Monday, July 9, 2018

gratitude

For literally years, I procrastinated filling in the form for the carer's allowance grant that's available to people with children with special needs.

Years.

Despite a friend who'd done it giving me her form and family impact statement letter.

Despite being unable to afford basics like health care and mental health care.

I finally got it done and posted it off in April of this year. I stressed about it, about leaving it so long and losing us money, about not filling it in well enough. About the fact that at the moment it only goes up to 16, and now my daughter is 15...

A couple weeks ago I silently begged for one big, good thing. Something good to happen to us, something encouraging. A lottery win, Olivia coming out of her zone of self-protective self-destruction, the grant being awarded us.

Today, finally, the envelope. A Yes!

With backdating for the maximum of six months, the annual respite grant, and the monthly allowance (including a Christmas bonus). (And free home insulation, after a long wait!) We get a small lump sum, because of the backdating and respite grant. Respite's not an option for us, but oh... we need this so much. There will be dentist visits for myself and Bodhi, and counsellor visits too, for our shitty anxiety and miseries. 

The plan was to build a small log cabin house outside for Axl - but he suggested it would make far more sense for it to be Olivia's little apartment. We were going to have to borrow to the max to do it, but now, with this, we can build it, and still borrow a bit to make our shitty bathrooms into normal human people's bathrooms. And we can turn the heat on in the winter, as the boiler hopefully won't bother her, or the heat, and we can clean out her room, and let Bodhi have it a place of his own, space for his stuff, friends to stay over.

And Olivia can have a space of her own, that feels private and safe - we are in the midst of a crisis - she found out I'd been in her room, killing moths (she was lying about a moth infestation). She reacted very badly, and has not been out of her room since - in the great heatwave we're having, with her zero heat tolerance. She's barely eating and drinking and seems to think she can stay in there forever. It's irrational and self-destructive, but she blames it all on me. Her solutions to her problems cause her incredible suffering, yet seem more rational to her than, say, facing the pain of having a shower.

I hope this will bring her joy and a sense of safety again. Nothing is simple, of course, there will be a host of sensory issues to contend with... but it's a good solution.

I am so grateful. Something worked. Perhaps more luck will follow. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

I just had my mind blown a little bit. By the tweet of a lovely intelligent, educated, cultured woman on twitter who has a great marriage and family and is having a Sunday in bed with tea, told she deserves it because she is an 'excellent wife'. And then her sweet affirming tweet a little later, 'I really am an excellent wife'.

We don't think about that so much today, do we? Or do we? I know Mary does. Why haven't I noticed before, in the same was as I'm thinking about it now? I was a terrible wife. There were extenuating circumstances, but the result was all the same in the end. And the worst part is, I'm not sure I thought so much about it, I was so wrapped up in all the things that were stopping me being a good wife. I'm pretty sure I thought about what kind of husband I wanted my husband to be, though. I thought about me. I bet I didn't stop to think about what I needed to be, and how to take pride in that.

Partly because of all the extenuating circumstances, partly because of immaturity, and that I was probably not being able to be a good wife because I was being... not a bad person, exactly, but a mess of a person. Which maybe comes to the same thing. I really don't know how the scales measure weakness and self-absorbedness over actual evil, if such a thing exists.

I suddenly feel this is a thing we should be learning again, despite it's awful 1950s connotations. How to be a partner. I feel gripped with a fear that I never considered that at all. How awful.

This period is being a bit of a tough one. And I'm dieting, so I can't suppress all the misery with food. In fact, I'm going to lunch shortly, and I'm not having a cooked breakfast (which is cooking now) and that sadness alone is making me want to cry too.



Thursday, December 14, 2017

Little things my son does still melt my heart.

Today in the stupidly-expensive, pretty things shop he admired an old fashioned dial phone (in red melamine) with a kind of awe.

I love that he gets the beauty of the design of an old phone without ever having used one, without ever knowing that to be a phone-shape.

I miss them. I've been thinking of buying one, actually, as the cordlessless is far better for us.  The only problem is that then I won't be able to have private phone calls on it. Not that I have phone calls often at all, but ... there are still certain subjects that neccessitate a closed door. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I hate my brain part 1,023

I was just slicing a tomato, and started to  cry because I remembered the bit in Harriet the Spy where everything goes wrong and the kids in school steal her tomato sandwhich because they're bullying her because they read her notebook.  She always has one and she's probably on the spectrum, thinking about it now.

I just want to eat a sandwich, brain, just let me do that in peace? 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I have something sweet and fragrant on my fingers, I'm not sure what it is or where it might come from (other than the possibility of maple syrup and fake bacon, though that seems improbable). But it's reminding me of the Christmas that I got a wooden strawberry impregnated with Body Shop strawberry fragrance in my stocking, and my sister carried a giant hardback copy of Anne Rice's The Witching Hour across the Atlantic as her Christmas present to me. And now the memory of that compelling, cloying, strong strawberry smell and the sensuous, evocative descriptions of faded New Orleans grandeur and murderous mystery and magic are forever interlinked. The book reminds me of the strawberry, the idea of the smell reminds me of the book.

It's a really good book. She linked her vampire and witch worlds so well, I feel. Anne Rice was such a part of my childhood. I'm glad I had an older sister, and therefore got to read the vampire novels when I was in my early teens, when their romance was oh, so timely and appreciated.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

I'm procastinating so deeply and for such duration that I've reached a whole new dimension of paralysis. I'm wasting my summer worrying over but not doing things I should have done months ago.

I did go swimming with Bodhi yesterday though, and it wasn't so cold and we had fun in the waves.

And we just went and played the kind of tennis children and unsporty fat ladies play, if you can picture that. We met a darling beagle puppy who might have been called Maggie, or Meggie, I couldn't tell because her owners were South African. Or possibly from New Zealand. Derry was significantly under-charmed by the puppy and ignored her existence.

I could go visit my ex colleagues in Tenerife in the Autumn. But I don't know if I want to - my anxiety is telling me things about how it might feel awkward and I'll be in the way and I'll talk too much and they'll wish I wasn't there, and my whole travel anxiety makes going away on my own more of a chore than a delight in the long run. So I kind of want to give up on the idea, but then I really need a holiday and I'd love to eat nice tapas and drink cheap tasty wine and be elsewhere. e

I don't know.

This blog post is brought to you by my attempts to at least do something more worthwhile that looking at facebook and commenting on things no one needs me to comment on for ten hours a day.


Friday, May 12, 2017

I fumble to write. I've been driving round, thinking of things I'd like to say here, and yet never quite making it to the page nonetheless. I miss blogging, but at the same time I don't, as the great apathy that overwhelms any urge I might have blankets me in a depressive certainty that I've nothing to say of import, and no energy to say it. Even though I'm aware there are people who'd be happy to read a post I wrote, I still can't imagine stringing words together worth reading.

Here I am though - it might be good to lump something out, de-clog my brain a bit, that's cluttered like this bursting at the seams little laptop I bought without realising it had no storage space.

I had an observation yesterday, in work - we have one bi-annually, from our director, who's a very unimposing, easy-going woman who's younger than me. She's very beautiful, too, red-haired and vulpine, but I think utterly unaware of how attractive she is. I normally stress about observations, and have anxiety dreams about work, but this year, having had two perfectly good ones, I decided to just ... not. And it went excellently. I'm glad - I frequently feel like an inadequate teacher, even if it's only language teaching I do, rather than secondary school teaching. I'm lazy, I don't make massive efforts. I've been doing this too long and I don't care about it enough any more. But it's good to know I've still got the ability to do it right. And it's good to get some feedback that's positive. The rest of the time it's really just me feeling like a failure and my daughter hating me and the relentless jab of memories and regret. Ha! Yeah, I have my period.

I just finished reading Bodhi the last Harry Potter book. Do you know the Limbo scene in the station where Harry talks to a dead Dumbledore and chooses to go back and keep fighting? And a raw, foetal Vodlemort is lying moaning and mewling in a corner? It struck me that that's where Trump is emotionally - without all the trappings of his inherited money and status, he'd be as effective as a bitter, impotent infant Voldemort, trapped and helpless, of use to no-one. Imagine Trump on survival island.What could he contribute? Could you even eat him?

I walked out of work into a sea mist and a gentle drizzle today and the smell of salt hit me in the face as if I was playing in the waves. Such nostalgia for holidays and swimming and cold and fun in the water. It hasn't rained here in a long time and the earth and trees are throwing out such smells. It's grey but utterly lovely, evocative and sensuous.

I'm so glad it's Friday. I've to drive for hours to return the dog we fostered to the shelter tomorrow - I don't want to but I need rid of her, I can't take it any more. We've done our accidental bit, and I've well and truly learned my lesson. She rolled in horrible poo today on her walk, and I had to drag her into the shower and well and truly traumatise her by washing her. That made me feel bad, but ... roll in shit and pay the price. There was no way to do it gently as I had to just force her to stay there with all my strength. Yeesh. Derry loves the shower. He's a pain in the ass, but we got so lucky with him.


Thursday, April 6, 2017



She's out of practice (she showed me a far better one from some time ago). I know this is just a study of her own sweet hand, but it's hard not to see a fist pump.

Monday, March 27, 2017

bookmark

My daughter has been an artist since she was very small, and she and her dad would paint in the mornings while I was at work. She would embark on pictures with the utmost confidence - 'I'm going to draw a tiger' - and then she would draw a tiger, and paint it too, and boom: tiger.

A while back she stopped, angrily insisting that she couldn't draw any more, it didn't work, to stop telling her she was good at art because she wasn't anymore, if she ever was. And there was no point practising as much as she'd need to to be good because she wasn't interested anyway.

For those who don't know, she has Asperger's and extreme sensory processing disorder, and is in a very stuck, locked down state - she has had no education for three years now, pretty much, other than what she finds herself. She's been stuck at home for two years, unable to wash or change while her clothes disintegrate on her.

Recently she found some old pictures in notebooks, and started showing them to me. And then she started adding to them; the miracle of Pokemon. It continues, this spark of interest.

This is not quite the gratitude I felt watching her run down a hill with her friend in the sun after two months at home unable to wear clothes several years ago - but it is deep, nonetheless, and layered.

Friday, January 6, 2017

I've been off work, as I may have mentioned, and it's been brilliant. Except I'm doing the staying up half the night and sleeping in thing, which has to stop tonight. Bodhi and his dad are on holiday too, so we've been eating a lot and going to do things. I am a bit scared to look at my bank account, as I won't get paid again til the 23rd.

Yesterday we went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and it was a total joy. A delight. Like drinking pink champagne from a champagne saucer. Everything about it I found utterly lovely.

Today we went to see the Turner watercolours in the National Gallery, as I've never been. They're good, like, but they're not really my thing, to be honest. But we went in to see a European exhibition, and oh, my. There was a Vermeer. Seeing a Vermeer close up is something special. A wonderful, quiet space envelopes you when you see a truly great painting.


There was a Monet too. Monet, Monet.



Google reminds me that it had to be restored, as some *person* (I'm trying to curse less, it's frustrating) 'fell' into it and damaged it and it had to be restored. I don't know how they do it, tbh.

The Goose girl is there too, it's really beautiful. And big.



But, but, oh, the Van Gogh. I'd never even heard of it before. I could have looked at this for days. It's in a really beautiful black frame, but I can't find a good photo of it with it.


The further away you get from it the more detailed it seems. I love it. I would like this in my house, quite a lot.

Oh, and there was, in the corner, a very plain bust onto which was projected a photograph of a face - so you just see the light shining the face onto the blank head. It was remarkable - I've never seen anything like it before. I wanted to see it shining onto the back of Axl's head, so it would look like Voldemort in The Philosopher's Stone, but our messing around with it attracted the attention of another woman, who like me, would have walked past it, and Axl got a bit embarrassed.

We had a burrito too. It was lovely to see Bodhi looking at paintings. A good day.