Sunday, 28 December 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

I used to have dreams, hopes and desires. Plenty of them. They propelled me ever forwards through my mixed-up life....

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

...and I ticked through the list as each materialised. The lyrics are so true. What comes first: the chicken or the egg? Same with dreams and reality. Actually, that is not a very good comparison which must mean I still have a bit of hot air left in me! [And this blog is back to being public again.] But you have to have dreams for them to come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Ah yes, far away with troubles far behind ..... that's me. I'm working on it and it is happening. This time tomorrow the removals people will be at our door. We are going. We are on our way. Like magic, troubles have melted like lemon drops simply by looking at things differently. In less than four weeks our lives have spun on a pin head. Funnily enough, we could have been above the chimney tops in our new home for the next few years but we certainly can raise our sights and see the sky, the sun, the stars and the moon. The whole universe is out there waiting for us and we can emerge from this odd self-created blanket we have been under.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

But I can fly. I can do it too. I used to do it all the time but somewhere in the warmth and comfort of my marriage I have rested my wings too long. They had become closed in and weak. And how curious I had a frozen shoulder for a lot of this year....

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I? arm is working so very much better and my wings have begun fluttering and I may even have taken a few tentative reconnaissance flights and can see worlds of possibilities ahead. We are finally lifting out of this rut we have been in and are shifting a gear or two.

According to my astrological chart which I recently had done, certain transits have systematically taken my life apart except for the bare essentials of hubby and children so that I can rebuild it how I want. If I was being ungrateful I'd wonder why it had to happen like that and couldn't little things have just happened but I know very well that the writing has been on the wall for some years but I did nothing and just watched. It is still not clear what is to be rebuilt so I have gone back to basics, getting on with bringing in an essential income, getting on with "doing" as the navel gazing of the last few years has not helped. In time I will know what I am doing and where, I just don't know yet: it is an open book.

This Christmas has been one of the best. So delightful, beautiful company, and so much hope and joy knowing that we were moving between Christmas and New Year. Since leftovers go a very long way, our lovely fest of Christmas dinner seems to have been the last meal I have cooked in this house - and I cooked that with a friend, and enjoyed with my ever adoring Mr Doris along with growing son, and grown-up daughter, who came home for the day too. Even though we have had to give up so much (hundreds of books [leaving us with hundreds now rather then thousands!], a pretty house, space, great facilities and more) there is a big smile on my face and in my heart.

2008 turned out to be a significant year for friendships deepening and mellowing and becoming even more special. In the midst of my inner demons and turmoils and pain of this year friends have turned up the volume. Amazing.

To me, to my family, to my friends, to us all:

May 2009 bring greater freedom, happiness and prosperity.

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg

Friday, 24 October 2008


Just woke from an interesting illustrating dream which I think is one of those signpost ones. In essence, I put everyone else on pedestals in my life but never myself. As if it is OK for other people to be on pedestals but never me. The rationale being that I am both not good enough and also that it would be wrong because by doing so elevates me and puts others down. When, in my mind, having other people on pedestals puts no-one else down except myself. And then there is the not being good enough. A matter of opinion. There have been times in recent years when I have fouled up magnificently: started projects and not followed them through; not created the incoming generating sides of projects; not answered or returned emails; in short, buried my head in the sand. But apart from those misdemeanours I can be very good and effective in the things that I do.

The other part of my dream was that I should return to doing something I did in the past because this time it would be OK and I would be very good. In the dream it actually figured something I did twenty years ago, suggesting that I could do that really well, but I don't really think the dream was telling me to go back that far.

I have a little chewing over to do for now. Methinks concentrating on pedestals and that I could deserve one too is the starting point.

Very short post this due to arm pain/injury that I have had now for months and months which has gone into a frozen shoulder. On Monday evening I did just one hour of work on my PC and felt worse for it all week - it is that bad. I am determined it has to get better but that maybe I need to actually rest my arm more for a while. And how did I get this lovely injury in the first place? I only remembered a month or so ago ...... back in March my son bought a Wii with his combined birthday money which mummy quite enjoyed vigourously and enthusiastically playing golf and bowling. Fickle son got rid of the Wii after only a month. Just last night, someone else who did not know about my pain, told me about the ongoing arm injury she has from just a couple of hours of playing tennis and boxing on the Wii at the beginning of September. Which means we can not be the only ones with these sorts of injuries?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Message in a bottle

It is hard to feel any optimism, yet optimistic news might be on the horizon. It might all work out jolly well actually, but I don't feel like that and find it hard to summon up any enthusiasm. Just in case it falls through, and just because it might not happen I must try to hold tight.

Holding tight these days means hiding away. Curled up and hidden in my bed alternating between tears, blankness and tapping away at my Nintendo brain training "germ buster" game. Like a helpless vegetable on the chopping board knowing that once upon a time I grew vigourously and fought back. My fight seems to have gotten up and walked off leaving me shockingly bitter and sour on the inside and I don't like this person. Not one bit. But in a contradiction, I know this isn't really me and some very tiny, far off voice inside me is shouting help, let me out.

On the outside, very few people know all this, but increasingly my friends are finding out - because I am talking more - and they have been magnificent throwing me lifelines. This year has been extraordinary on the friends front so the one thing I don't feel is alone. But this is still my life and despite a wonderful husband and friends I have this path to tread, but my feet just don't seem to be working.

Chastising myself and trying to get things into perspective has only contributed to the darkness. I feel enough guilt without adding more to the mix. "For God's sake, pull yourself together" I tell myself to little physical effect.

In early August my mother was showing strong intentions to blog therefore I felt an obviously stronger need to withdraw mine from eyesight. The whole world might be blogging but life is stranger than fiction and coincidences happen and she might just come across mine and recognise this or that. As it happens, I don't think she has taken forward blogging after all!

In mid August depression gripped so tight that after a weekend of tears I resolved to do something. On the Monday I went out to job agencies and by the Thursday I had started a temp job as a medical secretary in the oncology department of the local hospital. So maybe I might have fibbed about the extent of my experience as an audio typist but that did tickle me that I could go out and get a job and push the boundaries a tad. The pay is little above the minimum UK wage, but it is a regular 25 hours of work/income each week. Even through my depressions I continued to work, letting my hair fall over my eyes on those days the tears would not stop. I am still there and the work itself is a blog by itself.

Since that time I have also been plotting my morning temperature and my depressions and anything else of note. I had thought my monthly cycle had become irregular but so far it seems not, though the frequency of my severe one day depressions have been alarming, but they have actually been better of late. No surprise to know that I am writing this through one at present.

Currently 14 year old son has measles which I have been helping to nurse him through. He is having a rough time especially now with the itchyness of the rash. I never knew measles could be so itchy but it is like his skin is crawling and alive. I have tried various alternative aids but today Mr Doris has bought some Piriton so we will see if that eases and whether a better night sleep can be had by all.

Outside the leaves are creating rich blankets and as I passed through them earlier today I thought about a year ago when I didn't expect we would still be living here for another Autumn. That makes over 18 months our house has been on the market and we have slashed the price down to give it away but still nowt. Over a year my son has lived weekdays at my sister to go to school near her and comes home for the weekends. What was originally a six week exercise has pushed us beyond anything. I am not being physically beaten like as a child and yet I am not sure I have ever felt quite so cowed. My chest has sunken in and my right shoulder has dropped putting stress on the wrong muscles leading to a frozen shoulder. I have been in a lot of pain and my movements have been restricted. I sit typing at work wincing at times with discomfort. But no-one there knows, and the bigger picture is that the income, no matter how small, has been regular and well needed. I could, and should, be doing bigger and better things but I am unable.

Something so heavy is sitting on me and holding me back for something. Or, in my dark hours I ponder that I am done with and my life and usefulness is over.

Actually, my arm is on the mend. As is my belief in myself. The wonders of kinsesiology and the support of lovely friends hold me through. We might be renting our house instead of selling. An option I once dismissed might now turn out to be a viable and excellent way forward. This could even mean us moving before Christmas, maybe even in as little as three weeks! Then we can be together as a family. Finally landed. Starting afresh. I can't quite believe it will happen and that scares me.

Thank you dear kind blog friends for reading my message in a bottle!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Stealth Mode

I'm going under cover and putting this blog into password only. Not that I will necessarily be posting any more than I have of late but I'll explain another time.

If I haven't got round to emailing you a password then please feel free to email me for access.

Nothing mysterious, just is!

Hugs and love x

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Anger, not fear

A book has come my way from "The Adult Children of Alcoholics Series". Entitled "The Self-Sabotage Syndrome: Adult Children in the Workplace". My parents are not apparently alcoholics, though at times they have not behaved well with alcohol but ACoCs is a term that can be used for anyone who has grown up in a dysfunctional family.

As an aside, I wonder how many people it takes for a family to become dysfunctional? Is just one mad parent enough and then everyone else runs around them? Or are we all within the family dysfunctional in our own sweet ways?

The term "adult children" speaks to me. Just by itself. And then the book begins with ascertaining that because of their upbringing ACoCs have no sense of what is "normal" saying "Adult Children of Alcoholics Guess at What Normal Is". Oh yes, that so resonates. That feeling of being always out on a limb and never being sure, of always feeling that I was making things up, of making up my own definitions to anything and everything. Which means that at any moment everything can come crashing down. Because I just made it up. Because I'm a fraud and I'm going to be caught out.

There is an aspect about ACoCs that I've read so far that I don't identify with and that is concerning my relationships and friendships. In fact just this month I have been realising that my friendships are one area of my life in which I am blessed and function really well. I'd don't feel all the pain and angst that I feel in other areas of my life and I wonder why that it is. Why, when my parents have not set any good examples of friendships in my childhood or since.

Laying in bed this morning thinking about this, with my constant self-analysis: stepping stones that tangle across my mind sometimes leaving me marooned in scary waters with no clear way across; I had a eureka moment. As a child we moved house and location about every two years. I never had good friendships as a kid so the moving actually became quite useful. I may not have had to face up to difficult situations in the long term, on the other hand I had plenty of experience of starting again. I actually welcomed the chance to start again and each time we moved, and being a kid, relationships were my priority. And I had plenty of chances to experiment. They were never right and I took a lot of hard knocks. I learned not to expect anything from anyone which was probably mainly due to my relationship with my parents, but reinforced by childhood relationships. I'm not sure what good things I learned from those times but I think I had the chance to find out what didn't work.

Since the age of seven I had the companionship and love of my little sister. This can not be under-estimated. I "had" to love her and protect her from the madness that was my mother. I became a mini-parent but more than that I was able to love her and she let me. Physical affection came from her, even if it was me holding her hand. When it came to me choosing between life or something else at 16 I had to walk away and leave her. Without saying a word. That was incredibly painful but she was already on her own destiny pathway and I knew she would make it. And she did. And we are very close now, but I think I still don't know the half of what she went through which makes me feel a little sad and selfish.

So when I left home at sixteen for the world of work I became the perfect ACoC employee and was easily exploited. But I was wide-eyed and enthralled by adult people. I loved meeting people and listening to them. I still am that wide-eyed girl and embrace people and situations in that way. I suppose luck comes into play that some beautiful people came into my life at different times throughout my life. I have had some friends come and go and I am still able to move on from places and leave people behind which does sound rather harsh and cold-hearted. But a core of people remain very special. A growing core even.

Boundaries in my friendships might have been a problem but I sorted that one pretty early by, on the one hand being able to love and be truly interested in other people and on the other to keep a tight reign on myself and not actually truly say too much about me. It wasn't until I was 31 years old that I told one of my girlfriends about some of my more difficult memories and then years go by and I only let out little tiny snippets. And then with my darling Mr Doris, one of my dearest friends, early on in our relationship I gave him something to read that I had written about me. Because I wanted him to know about the deep and dark depths I have. I didn't want to con him or for him to be shocked by someone different one day "when I might leak out". And then into my life comes someone who I had known of for years but suddenly we click and become immense friends and I find myself sharing depths. And then I get to my blogging years and I am haemorraghing all over the blog but in a way that has been constructive to me and now another friend is drawing depths out of me too that I didn't know I could share and I find I am changing.

Always a work in progress, for the first time in a very long time I feel like I am making progress. And this brings me to my anger. With the current financial situation in this world, life has dealt some interesting cards. Such that it seems likely when we sell our house, it won't be at a loss but there will not be much in the way of a profit. We will go into private rented and will start again with a clean slate. No debts. Just going forward and reconstruct. And in my self-analysis this morning I realised I am not scared of starting again. Picking myself and starting again is second nature to me. What I recognise is that I am so flaming angry about having to start again. My anger is such that it seethes underneath and leaks out in all the wrong places at the wrong times to the wrong people. Usually my kids but mainly directed back at me and internalised. I can feel it like a pit of badness inside me that I know has to stop or I'll be thoroughly ill.

Part of the ACoA thing is anger and anger issues. They flip out at the wrong time and inappropriately. I said that already but this is what the book says. I've never been allowed to be angry. Never known how to process anger properly. It always had to be subsumed and hidden because only my mother (or brother) could be angry. For a few months I have been aware of my feelings of anger. Like arrows flying off in all sorts of different directions and yet always avoiding the target but I don't know what the target is or should be. I don't want to be feeling this as I am not an angry and aggressive person but I suppose that is where the problem lays. I can not just feel anger and move on from it because I have seen anger as something to do with aggressiveness and as a whole character trait when that should not be the case. This area is a work in progress. And another diversion from what is probably needed - another ACoA trait. Apparently ACoAs have procrastination down to a fine art.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Blue liquorice layers

Eeeek! June is out and I didn't manage to squeeze in a quick post. Oh well. It was just to say that one thing and another I've been utterly busy and distracted. Done some good stuff and not done some other stuff. But I did manage a post on my other blog about last weekend at Sparkle.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Dr Who & Big Brother

Big Brother lasted approximately eight minutes on the TV screen this evening before I felt so uncomfortable, squirming with embarrassment, it went off in favour of a documentary. It usually takes a week or two before I get to that stage as I actually quite like Big Brother.

At the end of the latest episode of my beloved Dr Who on Saturday was an announcement about a Trailer maker. I waited a suitable time for the rush to calm down and after a faltering start, when I nearly gave up, I've created my own Dr Who Trailer which can be seen here:

Of course I had to include "the kiss". If you are so inclined, you can make your own!

Nice productive day as I composed and printed up an Ode for a relative's 40th birthday later this week and made some photo collages.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Smoked Haddock

Smoked Haddock on Cheddar Mash with Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce served with Spinach.

That's what I chose for lunch yesterday in a rather lovely old country house hotel restaurant in Staffordshire. After driving the wrong way and ending up driving small roads past green fields and through small villages with Classic FM pumping out rip-roaring greats such as Land of Hope and Glory.

I'm so glad that when my friend phoned on Thursday evening and asked me if I fancied joining her for lunch the next day that I said "yes". The weather was perfect sunshine and my friend had bagged the window seat for us with its plush high backed leather chairs.

And then once the ferocity of the sun had calmed down it was out in the garden for Strawberry Cheesecake with fresh strawberries and cream, and a coffee. Bliss.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

A new blog is born

At the nursing stages, I have born a new blog. Up until now I have written plenty about me and situations and circumstances, and maybe snapshots into some of the people in my life but I have, hopefully, kept them discreet. Now I feel like I am coming out of the closet - not because I am going to hand over my name and address - but because I am going to be more open with my feelings about a specific person. Another blogger no less. Someone who has leaped out of the webosphere and into my life. And yet I am not talking about my darling Mr Doris who I met online 10 years ago and who is fundamental to who I am now.

The new blog is about my friendship with Jo and the feelings and experiences surrounding our friendship and the thought provoking nature of it. Friendships are like that and I have been blessed in my life with some amazing friends and each in their own way, like my husband, have had an impact on me and continue to do so. My friendship with Jo could be seen as being a bit more sensational and different because Jo was born male and is currently transitioning to a female life. What I didn't expect to get from Jo's mind churning was an appreciation of my own femininity so the name of my new blog has a double meaning. However, we have a relationship that goes beyond gender issues, where I have supported her and she has encouraged me.

A part of me wanted to keep these posts part of Doris Mash as it is important to me not to fragment off and to keep my life integrated. Another part of me, feels this subject is really important to me and too big to hide within my current blog. I want to expand on some ideas and perhaps even continue some of the gender related studies I was doing back in the 1980s! I don't know how this will pan out and don't make any promises. I'll just have to see.

So far, I have just copied over some of the posts about Jo together with the comments made at the time. I have yet to get started on actually writing and felt that an easy birth and just a little introduction was in order first.

Welcome to my new blog

PS. Jo knows that I am going to start writing about her but she doesn't yet know it is a whole new blog so that will be a bit of a surprise ;-)

PPS. I have switched comments off this post as, on this occasion only, I have duplicated this post on the new blog where comments can be made.

PPPS. Just to clarify! This blog continues in its here and there kind of way :-)

Sunday, 1 June 2008


Furstjewnitis is a common mental affliction that affects mature adults feeling their life is somewhat out of control and rushing past. It is a momentary precipice that can either lead to depression, great soul searching or even increased activity.

Furstjewnitis is most commonly a response to calendric triggers and the condition usually occurs in summer. It is not contagious. There is no medicine that can deal with the affliction, although alcohol has been known to be used, and the affliction usually clears up on its own.

The early symptoms of furstjewnitis are similar to those of common depression. They include:
  • twinges of the mental faculties
  • mild feelings of loss
  • mild anxiety
After two to three days the symptoms tend to peak, and may become more severe:
  • confused thought processes
  • fear of losing all
  • faster than normal heartbeat
  • irregular eating and sleeping patterns
  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • low self-esteem
  • tearfulness
  • feelings of guilt
These symptoms can be very worrying, but most cases of furstjewnitis are not serious. However, if you are showing symptoms of furstjewnitis and are under 40 years old, or have an underlying mental health problem then you should see your GP as soon as possible.

Most cases of furstjewnitis are a simple process caused by the passing of time. Particularly the end of May and the onset of June triggering the realisation that the middle of the year was rapidly passing by.

Once the affliction enters the sensory system, it makes its way down to the furthest reaches of the mind distorting all perceptions.

Self-diagnosis is usually sufficient. The blot test involving discarded calendar pages may also be used.

There is no medicine that can deal with the affliction that causes furstjewnitis and most cases clear up on their own within two weeks. However, there are treatments that can ease your symptoms and make them more comfortable.

If your furstjewnitis is mild, you can treat it at home in the following ways:

  • Being proactive - stop whinging and get on with getting things done.

  • Alcohol - used sparingly, alcohol can numb the effects of furstjewnitis but this is only a temporary sedative. However, on occasion, it may be sufficient to allow the affliction to pass and no longer be a problem.
  • Retail therapy - use online shopping websites to order the most extravagant items that make you smile. However, it is important to not actually enter any payment details and to definitely not press the buy button. This form of retail is particularly effective as it does not lead to further debt.
  • Glass therapy - look at the year being half full and all that has been done and achieved rather than the year being half empty or half gone and nothing done.

Severe depression leading to the pits of hell.

Get off your backside. Go out and have fun or at least try to. Walking the walk and talking the talk is extremely effective as a preventative measure.

Useful advice
Blogging has been known to be a help and sometimes a hindrance.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Film Review

Dah da da daaah!
Da da daaaah!
da daaaah!
Dah da dah dah!
Dah da da daaaah!
Da da daaaaaaah!
Da da da-dup da da-dup da da-dup da dup diddly dah.

Dah da da daaah! Da da daaaah! Dah da daaaah! Dah da dah dah! Dah da da daaaah! Da da daaaaaaah! Da da da-dup da da-dup da da-dup da dup .....


Life garage

Sometimes, our cars get better care than we do. Serviced each year, they are checked over with oil washed through, exhausts and other worn items replaced, mended or cleaned. And yet our bodies, the finest engines in the world, go on for decades without any thought for servicing, coping with the abuses we throw at them from alcohol to tiredness to stress. Well, I have anyway.

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor with an issue that had arisen and once there, like a prisoner in the dock, asked for a number of other issues to be taken into consideration. Maybe I struck gold because my new doctor at my new doctors surgery seemed to have all the time in the world, or maybe I am so out of service it was about time I showed my face. She gave me over twenty whole minutes of her time and it felt great with her gently insisting "was there anything else" they could help with.

Yesterday was the first of my investigations, the original concern, and that was utterly clear and OK. And allayed connected fears that I might have had for the future on that score. So that's one down and ticked off. Next week I have a full range of blood tests, last week I had a urine test, and I'll get all those results in a couple of weeks.

As well as my body there is my mental health. The Doctor even touched on that and even though I have much to stress me concerning trying to sell house and move as well as finances and worrying about kids, I reckon I am much stronger and more in control than I feel at times. Helped by being more pro-active lately. It would help greatly that a suitable buyer came along and not only love our house but also get their finances sorted to arrange a quick purchase. Leaving us free to start again in rented property with all money earned being saved or usefully used than going in to debts here and there.

Icing on the cake would be to have a nice, affordable rented house very near son's new school (which is in an area that we couldn't afford to buy just now) and near to the little shops for a bakery and a Post Office. We'd have a driveway for off-road parking; a little garden to tend and sit out in; a main room large enough to be a living room and an office with large windows to look out on the world; large enough bedrooms and space for our books; a decent bedroom for my son to be so happy, and he could independently get to and from school and go to after school clubs such as Fencing and Basketball, and see his friends after school; a kitchen with space to eat and enjoy cooking; a conservatory or second reception for an alternative place to relax or eat and have friends over; a fabulous landlord grateful to have us nice people to stay and look after their house; and our growing bank balance enabling us to have security, buy our next house, go travelling to visit far flung family and friends and to have fun.

Oh yes, I am booked into the Life Garage and all these things are being looked at and are going to be fixed.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Day Out

Determined not to let another half term slip into nothingness. Adults with their heads tucked into computers and son off doing his own thing. Plus, our kids are only young for a short time and I want some memories to be about us, as a family, and not just when we have friends and family to stay.

The weather also helped. A good forecast meant Saturday must not be squandered as the rest of the week is forecast to be rainy and cold. We set off in the morning with me driving at my 50mph limit which led to much mirth considering whether we would still be in our mid-forties by the time we got there. Son joined in and the journey was as much of an adventure as the destination. We stopped off en-route at a supermarket to put together a little picnic. Amongst other things son plumped for some hot meats from the deli counter; Mr Doris went for a pic and mix salad whilst I went for a kabanos sausage, olives, French bread and a mini bottle of red wine. Quite a feast!

Upper Burbage in the Peak District National Park was more than I could have hoped for with expanses of moors, rocky outcrops, valleys, streams and forests:

Mr Doris and son can't help but bound down a few rocks alongside the stream:

The climbers are dotted along the small cliff face where we had climbed up to be amongst the rocks to get out of the wind and enjoy our vittles with an incredible view:

Then ambled over to the forest as that was where son wanted to go:

It was a useful experience for son to see how quickly one can get lost in a forest and the importance of keeping bearings in mind. Thankfully Mr Doris drove us home but I know not at what speed as I flaked out after all the sun and walking and probably the wine too. It was a great day out.

Friday, 23 May 2008

The pace of life

Taking the gentle road brings some lovely views:

So lovely, that I had to get out and smell the morning air and listen to the birdsong:
(that's if video uploading works on here!)

Seems that traveling at 50mph or less makes a dramatic difference to fuel consumption and to one's nerves.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

50 mph

Driving home yesterday morning, with the rising cost of petrol in the back of mind, I consciously did something extravagant. Not extravagant with money but extravagant with time. I slowed down. Instead of a one hour journey at full pelt of anything from 70 to 90 mph (where I can) it took about twenty minutes extra.

It seemed so slow driving at 50 mile per hour. Very strange. Like being in a parallel universe ambling along as the cars and trucks sped by leaving me to ponder life and the universe. Wondering whether it was actually safer for me to be driving at this speed as it felt so sedentary. Like I could almost fall asleep! It was also embarrassing. I am one of those people who get fed-up being stuck behind a slower moving vehicle pondering if they really had to travel that slowly and wanting them to get moving. I really felt for the cars stuck behind me trying to find a space to over-take, so I try to be considerate and keep right over.

Driving at 50 mph meant that I could identify the road kill as I went by rather than just seeing a furry mass and going all sympathetic. As I drove along, I wonder if I actually felt a little spring inside me unwinding. The stress being released as my knuckles didn't have to grip the wheel so tightly, and I could sit back in the seat not feeling as if I had to process quite so much safety information as when one drives at 80mph.

It is almost a metaphor for my life. Balancing out the speed. Bringing it into a more even keel so that there are not weeks of high speed followed by weeks of exhaustion. Indeed, taking things at a better pace all round might just get me places a whole lot faster. Maybe not quite at a tortoise's pace but there is something to be said for the parable of the tortoise and the hare.

Tomorrow I have a long journey again and I will build in more than extra time to get there. And on Friday I have the journey back again. It will be interesting to see if I manage to maintain that more gentler pace and what the effect will be on my state of mind. In the short term, it will fascinating to see if that fuel dial really does move slower at 50 mph.

Fuel Prices:
Sunday just gone, my local station charged 109.9p per litre of unleaded. Unsurprisingly it was a very busy station. Further down the road and nearer my destination it is around 113.9p per litre. That is about $2.24 (US) per litre. I think the US are only just set to break the $1 per litre barrier. I wonder what they would make of what we pay?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Been busy

As I scan through my mini-list of things I needed to do in the last few days I have ticked off quite a few items that have been waaaay overdue. There are a few more things to do on that list but for some reason I am here blogging instead. Malingering and avoidance.

Not good.

On the other hand, I have eight items ticked off. Eight whole items. Worth a brownie point or two in the scheme of things rather than kicking myself for what I haven't yet done. If I was to think of it, I know there are other things that didn't make it to that list ..... from the dark and dusty recesses of my conscious always waiting in the background to attack and reprimand me. So maybe I'll do another list in a few days and see what gets added to that, and tick off a few more items.

That is good.

In the last week there were moments when I stood on the edge of a great precipice and decided not to fall into its grasp. That I wasn't going to be swallowed up in wallowing self-pitying mud that sticks inside the crevices and needs to be scrubbed out. Side-stepping the depths I wrote my list and got on. But someone was laughing at me this week because a visual migraine was slapped upon me and wiped out one whole day and left the next marred. It is now a glorious Sunday morning: the windows have been thrown open; the plants watered before delighting in my frothy coffee and warm croissants made by an adoring hubby; the music is playing loud through the slimline speakers and I am about to tackle another item or two on my list.

Oh glorious day, I can do anything.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

How to feel good naked, fast!

Thanks to Gok Wan of Channel 4's How to Look Good Naked for services to womankind. Every week almost, I avidly watch his programme slotting myself into the mind of this or that person and on occasion thinking my body shape is that person, in particular the last one which was Nicki Denbigh. Some of those women look so beautiful as the attitude to themselves changes, and of course with the assistance of some styling and make-up helps!

I might be relatively petite but I don't really have an idea of how I look. Thinking I have builder's shoulders and proportionately large upper arms upon a short squat frame. Now here's the fast bit .... I remembered a book of self-esteem exercises for children that I bought when my daughter was in early puberty. She fought so much I was never able to carry any of them out. Anyway, one activity that appealed to me was to lay on the floor and draw around each other on large sheets of paper. Which is an activity I have also seen used on TV with people who are body dysmorphic.

We have a large roll of brown paper knocking about the house. Otherwise, I'd have used the back of old (unused!) wallpaper blue-tacked on to the wall. Using a light pen I then drew what I thought my shape was. Then wearing just bras (as I would always wear them with clothes) I stood against the picture as Mr Doris got up close and intimate and drew around me proper. I then stood back and compared. What a difference. Not only was I shadow of what I thought but I found I actually did have a nice shape with everything in the right places.

The two sets of pens were confusing for me so I put up a fresh piece of paper for Mr Doris to just draw round me. And for some days now my double has hung on the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Mr Doris put in some eyes and a mouth but it looked so unintentionally silly it was quite offputting. So he printed out a lifesize face of Betty Boop and stuck that over and since has been calling me his Betty Boop. Which I don't mind in the least. I may not be utterly curvacious like the mythical Betty Boop but I still have curves and shape.

And just this morning I caught myself naked in bathroom mirror and immediately noticed all my good bits, but most of all thought my tummy looked good. Such a turn around for me.

On the day I did the outline exercise I went out and splashed out on two new pairs of shoes (both on sale - one with £15 off and the other with £20 off!) and some new mascara and I felt fabulous. Not something I ever say about myself.

A word of warning though .... be careful what pen you use on the paper as permanent marker seeped through our brown paper and onto the whitish wallpaper.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Random game

Anji has tagged me for this game with clear instructions:

Random things about me

1. I love eating chilled condensed milk, straight from a tube

2. I have stood bail for someone once

3. I am the second cousin of a British TV presenter but I'm not saying which

4. I can drink, and enjoy, very strong alcohol

5. I have piloted a barge down the Thames and through the Thames Barrier

6. I used to be an excellent professional cook but am not now

Rules of the game …

· Link to the person who tagged you.
· Post the rules on your blog.
· Write six random things about yourself.
· Tag six random people by linking to their blogs.
· Let each of the six know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment (on their blogs).
· Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

The victims …

1. Astryngia
2. Everywhere and Always
3. Life Laundry
4. Minerva
5. Stegbeetle
6. The Depp Effect

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Spring Cleaning of the Mind

Laying in bed this Saturday morning all cosy and hugged up, my mind drifted back, way back and maybe it is a sign to me to write it down. These last weeks I have been feeling better about my life and my past in a "letting go" kind of way. I've blogged about epsiodes from my past but I have deleted the mainly painful posts. It was really helpful to write them but there came a point when I felt it was all just dirty linen pegged up in public. I often run by instincts and if I feel to hang up some more washing then I'll put it down to some more spring cleaning and see it constructively too.

Summer of 1978
Aged fifteen during the punk years should have been the prime of my life. Instead I led a cloistered existence between school and home attending to every need of my mother and never getting it quite right. My mother was handy with anything wooden, in particular wooden handled feather dusters and long wooden spoons. She only used the handles and could create quite a swish and pain. They were her weapons of choice in administering punishment to us kids, and the number she got through as they broke across our bodies was quite impressive. I am surprised she could afford to keep replacing them but she did. One of her mantras then, quite public to us kids, was to never, ever leave a mark that could be seen. In those days, that meant if it was under your clothes then no-one would have to see the marks.

My older brother was the apple of her eye and she obviously preferred his company back then, though he wasn't immune to the blows. He in turn, used to take it out on me. So on the one side there was my mother and on the other my brother was beating me up. He knew what my mother was up to but I don't think she particularly knew what he was up to with me. In the pecking order of things I was pretty low down. So I kept quiet in order to keep the peace giving my brother free reign to continue his battery of me throughout our childhood.

I was six/seven years old when my mother was pregnant with my younger sibling. I was terrified she would have another girl and treat her like me so when my little sister was born I both adored her and vowed to myself to always love and protect her so she wouldn't get what I had. In the end, my sister's life took a different path being the angel blonde-haired child with a musical gift. Unlike dark haired me who reminded my mother of one of her sisters who she (unfairly) felt was cruel and devious. But my sister was also subjected to my mother's physical and mental brutality though she ended up with a different brand of it that I don't think I could have coped with it!

The Turning Points
In 1978 I can't remember which of these two events happened first but they were fairly close. I have written before about the first of these events, not that it was the only example nor was it the most serious, because it wasn't. It was because it had such a mental effect on me. The indignation and sense of self that it created inasmuch as I finally realised this was not acceptable.

It was washing day and as requested, presented my clothes for washing. There were times my mother insisted all clothes were turned inside out and other times that they must be in the right way and one never knew what was the right or wrong way anymore. I'm not talking about socks being scrunched up, I mean seriously all must be turned completely inside out. Now, I can see that is typically Aspergers but her way of handling it was her. I had gotten it wrong on this occasion and in her fury she lashed out at me with bare fists. In the impact I was knocked to the floor which she thought was wimpish of me since she reckoned she hadn't hit me that hard. This infuriated her more so she launched into me with kicks as I lay prone on the floor protecting my face. What got me was laying there, being kicked by my own mother and thinking I'm fifteen years old and this shouldn't be happening. I was developing a sense of self.

At some other point during the summer, us three kids were home alone and doing the chores. Things got out of hand as they often do ..... I think my brother was messing around with the vacuum cleaner and attacking us with it as it sucked. I think I might have struck back for a change and so my brother blew up in the way he does. His arms lengthen as his fists tighten, his face puffs up, his body goes red and seems to grow six inches. (Maybe the creator of the Incredible Hulk saw my brother in action once!) He launched into me with anger, as I cowered on the sofa trying to be a tiny ball he couldn't hurt. Don't forget I was very tiny until the age of sixteen. He took hold of my ankles and pulled me up into the air, upside down and began to hammer my body, head first into the floor. It might be relevant to say that we lived in a inner city tower block in those days with floors made of concrete with only thin carpet covering it. My little sister looked on horrified and remembers it to this day.

Somehow, with my sister's help I managed to escape and with my sister ran to the bedroom I shared with her and barricaded ourselves in. My brother was still on the warpath and proceeded to kick the door in. His foot didn't go all the way through and just smashed a hole through the front of the door. That door was the first door one saw as one came into the flat. The hallway that my mother had recently decorated with orange and green carpet tiles (it was the 70s!) and created almost a mock conservatory with vines and whatnot. That was it, I knew we were going to be in big trouble with my mother. Never mind that I had just been beaten up!

Taking the managerial role I set about trying to fix the door so that I could cover up my brother's actions. That now seems like sheer madness on my part but at the time I knew we had to keep my mother calm and sweet or else it would be more hellish. The door was one of those cheap construction doors with thin panels and corrugated cardboard in the middle. So I packed it up with stuffing from newspapers and then applied a coat of polyfilla. But the whole mass just sagged in the middle of the door and at some point my parents were going to be coming home. Plan B (or it could have been C or D by then!) was to apply a thin but strong layer of card over the hole and its wet stuffing and pin it into place. That worked quite well but the door was orange (it was the 70s!) to match the orange and green carpet tiles. There was paint left over so I quickly applied a coat to that area, but of course I didn't appreciate about undercoats and applying just a top coat didn't work well at first. Undeterred, and not having a full 24 hours for drying time I went ahead with a second coat of paint. We had to do lots of airing and lots of woodwork polishing elsewhere in the hallway to try and cover up the smell of paint.

With the paint still wet, my parents arrived home and us three kids were the picture of lightness and bright to try not to give anything away. My mother stood transfixed looking down at the patch on the bedroom door, she had a quizzical look on her face but said nothing and carried on. The patch would fool no-one so maybe the thought of how this could be was too much so she left it alone on this occasion. She never did find out about it.

By now, I knew I couldn't do this much more and had to get out but couldn't do anything until I was of legal age to leave school. I plotted and planned to leave school and home at the age of sixteen. Otherwise known, as running away from home. I was fifteen and a half and I knew from the news that other kids who disappear their photos are splashed all over the news. The answer was to make sure I didn't have any recent photos taken of me so that I couldn't be identified. Not that there were many photos being taken of me in those last few years as I was always snivelling and obviously an abomination to my mother who was the photographer of the family. For about six months I consciously avoided any camera activity whatsoever.

1979 - The First Great Escape
As soon as I turned sixteen I started applying for jobs and bunked off school to attend interviews. Other kids at the time were bunking off to do wild things but not me.... job interviews were my lot. It was difficult juggling my time with the postman to make sure that any job letters were not seen by my parents but in those days the posties were reliable. I secured an office job in the city. In the City of London at an insurance company and they seemed to really like me, even though I had applied for a basic office job. That was it. I organised a hostel place, which was much cheaper than renting a room of my own and packed my bags. No-one was at home and my mum was out at work and I wrote a long "I'm sorry" letter to my family.

I was sixteen and a matter of weeks old and seemed to have packed everything except the kitchen sink. I struggled downstairs to the taxi cab office with my load (it might have taken two trips in the lift!) and set off for my new life. Meanwhile, my brother returned home early and found my letter. Somehow he knew to go to the cab office. I had only gone a few streets in the cab when over the cab radio came a message "RTB POB". I knew nothing about cabs, nor about codes but as the driver amended his speed I instantly realised that the message was "Return To Base Passenger On Board". I didn't fight it, I don't know why but I knew it would be futile to fight.

My brother was waiting at the cab office and ushered me back home with all my stuff. We stood in the hallway, the one with the green and orange carpet tiles and for once he spoke gently to me and asked me why. I told him a bit of how he and mum treated me. In his own unique "Mr Innocent" way, utterly believable, he told me that I had imagined it all. The way he said it was chilling and potentially dangerous. Faced with me or my brother, my mother would always believe him even though he was already a known accomplished liar. I knew then that if I stayed I would truly go mad. But I would have to bide my time.

My brother kept quiet about that escape because, like us all, he knew it was better to keep the peace. Besides, he was the kid in the family who had a history of running away and had been doing so since about the age of six (I kid ye not!) and I was the one who always took the flak for him and kept my parents sweet. Or tried to. My mother needed someone to attack to take the pressure off my brother. Yup, he was seventeen years old at this point and busy looking after his own interests.

Pity about the job because I wasn't able to go. I wonder where I would be now in the insurance business if I had followed that path?

1979 - The Second Great Escape
I kept my head down for a while but not too long. I applied for more jobs and secured one as a filing clerk in a branch of the Civil Service. Lowly paid but what one would expect for my age at that time. I told a friend of mine at school what I was doing but not exactly where I was going. I would have been 16 and a couple of months old by then and must have left home on a Friday so that I could settle into the hostel and start work on the Monday. My room in the hostel was shared with a number of other women. No privacy, no security but it was very cheap. I lived on cans of cold baked beans as they were cheap and sustaining. Cold baked beans can taste sweet and delicious when eaten with a peace of mind.

On the Monday I was shown how to do my filing job. Filing and making coffee for the other staff was my role. The staff were really sweet and were much older than me and found me curious. I remember one particularly kind woman was shocked to find that I ate cold baked beans as I had no other money. By the Wednesday I had sussed my job and was doing so well that I had completed all filing tasks, plus the back log, by about midday. Without any qualifications it was clear I was able to do more. On the Friday I was called into the manager's office and given my first week's pay and told that I should come and see the manager again on Monday. From what little was said, it was hinted that I was in for some sort of promotion before too long. I had my first foot in the rung of the Civil Service ladder.

On my way back to the hostel, with my pay in my pocket (paid in cash in a brown envelope at the end of every week in those days) and already assigned to rent and travel leaving barely anything else for food I was feeling really happy and triumphant that I treated myself to a strawberry shake from McDonalds which were fairly new to London in those days.

Adding to the triumphant feeling was having been taken out to dinner at a proper restaurant the night before by one of the women who shared the room in the hostel. I had only been at the hostel a week but we had become friends in the first weekend and not only that, I was fascinated that she worked as an agency nurse and worked all hours for a lot of money but lived in a hostel. She was from the Middle East and had come to the UK because qualified nurses were needed. Living in the hostel cost more than paying for a mortgage and of course there was no privacy and no real life. She was quite able but for some reason hadn't got herself together to sort out accommodation. So I offered to look around for her and found her the perfect house in North London not far from her work. She liked it so much she put in an offer on the Thursday and began the process of buying the house. She took me out for dinner on the Thursday night to celebrate and to thank me. She kindly offered that I would have a room in her house for nothing to help me in return.

No wonder that after my first week of freedom I was feeling so good. My job was going brilliantly well and accommodation was going to improve. Slurping my exotic strawberry shake (that first one was exotic!) I arrived back at the hostel to have the hostel manager call me into her room. Another kindly woman, she made me sit down and told me that my father and brother were in the next room. She told me I had rights and that I didn't have to go home with them. I think she might have guessed the situation. Going back into child mode I knew I couldn't hold out against my parents and packed my bags. I wonder what would have happened if I had taken on board what she had said and refused to go home.

I wonder what happened to my nurse friend. I wonder if she completed on the purchase of that property and I wonder if she ever thinks of me. I don't even remember her name or what she looks like. I don't even remember anything else about her, but she was part of giving me hope.

My father had tracked me down because he interrogated my school friends (he was an ex-police officer) and although didn't have any precise hostel location knew the general area and knocked on every door until he found mine.

On my return my mother said one nice thing. Out of my entire childhood I can remember just one nice thing she said to me. Yes, that still makes me cry. Sat at dinner that night I said something like "thank you for having me back" and she returned with "It's good to have you back". I sat quietly crying into my food with such fucking gratitude. They knew nothing of what I had achieved during that week away and still don't know.

I was returned to school as I was told that I was not legally allowed to leave. When one's birthday falls on a certain date then you are not allowed to leave school until the end of the summer term, and not at the actual age of sixteen. Back at school my meeting with the headmaster is told here!

1979 - The Third Great Escape
Once again, my head was down and I trawled onwards. Life at home was as rubbish as ever and nothing changed. As a result of my previous escapes I learned a number of things: tell no-one anything; leave no clues; travel light; and get a live-in job as there are no accommodation costs to worry about. The writing was on the wall and surely my parents must have seen it. Being a year ahead of myself at school I had to re-sit all my O levels at the normal age and knew I was flunking them all over again. Once more I was secretly job hunting and found a live-in job in a bed and breakfast hotel in West London. There was no point trying to trace my nurse friend as my father could do that too. I graciously waited for my brother to have his birthday and made a quiet exit the day after with only what I could carry. An overstuffed rucksack and a bag and caught a bus down the road. I prayed as the bus drove away. Prayed that nothing would go wrong. I left a little "I'm sorry" note in the back of the fridge, just so that my parents knew I wasn't actually dead. A year later, I was still away discovering life and me. A body of an unidentified young woman had recently been pulled out of a canal and was on the news. She had a scar on her foot, as do I, so I sent my parents some flowers via Interflora to say I was OK. I went to an Interflora well away from my area and paid by cash (a whole week's wage back then!) and used false contact details. I knew well to cover my tracks.

Two and a half years after leaving home and after one too many breakdowns and with the support of my wonderful boyfriend of a year I contacted my parents again. I wonder where I'd be now if I hadn't done that! Those depressions would have been there anyway and I just had to work through them.

My mother would like nothing more than to know we are where we are at because of her. She appears on the whole to like me now and takes a glow from my achievements. Sad to say but it is just too late. I don't like the way I don't give her a second chance and make allowance that we all make mistakes, but I truly feel I have tried so many times before and had it thrown back in my face and trashed. So I protect myself by keeping from her emotionally. We have lots of contact now, which quite frankly, she is lucky to have but I wonder if she and my father are aware of the emptiness from me.

My father is not beloved by me nor innocent in all this. He was struggling too, to keep the peace with my mother. Often he would allow things to happen because it meant that my mother got whatever it was through her system and order was restored. If that meant me taking punishments for what I didn't do then he allowed it and told me to get on with it because it was better. No! In the long run it wasn't better. Someone should have stopped my mother. Should have set up boundaries of what was acceptable. But there we are. It is done. It is life.

Interestingly, my brother, still with anger issues even now, acknowledged to me in my twenties that what he did to me as a kid was wrong. He has apologised. Thoroughly. Acknowledgment and apologies go a huge way that if he goes before me I know that at his funeral I will be crying with all my heart for his mixed-up soul.

Writing all that has been interesting. I bawled my eyes out at one point but am OK now. Re-reading it seems to distance me from the events and brings perhaps more objectivity. Perhaps I might print a copy of it and go outside and burn it and see what happens.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Wanna be adored?

Jay of The Depp Effect is playing around with words which is a meme she found elsewhere on the blog trail, originally from Booking Through Thursday. This meme might be a tad old, but it is Thursday today!

The idea is to ‘pick up the nearest book and turn to page 123′. Write down the first and last sentences on that page and connect them together with some new writing.

Most of our books are still in boxes for "the big move" when that finally happens which leaves only a selection of more eclectic non-fiction books on the shelves. Therefore, doing the first book that came to hand was not an option as I need to be impassioned and not bored to tears by the whole idea. So here goes, a completely different re-write as there is no way I can really read what happens between these two sentences from page 123 of "The Science of High Explosives" by Melvin A Cook, 1963. Not to be confused with the likes of Practical Bomb Making found online by day to day terrorists.

Nonideal detonation is associated in general with a finite reaction-zone length a or a finite reaction time r. He loved it when his wife spoke dirty to him. Using interesting and complicated words linked together with a reasonable amount of logic. But tonight she was on to a corker talking about high explosives as their bodies melded together and moved to a passionate rhythm. The moment was electric and took what had become a perfunctory activity done so many times before into the realms of, well, high explosives!

He adored his wife with her wide knowledge of life and the universe and her way with words. He would do anything for her, and often did. Making sure she was the happiest she could be by remembering all those small daily details such as replenishing the chocolate supply in the car door for all her driving, making her frothy coffee and warmed croissants each morning, or touching her in the right way to make sure that her body and mind felt fulfilled. Yes, he knew he was the luckiest man around as the words continued to gently bubble from her lips with a delicious musicality massaging his aural receptors. As she uttered the final line, her voice slowed to an allagando pace with each syllable hitting a nerve desiring more, releasing the final equation through the rippling after shocks as his hot sweaty body clung to hers with gratitude, immense love and honour: Then, using an expression for the ideal detonation velocity D*, he obtained the equation (D*/D)2 = 1 + 2.25 ((r1)4 - 1)


P.S. (D*/D)2 = 1 + 2.25 ((r1)4 - 1) reads "D star over D all squared equals 1 plus 2.25 multiplied by r1 to the power of 4 take away 1"

Let me know if you do this meme and I'll come read!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Revealing all

Oh, just one thing and another, I had good reason to be fiddling around creating avatars and diversified into a bit of fun. Created using the avatar maker on and then a bit of tweaking in PaintShop.

This is my family. I'm the one with green hair, Mr Doris has blue hair, 14 year old son looks pretty much as he does in real life with a big afro and an even bigger smile, and 18 year old daughter looking uber cool (which is her essence) in pink hair.


Friday, 4 April 2008

Philosophy for kids

A bit of love and understanding is probably all most of us ask for in this world.

It is an interesting late supper, sat around the dinner table with Mr Doris, fourteen year old son and my friend Jo who happens to be transgendered and in the process of transitioning from male to female. Jo has arrived from a work appointment and is therefore in male mode. Son is aware of the whole situation as we have previously sat and talked over transgender issues and seemed to have been OK with it all, but one just can't tell if he really is OK about it. Son had been looking forward to meeting Jo and had been miffed to find that we (even including his sister) had all met Jo but he hadn't.

So here we were talking about life and specifically gender issues and society's perceptions. Jo was magnificent as only she can be, and had been directly open and kindly so that son was put at ease. I admire that Jo found the right words and was not in the least bit awkward which in turn meant no-one else felt awkward. Thank goodness son is still pre-pubescent and quite sweet and communicative and not turned into a grunting zit monster.

On the subject of society's perceptions of gender, son pipes up with a connection between that and brick walls! In the moment between that utterance and the next was like forever as I waited with bated breath wondering what the connection could be and where this one was going. Son explained that when he is out in the park with his friends and sees a brick wall, he, with his free-running skills and interest, will look upon it with delight and excitement. With all sorts of possibilities for running along it, jumping, climbing. Whereas his friends will look upon the wall with no interest at all, and probably won't even notice the wall. (I may have used more words here than son actually did at dinner but this is what he meant!) How that quite correlates with gender perceptions in society is quite a leap but I think there is something profound in it.

Our friend Jo was staying the night and son knew that next morning Jo would be presenting as female. After the event, son told me that he had been concerned that Jo might look like a bloke dressed as a woman but was quite surprised that if it hadn't had been for the beard shadow that he wouldn't have known Jo wasn't (born) female.

Jo and I had a lovely time together and she even helped looked over the jigsaw and placed a piece in the right place. That was one more of the 5000 pieces in place! As we sat fiddling around with the jigsaw we talked about the jigsaw pieces in our lives. The we made a pineapple upside down cake and went for a lovely walk.

On our return we had tea, cake and custard for lunch with Mr Doris. After eating it you sure know you have eaten as it is filling but quite satisfying.

There was just time for son to return from playing out with his friends to be taken for a quick drive in Jo's Mercedes sports car. Imagine a 14 year old with eyes as big as saucers and a grin from ear to ear at just getting to sit in such a car. No wonder he used his phone camera to film the top opening in the car. And as Jo drove doing a small circuit in our town son felt the bees knees. It seems that ambitious talk was had as son aspired to have such a car and they talked about careers and working hard at school. Meanwhile, mother is at home sweeping the front yard thinking that she wanted a drive in Jo's sports car too! ;-)

Time for Jo to go and son thanked Jo and told her what a pleasure it was to meet her. He went back to his friend's house but came running back with his friend, a pretty 12 year old girl, to show her the sports car he had just been showing her on his phone. As Jo and I stood by the car saying bye, it was the car that was the centre of the kid's attentions.

Thank you Jo for a lovely visit, and for all that you have given my son by way of inspiration and experience.

Friday, 21 March 2008

The Dinner Thing

The last week my delightful ten year old niece was telling me about the mini Easter plays taking place each assembly at her primary school. Wittering on she told me quite casually about "The Dinner Thing" which took me a few moments to realise she meant "The Last Supper". I'd never thought of that particular event as a dinner or a human meal as such, and rather, just about the impending betrayal. Nothing like saying it as it is and pointing out the obvious.

The Dinner Thing (1495-1498) by Leonardo da Vinci

It is a glorious Friday here with the sun pouring in the windows from early on. It has been like a divine light that has lit up my soul and made me want to sing, and I have. I'm not rushing off anywhere and I feel in charge .... I can decide to do this or that or nothing at all. Perhaps I have crossed another threshold in my life and now that I am finally here I can throw open the windows and let the light in.

All those darling people in my life, near and far, know that you have helped and I am beaming back to you mega energy, love and light. :-)

Monday, 10 March 2008

God to Panini

Gallery of Views of Modern Rome (1758, Louvre, 231 x 303 cm)
Giovanni Paolo Panini 1691-1765

Panini! Calling Panini. Panini to reception please!

Sure you want me?

Panini! Giovanni Paolo Panini ... Italian artist born 1691 died 1765. Yes, you!

Oooo-er (as he shuffles to reception)

You painted Modern Views of Rome about 1758 .... ten foot wide by about seven and half foot high. You also did one called Ancient Views of Rome.


Well, that Doris Mash saw your paintings at the Louvre a couple of years ago and was mightily impressed with all those works of art within a work of art.

I was rather pleased with it myself and the whole concept of creating a painting that does the grand tour without having to actually do the grand tour. Cutting edge it was. Anyway, so they finally found a use for that old Louvre palace. Bit of a wreck last time I saw it and there was talk of a gallery sometime.

Yes, well, it seems Doris needs your advice.


Recently reminded of her love of your painting she remembered that tucked away in a cupboard was a jigsaw which Mr Doris gave her a couple of years ago ....

Wait a moment! A jigsaw? What is a jigsaw?

A jigsaw is a picture that has been cut into small odd shape pieces so that it can be reassembled.

Whoah .... you mean someone cut my painting into pieces? I mean, I'm honoured my painting is still around and has been appreciated but to cut it up?

No, of course it is safe. In this case a jigsaw has been made from a copy of the painting.

You mean just like the young artists in my painting who are painting copies of the paintings? Someone has painted a copy and that has been cut up?

Oh dear, let's not make this too long. Listen.... it is now the 21st century and it is possible to take an instant copy of almost anything, a picture, and to print it onto almost anything. In this case it has been put onto thin card and cut into a jigsaw.

So you are saying that instead of getting out there and painting one's own pictures one can just put together a jigsaw.

Indeed. It is one of my frustrations that humans find all these diversions and "things" to do rather than learn the great arts and crafts. But I digress.

So how can I help?

This particular jigsaw has 5000 pieces and when finished will be five foot wide by about thirty nine inches high. She was wondering, since you must be intimate with the painting, if you had any tips about how to tackle it. She's pretty much done the outside edges, except for one piece.

Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmmm.


People! I'd go for assembling the people first. They are distinctive aspect of the whole. Lots of small aspects.

Just a moment .... just listening in to Doris' thoughts. She is wondering whether you mean the people in the foreground, the people in the paintings, the people in the painted friezes, the people in the statues or the people in the carved wall friezes?

Errr all of them I suppose. It would be too hard to separate them. But wouldn't it be easier and quicker for her to learn to paint?

Possibly. But this human seems to have some sort of bloody-mindedness about her which could be called determination though she does worry if maybe she has some streaks of hereditary malfunction.

And just where does a person carry out this occupation? Painting the original was hard enough and required ladders and scaffolds in a studio. My assistants were very helpful.

It seems that Mrs Mash has only just realised that since her eldest moved out they have the top floor of the house and two rooms in which to work.

My goodness. And what would happen if one of these tiny pieces should be lost?

Ha-ha! That would be my revenge to these silly humans to not tell her that the edge piece she has not yet found was never actually there!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Falling off wagons

Last night was my first red wine in, now what seems like, ages. A bottle that was given to us and kept winking at me. I kept thinking about it and in the end I thought this is stupid, I am not going to make a big deal out of it. So I brought along bottle and glass to dinner with Mr Doris and explained my actions. He said moderation was the key.

Later when again he heard the chink of bottle against glass he looked at me with a smirk and eyes that said what about the old moderation. Thinking of my whitening teeth I reckoned if I polished off the wine in two sittings then it'd be gone, and not too much wear on my teeth. Same idea for kids and sweets - far better to have a load of sweets in one go and then brush the teeth than continual sweet sucking.

A few jolly phone calls later and I dread to go back this morning and see what is left in the bottle. I ended up spewing into a convenient plastic lined waste paper bucket with Mr Doris bravely stroking my back. The whole thing is disgusting. And what is as bad is that I was in no fit state to brush my teeth before bed so that stuffed the whole idea of drinking more and brushing afterwards.

Well, I'm brushed now and head feeling sore. And feeling dumb. And thinking of the lessons learned.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Doris OS Version

Suggestions and snippets of advice have come from all quarters which I have not been too proud to listen to, accept or act upon. In fact I have listened carefully to all sorts and am grateful that the universe saw fit to inspire a number of people to say or offer all the right triggers. This has happened in the past but maybe not quite as fulsomely as recently, but perhaps that was because I was in the just the right place in my head.

This last weekend I had the therapy I said I was going for, that coincidently was booked in before the whole Aspergers thing arose. My session with a brilliant Kinesiologist was, as ever, just amazing. This form of kinesiology requires four years study in Professional Kinesiology Practice and is not the same as some forms of kinesiology which are usefully tacked onto other therapies. Kinesiology uses muscle testing to detect and correct imbalances in the body's energy which then relate to pain and injury etc and emotional imbalances. Perfect for me and my emotional system.

This was a longer session than usual and was maybe one and a half hours but what a difference that makes to me. (Compared to the same time vegging in front of the telly.) I had the idea that I wanted to upgrade or re-install a new Operating System (OS) into me! To supplant the one I have from my childhood which has so many negative ways of operating. For example: my mother has an upset and I knee jerk into thinking I must help fix her or feel attacked by her; or that I am so unnecessarily down on myself. Whereas I have had enough experiences and feelings in my life to have a rich and worthwhile way of operating that I don't need the negative stuff. With the kinesiology one works in the positive so instead of saying all the negatives I want changing my brilliant Kinesiologist helped me find the perfect words for me to describe what I wanted:
"My choices and behaviour are connected to my Higher Self and enable me to create a life of love, joy, good health and prosperity."
So that's it, I have my new operating system. [Edit! It wasn't just stating a goal that did it, but it sure helped. There was quite a bit of work done during the session to get to the point at the end that it was done.] I also had three pieces of homework. One of which involved saying something specific to my mother on the telephone. Until we knew what it was I was terrified it would be something I couldn't handle or would be too confrontational but it wasn't. That really surprised me and didn't seem so insurmountable. The sort of thing that could arise anyway and one I should respond to in this way. And suddenly, I feel free of any idea of seeking any sort of acknowledgment of the past from my parents. It just isn't relevant.

Part of my balance included a mini balance around money. Apparently (and not surprisingly really) money just stresses me out. Receiving it, giving it and just seeing it. And part and parcel of all that was such a low impression of myself that I found it impossible at first to say the following statement,
"I, _____ _____, love and honour whatever I create"
Just couldn't get the words out and bawled my eyes at the thought and as I was finally saying it. However, I could easily enough say the reverse of the statement so that thought pattern had to be reversed, and with a few exercises it was restored to the rightful way. Such that I can sit here and say it out loud without wavering. During the mini money balance I had a massive realisation that money was such a screwed up issue in my childhood I was held back from earning a decent amount because I was unable to spend it without stress. After all, why earn it if I am not free to spend it?! Doh!

So what else is new? Instead of focussing my energy on breaking the family cycle of being estranged from ones parents (at least three generations in both my parents) I now focus my energy on enjoying the wonderful relationships I have with my kids. It doesn't sound like much but is a huge shift that makes my children the important ones and not about running around my mother's whims.

In other areas I have been exercising again almost daily for the past couple of weeks. Starting off small using my air walker I am comfortably up to 12 minutes continuous activity. Though I can walk for miles this does involve more energy. I haven't drunk any red wine (my tipple of choice) for the past couple of weeks. Two reasons for this, one was to salvage a few of my brain cells which I was regularly annihilating into slumber and the other reason was get the stains off my teeth. And that is another physical thing I have been working on - to get some sort of whiteness back into my teeth (such as the tetracycline staining allows) and to try and salvage my receding gums. For the teeth whitening I am using Pearl Drops Replenishing White toothpolish with liquid calcium and for the gums I am using Gengigel mouthrinse which contains hyaluronan. Internet research suggests that hyaluronon aids the natural healing process of the gums .... although there are no claims on the side of the box that it can help receding gums to regrow. It is a very strange heavy liquid that one has to keep swilling in your mouth for one to two minutes. Not unpleasant, quite pricy as I estimate the £7.50 150 ml bottle at 10 mls per session times 3 to 4 swills per day will last a week at most, but is well worth the trying. I'll report back in due course.

Yesterday, I even ended up at the dentist which is not my favourite place at all. But son needed minor dental treatment and to get him in as a National Health patient at a recommended private dentist required that I submit to the pleasures. I had wanted to get my teeth whiter and into a better state before any dental visit but that's the way. Turns out my teeth are very good hygiene wise and if anything I am brushing too hard. The dentist heard of Gengigel but seemed to not want to comment on it and was noncommittal about my gums too but it doesn't take a trained dentist to see that more tooth is being revealed than ought to be.

I'm still keeping my desk area clear. And did I say that after my big car clear out the other week that the car promptly broke down - with an existing electrical fault we had been nursemaiding - and needed garaging and a large repair bill? But it's fixed now so that is good. In the meantime, I had the privilege to hire a car that was absolutely brand new with only 4 miles on the clock. After all my driving this last week I shall be returning it with an impressive 500+ miles on the clock. Which I think is a lot for little ole England.

Onwards and upwards with my new OS :-)

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The Value of Pain and Struggle

The last couple of days I have been on fast forward. Like a sponge soaking up as much information as I can find online about adults and parents with Aspergers. Like I am a large 33rpm album with so much information being played at 78rpm. There is an end, or rather a resolve, to the research and the process of my pain and struggle and I am whizzing towards it. Yes, I might have ambitious ideas about resolving but I am determined I am not going to sit here wallowing for the next few years. My life is getting on and I want it to be my life and not one with the shadows of the past looming over.

Realising for sure that my mother is Aspergers doesn't take away the pain she inflicted upon me because I do not believe it was the Aspergers that did it. Though the Aspergers adds to the mix that made her her, and is clearly the person she is now, because on the whole, she can not get away with what she did to us as children. So I have two issues. One is me and processing the anger I now acknowledge I have (and quite rightly so because I did not imagine what happened) and the other issue is learning to understand the Aspergers and being able to manage the fall out from my mother's behaviour from now on.

With regards me, I am talking to friends and family; sharing; and getting some therapy this weekend that might just make a fundamental difference.

With regards to my mother I am still trying to understand the Aspergers. What gets me, is that one of my mother's current special interests is in a particular alternative therapy she "practises". I was wondering how does giving such a "hands on" therapy fit with someone with Aspergers so I did a google for the therapy name and Aspergers. Three million pages (I exaggerate!) into google and I find a discussion forum on some sort of politics where someone explains a bit about themselves including my two keywords. I am hoping I might drop them an email to see if I can chew over some thoughts privately with them so a quick flick to their profile and I find a link to a website that just blows me away!

The Nibiruan Council was not what I was expecting to find when it starts off with "Welcome to the official website of the Nibiruan Council, a multidimensional off-world council whose members are connected to the planet Nibiru." I am really not making fun of it, but I am kind of shocked. After all, like a lot of other things, I have never heard of the planet Nubiru and it puts me in mind of a certain make of car: Daewoo Nubira! Anyway, I am fascinated and once I put my jaw socket back into place I continue exploring, though I didn't find the person I was looking for and if I did am not sure I can embark on the conversation I had in mind.

Their leader, Jelaila Starr is the Nibiruan Councils’ messenger and channel, has produced a number of videos on youtube. If one can put aside any of the more way out aspects such as the end of the world (as we know it) in 2012 and the ascension ideas, they contain a lot of good stuff for living life. Really good. And most pertinent to me at this time was the first video I watched:

The Value of Pain and Struggle

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Parents with Aspergers

Back in December 2005, as a result of some astute friends (Cheryl - you are one of them), I was looking into the possibility my mother was an adult with Aspergers. It would explain a lot of her bizarre behaviour, but at the time I couldn't get to grips with it and then life took over and within a matter of weeks I was in contact with long-lost cousins. One of whom is so special to me and then ended up validating stuff that she saw in my childhood so I knew I wasn't making it up. With all that going on the Aspergers thoughts were sidelined.

Until late Sunday afternoon when my sister stuffed a Times newspaper article under my nose. Does your partner have Asperger's? might be about partners but ends with a checklist. On all eight points we can unreservedly tick for our mother:

The Asperger’s profile

Your partner may have Asperger’s syndrome if he (or she) has most or all of the following traits. Does he . . .
  1. Have difficulty interpreting body language and facial expressions?

  2. Have difficulty understanding jokes, metaphor and sarcasm because he takes everything in a very literal way?

  3. Struggle to maintain friendships?

  4. Become withdrawn and seem to be uninterested in others, appearing aloof?

  5. Have poor social awareness and find it hard to imagine how his behaviour impacts on other people?

  6. Love routines and get very upset if these are broken?

  7. Have an intense and all-consuming special interest or hobby?

  8. Have sensory difficulties? Is he oversensitive to touch or smell or noise or to a particular taste (people with Asperger’s have a very limited diet). In some cases, there can be an undeveloped sense.

Adapted from the National Autistic Society website:

So now I am digesting. And researching, again, and came across this list from a Conference in 2005 given by Dr Tony Attwood (originally found on

The Parent with Asperger’s Syndrome

• Knowledge of normal childhood abilities and the parental role.
• Perfectionism.
• Regimentation.
• Anger.
• Abuse.

Child’s Perception
• Lack of affection, understanding and support. (Aloof).
• Criticism not compliments.
• Embarrassment in public.
• Fear of the parent’s mood and not to antagonize.
• Fear of the ‘cold’ touch of affection.
• Disagreements between parents.
• Parent has a monologue on their own problems.
• Intolerance of noise and friendships.
• Egocentric priorities.
• Favoritism.
• Feeling a nuisance.
• Desire to leave home or move inter-state or abroad.

Child’s Reaction
• Seeking affection and approval.
• Hatred.
• Escape using imagination, solitude, alternative family.
• Choice of partner.

• Recognizing the disorder in a parent.
• Resolving past issues.
• Explaining the person to other family members.

I am still working out my position but it seems clear that my mother has undiagnosed Aspergers. But also thrown into her mix is a whole bundle of stuff that created a hellish childhood for me. Any thoughts of mine to seek acknowledgement or even an apology are shot through but that's sort of OK. This might just help me to finally let go.

PS. I love this article I have just read:
Alien Parenting - A mother with Asperger's Syndrome (Link removed as no longer working - 12/2012)

PPS. A post I wrote since writing this, telling a bit about how life was for me Spring Cleaning of the Mind

PPPS. In early May 2011 my mother died very painfully and I was there for her doing what I could in those last days. I would not wish that level of pain on any living creature. Still, the past happened but I feel like I am supposed to whitewash and forget it. I am still processing and will likely continue for some time to come. I am up and down not sure what or why. Your comments here are still relevant and very much appreciated - thank you. 14 June 2011

PPPPS. December 2012: I am starting to add labels to my posts so that other relevant posts of mine might be more accessible, if wanted. I have also added back some of the more upsetting posts (Jan 2006) as they may serve a purpose for others who feel they are alone. Labels include aspergers   childhood or see the label cloud to the left. I read all the comments posted and welcome them.