I really enjoy them too but like doing them interactively online...
Try The Times on line or Lovatts...
Lovatts even tell you when you have one line right..very encouraging!


Saturday, November 19, 2005 2:33:00 PM

Helen said...

I don't know what these are. I must be a little out of touch. I'll stick to the jigsaws!

Saturday, November 19, 2005 2:44:00 PM

Writer Mom said...

My brother just posted on this.
I ignored the suggestion when he said how addictive it is.

I am trying to resist!

Sunday, November 20, 2005 2:26:00 AM

doris said...

Anji said which I think is so blinkin' fantastic I have to make it as a clickable link here for starters!

Monday, December 26, 2005 7:47:00 PM

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

The will to live

Reading Gill Hicks' memories of the 7 July London bombings I am struck by her intense desire to survive. Both her legs were blown off and in the end she lost 75% of her blood. She should have died but she didn't.

Reading her account is moving. She describes her feelings and the extreme situation she was in. Voices in her head were lulling her to close her eyes and sleep as that would be so much easier but other voices in her head told her that if she did that she would die. Something inside her knew that she had to stay awake and keep her eyes open for when the rescuers finally came.

And then recently she and some of her rescuers met up again and that is poignant to read.

People around her were killed. Reading her story makes me wonder how she was able to keep going in her mind and also gives me hope that despite terrible physical trauma one can survive. What an incredible will to live.

That is not to say that others around her who were at first alive did not have sufficient will to live. And I don't think she has to do or achieve anything apart from be happy just because she did live. I sense a touch of survivor guilt from her. Hers is a wonderful and incredible story and I hope she has many happy years ahead.

Original Comments:

Universal Soldier said...

A friend of mine was recently badly wounded in Iraq - someone else in the vehicle died. I've yet to go and meet him - he's still not up to visitors. But all the reports we get about how he is getting on say the same things. It's amazing what a positive mental attitude can achieve.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 6:10:00 PM

Gary said...

"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid."
Franklin P. Jones

A very brave lady.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 9:48:00 PM

Cheryl said...


Honestly stuck for any more words than that. Flip.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 10:21:00 PM

Jo said...

Yes it's just so hard to find words isn't it? I think experiences like this lie beyond our conscious ability to comprehend, until of course they happen to us. Maybe that's a limitation of our little minds, or a safety mechanism that stops us even begin to try and imagine the pain, the trauma, the shock until we have absolutely no choice. All those poor people who lost their lives or who were terribly injured by these poor sick embittered bombers would the day before have lined up with all the rest of us to voice their incomprehension at this kind of thing, I dare say.

Then of course it happened to them , though they could never have dreamed it would -as we could never dream that it will happen to us. And having happened, this terrible line is drawn between those who cannot imagine such a thing, and those who no longer need to try.

My heart goes out to Gill. And to all the others who are touched by such barbarism - in London, Madrid, Baghdad (where unreported carnage and stories every bit as bad as Gill's or much worse are literaly every day events), Kabul, Bali...wherever...


Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:24:00 AM

Anji said...

Like you said, an incredible story

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:41:00 PM

Ally said...

She sounds an extraordinary woman.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:50:00 PM

doris said...

Ally I agree and disagree with you! :-) She is extraordinary for what she has survived through but otherwise I am of the opinion that she is just like any one of us and any of us could have that capacity to survive. (I'm very glad not to be tested in quite that way.)

Anji and Cheryl Indeed. Like Cheryl says, words just can not do it justice.

Jo Hi! You are back :-) Tis true, these are the experiences of a white western woman fortunate to have the support we have here. Though she had to wait for help and wondered if it would ever come, it did. But maybe too late for some of the others. How terrible to think what it is must be like for places where they don't have the same rescue infrastructure or aftercare support.

Gary Interesting quote. Part of me wants mega badges and medals and acknowledgement to say I was brave at whatever, but the other part quite agrees with the quote.

Universal Soldier It just goes to show how strong we can be and that strength lays in the mind and not necessarily the body.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 6:00:00 PM

Minerva said...

That was an incredibly powerful story and her passion and commitment to living come over so strongly.

I am in awe,


Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:42:00 PM

Cheryl said...

I missed the program!
It was on last night.

Dang, darn, dash, grrr. Was it as wonderful as the article?

Thursday, November 17, 2005 10:41:00 AM

doris said...

The program left me in tears!

It ended with the two policeman meeting with Gill. Few words, no sentimentality, just hugs but powerful. She was standing on her prosthetic legs.

Only fractions of her story were told so I was glad to have read it first. And the programme was not about her but a whole raft of the rescuers. Gill's story was a thread that started part way through and was interwoven.

What got me was the overall message. One could be left feeling quite negative and what was the point of anything in life but instead it was rather inspiring and positive to make the most of every moment.

If you ever get the chance to watch a repeat it is worth it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 12:15:00 PM

Monday, 14 November 2005

Last night....

.... me and Mr Doris danced the night away....


Original Comments:

Le laquet said...

Lovely! I love dancing!

Monday, November 14, 2005 6:11:00 PM

Cheryl said...

Were you glam? Did you sparkle?
By the graphic I guess you had a lovely night?

Monday, November 14, 2005 8:08:00 PM

birdychirp said...

oh how lovely! Organised dancing, or dancing in the lounge?

Monday, November 14, 2005 9:22:00 PM

doris said...

I looked OK ..... dressed up but Mr Doris was in a tux and looked the part. And he danced more than all the other guys put together! They are such wimps but my geek of a hubby can really be a surprise. He held me close and danced. Fast and slow we did it all! It was so lovely that words can not do it justice.

Monday, November 14, 2005 9:25:00 PM

doris said...

It was a wedding reception and although it was a "black tie" do it was to be followed by a disco. A disco and not even a dance! So as you can imagine..... no-one wants to dance but trust rent-a-dance :-) I should hire myself and Mr Doris out :-) Me, because I am the motivating one and Mr Doris because he is extremely obliging.

Monday, November 14, 2005 9:31:00 PM

Ghone said...

Ah bless!
Glad to hear you had a such a cool time.

Monday, November 14, 2005 10:43:00 PM

Jo said...

What a fab night Doris! I adore dancing and can always be relied upon to be on that dance floor embarassing my children.

I bet you did look fab hon!


Tuesday, November 15, 2005 10:35:00 AM

Milt Bogs said...

You kept that a bit quiet Doris!
We could all have come along. And I could have brought Raul along. He's got a silver medal and he's going for his gold now - or so he says.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 5:33:00 PM

jane said...

lol that's adorable

Friday, November 18, 2005 3:20:00 AM

Badaunt said...

Ooh, how lovely. The only dancing The Man and I have ever done (besides around the kitchen in the occasional fit of joy) is Obon dancing, the traditional Japanese dance at Obon festivals. When everybody else went RIGHT I went LEFT. It's not quite the same.

Oh, and dancing at Okinawan music concerts, where you can't help it. But none of our dancing is romantic. (Well, except in the kitchen, sometimes, but it's not the same. :-)

Friday, November 18, 2005 3:21:00 PM

Saturday, 12 November 2005

Help with packing?

Nice guy at the supermarket checkout always asks me if I would like help with my packing. I always nicely say "No thanks, I'm fine" and he always proceeds to whizz the items through as fast as he can and does not regulate the speed of the conveyor belt at my end.

Other shop assistants can manage this feat of doing their job efficiently whilst keeping an eye out for the packer and slowing or stopping the conveyor belt occasionally. Does he do it on purpose because I have refused help?

A small detail but it would make all the difference. (And you can keep your 5p off fuel coupons as there aren't any suitable petrol stations for miles in which to use them!)

Original Comments:

Cheryl said...

Oh I hate that.
Its - would you like my friend to make sure your strawberries are squashed and your bread is triangular by the time you get home, or would you like me to pummel your knockles with tins and make sure you have no room to pack things your own way?

Husb' hates this, but I put all my shopping on the conveyor in order - tins first, all the freezer stuff together, all the cleaners together, fruit & veg near the back and bread and biscuits last. That way the things they are flinging at me get progressively lighter, plus theres no thinking to do whilst I ram things into bags.


Saturday, November 12, 2005 10:36:00 AM

Prydwen said...

I always set my shopping up on the conveyor colds, tins&jars, vegetables, and fragiles.

This way I can pack them the way I want and at my speed. But you always find the guy on the counter deliberatly taking things out of order just to screw me up like some sick game......

Saturday, November 12, 2005 10:40:00 AM

Cheryl said...

I declare a thumb war!
It seems the ideas, like the kids, are mine only until they make him look good................

MUahahahahaha 100 million Brownie points to me

Chuckle snigger cough!

Saturday, November 12, 2005 10:43:00 AM

doris said...

LOL I do the organising thing too - which is how I can pack so fast. As you say, all the thinking is already done.

But then the bugger takes stuff out of order, and I get that too when my "knockles" are pummeled by the cans! ;-)

Ahem... I detect a family war here.... it's wonderful when husbands and wives both have blogs and then simultaneously reply to posts and then contradict themselves! I hope you two are grinning at each other over your monitors.

Saturday, November 12, 2005 10:47:00 AM

Cheryl said...

We have reached a truce - we only argue over which order to put things in. It involves him slamming things on the belt and me shifting them again - or vice versa.
It does mean the kids get out from under and go sit on the store windowledge without complaint!
Still chuckling and thank you SO much for pointing out the typo.....


Saturday, November 12, 2005 11:04:00 AM

rashbre said...

I pile everything into any bag and then race home before it all has a chance to leak or defrost. Seems to work except when the oranges taste of shoe polish.

The worst thing is getting the plastic bags open. I'm sure theres a technique but its different for every supermarket chain. I'm the one in front of you with 47 items slithering over the edge of the belt still trying to get the first bag open.

Technologically, all they need to do is make the bag edges have an inset, so the plastic is not exactly aligned. Only Sainsbury's seem to have cracked this - I shall suggest it to Tetra/Rexam or whoever.


Saturday, November 12, 2005 6:42:00 PM

MrsDoF said...

Oldest son's first timeclock job was to be a bagboy. He got real good at packing items which go together.
That store still has folks who do the bagging, which might seem a service very out-dated, but I do like knowing that there's a place where youngsters can learn some responsibility and how to treat customers.
It's enough for me that I have to get it all home and either put away or cooked for supper.

Saturday, November 12, 2005 8:25:00 PM

doris said...

In the UK the people who pack bags are one of the staff - they no longer employ young people to do this due to all our employment laws.

The end result, I feel, is that staff feel it is beneath them to pack bags and so it is done in a casual and careless manner.

The trouble lays with the UK's attitude to the service industries and the darned class and heirarchy and lack of pride in whatever one does.

Saturday, November 12, 2005 8:37:00 PM

Le laquet said...

I always make sure I go to the little white haired lady, she can't chuck the shopping through as quickly! *runs away to avoid the backlash from little white haired ladies she knows is coming*

Sunday, November 13, 2005 6:55:00 AM

craziequeen said...

I have noticed that - if you refuse their well-meaning help (yeah, right - like I want someone else to break my eggs!) then the stuff comes at you like a gatling gun....

Free the Customer is what I say....


Sunday, November 13, 2005 10:17:00 AM

Anji said...

We don't ever get help with packing here. Family, when they are around to help, will always put tins on top of the bananas.(they inherit it from their father)

Sunday, November 13, 2005 1:44:00 PM

Minerva said...

I have trained my three kids now to do the shopping perfectly. One has the list, one the trolley and one fetches stuff. When we get to the belt, one goes to start the bagging, one puts the stuff on the conveyor and one packs the trolley...EASY!

And so I have a really relaxed shop, loads of praise from the assistant who can't muck things up, and the girls have fun too..!!

Do I get an award?

*sickening pious grin*


Sunday, November 13, 2005 2:55:00 PM

Karen said...

lol - I alway try to have a race with them.

Sunday, November 13, 2005 8:17:00 PM

R. Edmondson said...

Let him help you and see if still happens - then you will definitely know:)


Monday, November 14, 2005 10:39:00 AM

Sarah said...

I always organise my shopping on the conveyer belt and of course it has to be heaviest first. I pack things into the bag by cupboard too so when I get home I put each bag by the cupboard/fridge it goes in. my hubby thinks its just one of my little ways, I can point out to him now I'm not the only one!

I am currently training my little boy to pack like Mummy to avoid problems later lol!

As for the speed it gets flung at you...well, I always think next time I will fling all my shopping at the cashier and see if he/she can scan it through as quick as I'm flinging it at them. I never actually remember though which is probably a good thing lol!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 9:14:00 AM

Sparkling said...

I'll take your money off vouchers off your hands. I collect the 5p of liter of petrol, sports for schools and anything else they throw our way.

As for the organising the conveyer belt, I let my partner deal with that. I tried interfering in the way the trolley was packed, and how it went on the conveyer belt, and in the bags, but now i just swipe my credit card. Less discussion when I get the combination wrong.

Can someone tell me which is the correct category for flour?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 7:01:00 PM

Thursday, 10 November 2005

Humming along

I love it when someone hums along to a tune. It gives me the feeling that they are happy and enjoying the tune so much that they want to join in. And then there are the memories or attachments they have for the tune which must be good if they acknowledge it in that way. And when you've been living with someone for quite a while the only way you find out such things is when they hum along.

A tune I have fallen in love with is Electric Light Orchestra's Mr Blue Sky which features on a recent M&S advert. Everytime that ad comes on Mr Doris hums or sings away perfectly in tune. It is so cheerful and happy and when he joins in it is like a big warm huggle.

At one point I asked him about my humming and how it sounded to him and if it was in tune and unsurprisingly he gave me one of his diplomatically positive answers and told me I had a singular style! Meaning my voice is awful and out of tune.

Over the years I have had singing lessons as I would love to sing in tune and beautifully. At one point in my twenties when I sought out yet another singing class I somehow found myself as a member of a Black Gospel Choir. I really was looking for the singing lessons and sure enough in the adult education leaflets it was billed as singing lessons but in reality it was a fully fledged choir.

Despite my continued protestations that I was looking for the singing class I was absorbed into this choir with some magnificent singers. Me, the sole white person with a terrible voice. I even did a few coach trips with them to different venues in the UK and I still don't know why I didn't get found out. After all I did stand out somewhat. To this day I can't hear Donna Summer's version of State of independence without standing tall and wanting to throw back my head and sing out loud with a big smile on my face. But I don't. At least in a choir you can follow the others and keep in tune... on my own I'm like a fish out of water. It still makes me chuckle to think I even did it.

Original Comments:

Cheryl said...

Hey you with the pretty face - welcome to the human race!

Gonna pom-ti-pom all the way to school now :-D

Thursday, November 10, 2005 3:06:00 PM

Hannah said...

Good for you! :) Singing is good for the soul.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 8:06:00 PM

Le laquet said...

Oooh, which to sing first? ELO or Donna ...

"This truth will abound the land
The state of independence shall be!"

That was a close one!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:36:00 PM

Annie said...

I love singing too. A friend of mine was teaching me to sing. I got the tape out recently and played it to the boys and it was so embarrassing! At the time I thought I sounded really good. I was singing Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell. I would love to be able to sing properly.

Friday, November 11, 2005 8:06:00 AM

Sarah said...

I bet that was a great experience though to be part of the gospel choir!

I have a similar problem with the singing!

My darling hubby thinks it is hilarious to stop the cd in the car just as I'm really singing my heart out to it. Unfortunately without the CD at full volume to hide it my voice sounds very much like a cat being strangled lol. Luckily for him I see the funny side of it!

Friday, November 11, 2005 9:47:00 AM

Anji said...

Funnily enough the same song is being used for a directory inquiries ad over here. I like to sing, when I was teaching children English we did a lot of singing, I really miss it.

Friday, November 11, 2005 9:52:00 AM

/T/ said...

I love Mr.Blue Sky.. But you make me feel so old now. I remember that song from when I was young and couldn't get enough of it. And eventhough I didn't speak english at the time I sure was able to hum along.
Now I wish we had that commercial here.

Friday, November 11, 2005 10:22:00 AM

Red Mum said...

Ah Doris, loud and proud, altogether now (in the words of The Beatles)

"The State of Independence shall be, the state of independence shall be..."

Thats all I can remember on this Friday morning.

Friday, November 11, 2005 12:39:00 PM

doris said...

LOL You know I am grinning Red Mum!

Friday, November 11, 2005 1:25:00 PM

Host of Spirits said...

I totally sympathise ... I once owned a pub and didn't need to ring the bell at closing ... all I had to do was break into song to empty the pub

Honest - I'm not kidding

Friday, November 11, 2005 2:12:00 PM

fineartist said...

Singing can bring so much joy to people. Looks like in our cases it can bring joy to us, if not everyone else, well, at least that’s something. He heh.

My sister once described my and her singing voices as such, “Our voices aren’t particularly offensive, they just aren’t something anyone would choose to listen to again.” Our family is extremely talented in the voice department it was difficult growing up as the only two frogs in a bunch of real crooners.

I loved this post Doris, and I can see you singing it loud and singing it proud, in your choir of voices.

Saturday, November 12, 2005 6:49:00 AM

decrepitoldfool said...

I loved Mr. Blue Sky too. And you just keep on singing!!! Even if you are as out-of-tune as you think you are (which I doubt very much).

Sadly, we compare ourselves to professional singers delivered in recordings, so we sing less, so we sing less well. Break the cycle!

Sunday, November 13, 2005 12:04:00 AM

Wednesday, 9 November 2005

Brussels on a stick

For my Christmas Dinner I want brussel sprouts on a stick. Not in a net bag from the supermarket but cleverly packaged onto a monstrous stick fresh from an organic farm.

We had one delivered in our organic veg box last week and I had forgotten that sprouts grew like that. And they weren't regimental in size. It was fun cutting them off their dinosaur limb, preparing them, sizing them up and putting the smaller ones in after the larger ones had started cooking.

Cooked in just enough water, drained and tossed in organic butter. Yum, yum although still an acquired taste.

Original Comments:

Cheryl said...
You need an allotment!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 11:31:00 AM
doris said...
LOL You are probably right!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 11:57:00 AM
jane said...
I had no idea brussels grew like that. Are they also called 'brussel sprouts'? That's all I've heard of here, so I'm assuming they're the same thing. They sound delicious.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 12:10:00 PM
Ally said...
I LURVE brussel sprouts and I want an allotment, too. I've had the papers to apply for about year and what with one thing and another haven't got round to it ...
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 12:14:00 PM
Astryngia said...
When we moved to our new rural location, I kept seeing these things stacked up against the village shop wall. I'd never seen them before in my life and had no idea until I got up close that they were brussels sprouts. I'm always amazed to discover the most obvious things that I've never before come across. I love your illustrations, you always find perfection to share with us!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 3:43:00 PM
MrsDoF said...
I must have acquired the taste as a small child when my pappap was growing them in the garden. I do love brussel sprouts, and want some like that again. Your picture and description brought back so many fine memories of my little girl mind.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 6:37:00 PM
Library Lady said...
They are called "brussels" or "brussel sprouts" and they are the same thing. Yes, they really grow that way.

Most of the sprouts we get in the US are horrid, because from everything I've read about them, sprouts need cold weather to really develop their flavor--in fact it is best to pick them AFTER a frost! But most of ours here are grown in sunny California, so they don't get that lovely flavor.

Here in the US we don't have the sort of system of allotment gardens the UK has, but a lot of communities DO have community gardens. I have a plot that measures about 200 square feet, and I have always wanted to try growing brussels. They look like weird little palm trees. One of these years, I'll get around to it...
Thursday, November 10, 2005 4:17:00 AM
mrshellonheels said...
I loooove brussel sprouts. Haven't had them in ages. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and they will be on the table this year : )
Thursday, November 10, 2005 6:20:00 AM
Annie said...
Brussel sprouts are one thing I can't stomach. I have to swallow them whole if I have to eat them. My Mum still kept giving them to me until I was in my mid-thirties! I used to give them to my brother. I've seen them on the sticks locally. We have a lot of farmer's markets and stuff here.
Thursday, November 10, 2005 7:46:00 AM
Host of Spirits said...
Sprouts are soooo easy to grow - just shove the seed in the ground and wait - actually most veg are that easy to grow

Just wish I had the space - sigh - all I have is a postage stamp sized back garden.
Thursday, November 10, 2005 9:57:00 AM
Milt Bogs said...
It all sounds vaguely obscene to me Doris. Monstrous sticks of organic produce, tossed in organic butter. :o
Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:34:00 AM
doris said...
Milt Trust you to lower the tone!!!! LOL

I seem to be learning a lot here in these comments. Quite an education :-)
Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:55:00 AM
Anji said...
I lived in a region of the midlands where there was a lot of sprout growing. You wouldn't appreciate them so much when the ones left in the fields start to go off!
Friday, November 11, 2005 9:54:00 AM
Uncle Pavian said...
Brussel sprouts do look funny when they're coming up in the garden, but you should try planting okra some time.

Incidentally, the Germans refer to them as rosenkohl, or "rose cabbage", and cook them with a cream sauce flavored with nutmeg.

Friday, November 11, 2005 5:39:00 PM
birdychirp said...
Sprouts are wonderful - apparently great served with parmesan and chilli
Friday, November 11, 2005 7:24:00 PM
Writer Mom said...
They are probably delicious when not served water logged and burnt, right? That's just how U.S. mothers frustrated with their children cook them up? Or just MY mom?
We also dump a lot of cheddar cheese on them over here.
Sunday, November 20, 2005 2:32:00 AM

Monday, 7 November 2005

And the beat goes on

This post re-published December 2012

When I was seven my darling baby sister was born. My mother so wanted a boy (such that my sister ended up with the feminine version of the boy's name chosen) that I vowed to myself that I would protect my sister and love and take care of her so she wouldn't end up like me. In the end I needn't have worried quite so much. She was everything I wasn't and so ensured a better place in life.

My sister was born beautiful. She was blue-eyed and became curly blonde haired and the image of Shirley Temple at the age of three. I loved her so much but she was utterly gorgeous, care-free and fun-loving that her future was assured though she had her own problems. She became a 'musician' at six years old and was hot-housed by our ambitious mother. It wasn't easy for her, just different. And she had an inner strength and resources to deal with our mother most of the time.

She has two children of her own now. What bothers me intensely is that our parents live next door to them, well actually, on the same property, and have been for some years now. My sister and her husband are both busy musicians and need to come and go, so our parents have become useful child carers at all hours. They get to live rent-free but then do so much in the way of house developments and DIY and buying bits for the house/s. There are no clear lines on anything. Not helped by our mother who has no clear boundaries on anything in life.

It has long bothered me the way my mother treats my sister's children. These are children of the modern era and they will not accept the sort of messed-up bad treatment that my mother gives. On the other hand, she has bought their love and once I chatted to my ten year old nephew and he more or less told me that he loves his Gran because of all the things she buys him that he wants.

Yesterday I spent the day out at a musical event at which the whole family was there. Even my temperamental teenaged daughter was there for the weekend helping out and was a star having to put up with my mother who was obnoxious and thoughtless towards her. Coming home in the car very late last night my daughter (who at times barely grunts at me) took the entire two or so hour drive talking to me about it all. Debriefing in effect. Showing so much more maturity and understanding than my mother ever has. It is all very poignant.

Yesterday I witnessed my mother go overboard with her grandsons.... my son and my sister's son. I had already "told them off" and sorted out things and then she feels the need to go in overly heavy when my back is turned. I didn't say anything to her because it is wrong to undermine someone because maybe I didn't know the full story. I also can't trust that I won't just flip at my mother and land her with my lifelong anger towards her rather than just the event at hand. Also, she is one of those people with whom it is incredibly difficult to have a sensible and reasonable conversation. She wants to be perfect and ultra wonderful and would take it as a complete offence. Worse still, there would be consequences and she would no doubt take it out on everyone else around her which would mean my father and my sister and her family. Worst of all my nephew and niece.

The two boys are so close it is like they are in love and it broke my heart to see them split up during the last concert. (Yes, I know they can be a pain in the backside but I was prepared to handle them sitting together.) My nephew was with me in the row behind and my son was with my sister in the row in front and both us sisters spent a lot of the time holding the boys tight with hugs. My nephew just couldn't understand and it was as if his heart was broken too.

It is evident my nephew holds so much anger towards my mother. As for my own kids, they only have periodic meetings with my mother so it is not so bad - but bad enough. From being a kid worried about my sister I now find myself being worried about her kids. It is difficult talking to my sister about such things because of course it is convenient for her to have our parents around for the childminding. And then there is a part of her that chooses to not take on board the effects on her kids. I've talked to my brother-in-law too. At times both have acknowledged what is going on but they all have coping mechanisms, and things go back to the same, and maybe they will all just cope and get through it.

There are enough people around who can see what is going on. Everyone can see that my mother is just not right although there are plenty of times when she can seem extremely helpful and wonderful and will sit and tell you stories of her own terrible childhood. She is in her mid-sixties but I can't see any signs that she has moved forward and found some resolve or inner peace. She is like a viper. You can be having nice moments and then suddenly she verbally strikes and you are left confused and hurt.

In the car my daughter revealed that she was left thinking she was starting to imagine things, but then admittedly, my daughter does have an imagination for things that haven't really happened! But on this I could assure here she wasn't wrong... it has my mother's mark all over it. Talking of which, there was a point during the last concert when my mother couldn't take the music and left clutching her head in her usual dramatic style. It turned out that both my daughter and I had both simultaneously thought at the time that my mother might throw herself down the stairs of the concert hall in order to get the whole hall to turn their attention on her instead of my brother-in-law on stage!

Even my daughter wants to help and resolve the situation but thankfully she has realised that it is not her job to do so. Sadly this is a lesson I missed out on as a kid growing up and it still sits on my shoulders.

I can be temporarily smug because my daughter is delighted to be home and appreciates us and my son is reinforced that home is best. They are glad to be home and I am very glad to have them both. It is awful that my niece and nephew have this mixed hell and that my mother continues to wreak havoc in this world.


Cheryl said...
Do they know you know? It must make a world of difference to know they can turn to aunty Doris to moan about their miserable, unfair, batty old gran - I guess saying too much to mum and dad must have an element of guilt involved.
Thank heavens they have you! :-D
MrsDoF said...
I like that phrase "hot-housed" about parents doting on a child's talents. Must be British, I haven't ever come across it before here in the States.

It's nice that all your youngsters recognize you as the anchor of the family. It must be quite your burden to hold, but they will come up stronger for the knowing.
Jo said...

Poor old you and your kids and your sisters kids. I can relate to some of your story. The word 'viper' is a good description for how my mother can be too. Bitter, widowed and lonely, she attacks first and asks no questions later. She sounds different to your mum because she is socially isolated (through her own behaviour) locked in a time warp of twenty five years ago where the family structure was headed by her and the world revolved around her. She has simply never been able to move on. Myself and my brother are the only people who see her regularly, and wow is this tough sometimes.

Anyway - different to your mum, but maybe equally tricky. The connection perhaps comes in the effect on the children. My children 'know' that Gran can be poisonous. Some years ago she kicked off criticising them. It was part of her attempt to restore the power model that she felt comfortable with - she did it unconsciously but the intent was clear. It's the only way she knows to relate to people in her family (and as far as I can gather she was taught it by her father.)

I simply would NOT have this happen. And I told her so. Not in an angry way - though I was angry often, and hurt and disappointed by her and still am...but in a clear and simple and assertive way. I just said, several times, that it was not appropriate for her to speak to my children like that (or - her other typical behaviour at the time - to have a go about them to me privately as if I was supposed to support her view against theirs). She eventually laid off.

In fact I had to do the very same thing when I first got married, when she tried to impose on my wife her regime of emotional blackmail and vicious words that she's been using with me for years. She is regularly snide and unpleasant about my parents in law (who are by contrast a fairytale grandpa and grandma to my children) - it's a diversionary tactic to try and get at my wife without alerting my 'defences'. I stonewall her on that too.

Critically, I have built an emotional moat between her and my kids. I take it as my job to shield them from her, until she proves to be worthy of their trust. Which isn't ever going to happen now. If she ever tries to 'get at' them, she meets an absolute brick wall from me.

It didn't have to be like that, but she made me choose emotionally between her and my wife and children. I chose my wife and children. I still see her,but I do it through duty and because she is infirm and elderly now. But no easier for it.

Sorry for the ramble...I guess this is just about taking the chance to say 'Enough' to someone who you think might be hurting your children? If you think she is, (and of course you have 'previous' with your mother so you are feeling every remark keenly and personally I bet) you may need to draw a line. And it it is possible to do such things assertively - not in anger, but clearly setting out what is permissable and what is not in how she behaves and how she treats your childen and your sisters' children.

How does your sister deal with her?
jane said...
My gosh, after reading that I am almost speechless. It's so sad what all of you are going thru, what you obviously have had to live with forever & now your niece & nephew now will be raised with this.
Your daughter sounds like a godsend, able to be objective & realize her limits. It's obviously heart-wrenching for you to have to re-live when around your mom.
I'm so happy for your kids that they have a safe & loving home to return to. This brings to life the saying, "There's no place like home."
You're one in a million, Doris
doris said...
Cheryl That's a good point Cheryl. I feel I have tried to indicate to my nephew who is older but am concerned that he will re-write what I have said and throw it back at his Grandma as ammunition! But this last weekend I certainly acknowledged to him that I could see what was going on. I've long had an arrangement with my sis that my kids know that at any time they can talk to her confidentially ... now her kids are older I think it is about time I reciprocated and she told her kids there was a safe other adult they can talk to.

Mrs DoF The Americans have a simialar word but I can't think of it. I almost have the feeling that the whole process of speeding up a child's abilities or "forcibly growing them" is an American thing! In our case, I would say it might have started out as 'doting' but got way out of hand.

Jo You've written in a different voice you know and I love it too! Thank you for your very powerful comment and talking about your situation especially in relation to your kids. I guess I just have to become more assertive with her at some point and then keep that up. I guess it is going to be like jumping off the highest diving board and once I start it will get easier.

But as I said, the complication is any knock-on effects she decides to throw at my sis. As for how my sis deals with her, occasionally there is a mega blow-up of an argument. My sis is then fine, my mother withdraws and then whinges on to me (I try and draw a fine line between allowing her to express herself but not letting her go on snipe attacks at whomever has upset her) and then things eventually get back to how they were. My mother is a lot better than how she was when we were kids but she has this habit of getting out of line.

I rather suspect that another big mega argument is long overdue and that the likelihood is that my sis or her hubby will be the one to do it. That's all very well (so to speak) but doesn't really get at the heart of it and I wonder if that is ever possible.

Funny what you say about your wonderful in-laws.... sounds like my in-laws and they make more wonderful grandparents and are not even blood relatives.

Jane Thanks for your kind words. The upside of times like this is that I get to see and hear a lovely side of my daughter and my daughter appreciates me more! As for my niece and nephew, at least they are not subject to my parents 24/7 so things aren't quite that bad and they have parents who clearly love them and another grandma and uncle who are special and close to them so they hopefully do not feel alone.

Something funny though, my kids and I have always been exceptionally close to them and I'm called Aunty Doris. So when Mr Doris came on the scene they were quite young and still learning their words and so assumed Mr Doris was called Aunty too :-) We have that as a family joke now.
MattyD said...
the only thing that ever happens to people that perch themselves that high is the inevitable fall. i really hope that if that happens, she doesn't bring anyone else down with her!
ella m. said...
I suppose with the drama queen tendencies, nipping the individual incidents in the bud as they happen is out of the question, as she'd just make a larger scene.

A mega blow out would'nt seem to help either, as it's just more of the attention she craves.

It's a tough situation but you all are dealing with more grace than I would. my condolences.
mrshellonheels said...
Doris, I really am speechless, for once I dont know what to say. I know for me and my sisters, and brother, we kicked that in the butt as soon as we started to have kids. Each and every one of us let our parents know, its our way or no way. When our children were small they would even have to ask our permission if they could give them candy. We had to be that way, even tho it sounds cold. otherwise, I think we would be dealing with what your going thru now.
I can remember looking my mother straight in the eyes and telling her. Mom you raised your kids, these are MINE. You did things your way, Im doing things MY way.
doris said...
MattyD I reckon that people like my mother don't fall because they don't see it as a fall. I suppose there is something to be learned there!

Ella M. That's pretty much how I see it. What's more, I don't have to live with it 24/7 so I can just turn my back on it which makes it easier.

Mrs Hell on Heels You have given me some food for thought there. I reckon I shouldn't be quite so complacent about it all!