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. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

happywishes for 2017

I used to be all about the New Year's posts. Mostly because I was sat sadly by myself, I guess, listening to Long December and crying about the State of Things. Now, I confess, I no longer feel that confidence, or hope, that led me to search out pictures of glowing sparkler years or anything pretty or motivating. I no longer feel that I have words to say that mean anything much - I'm very aware that maybe they never did, but it's the attitude change that counts. I used to feel very sure that I knew stuff, and that I needed to communicate it somehow. That that was possible. Now I feel a lot more... I don't even know the word.

I certainly felt very teary last night, as I have done recently, but especially because I saw a picture of Olivia's teacher, who has been dealing with cancer for years now, diagnosed even before Olivia got her Autism diagnosis, I guess, dressed up with her family, but on oxygen in the hospital, and her husband saying it's the last time they'll all send wishes together.

Excuse the run on sentence. My life is like a run on sentence I can't pull together and control either...

It's not death I'm scared of so much as grief, I think. Death is a natural, inevitable thing. The ripples of grief spill out into the world - I never managed to deal with it, to be honest, and it's left me in fear of the next time. And then I feel it for everyone else, too. This year of loss of greats has been tough.

I want to wish improvement, and happiness and sustainable energy to the world for next year, but there's so much war, and Trump and Trump-voter mentality. There's all the people sneering at those who claim to be vaccine injured, and ignoring their identical stories and heaping shame on them. There's my daughter who is being taught by the internet that feminism and political correctness are the root of all fun-spoiling and her father who agrees with her. There's my own personal whirlpool of self-doubt and my daughter's situation that's ongoing and pushes me further down the funnel each time I let my thoughts rest on it, and how I'm still not finding the solutions needed in a burst of brave resilience and parental heroism.

I've lost  friend I thought would always be a friend, and along with all of the other people and family member it highlights how well I'm not doing. But I'm not sure I have the energy to be more upset about it, or feel like I can fix it.

So what will 2017 bring? How to invite good change in?

I don't know, but I do know that I wish good things, good health, firm relationships that bring strength and peace to you all. Resilience and self-belief. Laughter and love and the bravery to fight back against all the wrongness.

Monday, December 19, 2016

christmas week

Monday.
I breakfasted on coffee and a Guinness chocolate cupcake. With Bailey's frosting. Best cupcake recipe *ever*. It's insanely nice. Breakfast of champions, needless to say. Try 'em. In all truth, I make amazing, rich, delicious cupcakes, and these are the best of all.

I'm on holiday for the first time in a year and a half. It's great. I feel an immense relief.


Elizabeth wrote about being a witness to the Syrian murder. I don't know what to do with myself about them. The horrors of the world and the prospect of the horrors of the future and my anxieties about the things that are wrong in my life overwhelm me and make me cry ten times a day at the moment. I am very raw. I'm not sure what to do about any of it. I don't know how to make myself better, or get my daughter better or save all the children dying in the streets of Aleppo, or hold their grieving parents. Why do I feel the need? I envy people who don't feel it. I do, so.
My friend told me yesterday that her brother has been talking to  her of suicide again. And she thinks that's ok. She's sanguine about it, she doesn't feel unfairly manipulated or affected. Damn.

I went to my work Christmas party the other night, in a beautiful hotel. There were drinks and dinner and dancing and people who on the whole, I like a lot. I felt lucky. And oh, readers, I bought a ridiculously sparkly silver dress, and new tights with a control top, and I wore my knee boots and painted my nails dark wine red with sparkly tips. And it all came together and I felt ok, and everyone was very sweet about me as I usually look like a frumpy lumpy woman ten years older than my age. A colleague who is not the best with social...ness, and is a bit of a grumpy, old before his time 80s style Socialist, who I haven't seen in ages came in and the first thing he said to me was a  very kind 'You look great in that dress. It's brilliant. If I was a woman, that is the sort of dress I'd wear.' Excuse the run on sentence but I'm trying to fit it all in. I was extremely touched by his enthusiasm. The truth was, we all looked great and some people there were breakthtakingly stunning in their finery, dancing to cheesy 80s hits.

Here is a pic of my nail varnish.Oops, one nail fell off and I redid it in gold.



And I'm going out tomorrow morning for Christmas coffees and now they're gold and sparkly.


Why am I showing you pictures of my chubby little baby hands in such an uncharacteristic way, you ask? Well, it's because for 95% of my life I've been a person with ragged, bitten nails I was ashamed of, and I seem to have managed to stop that. And they're all grown and smooth and adult looking and I've found this polish called Little Ondine that is water based, virtually smell free and peel off that I adore. It peels off a little bit earlier than I want it to, but other than that, it's fabulous and I'm so excited by having sparkly nails. I like it so much I asked them to let me be an 'ambassador', so if you every fancy ordering some, use the code AJM10 for 10% off. But be warned, while it covers beautifully and dries in a flash, it does peel off soon and isn't tolerant of water. On the plus side, it's pretty easy to apply, easier than standard polish and you can fix it quickly and change it when you want. You can check out www.littleondine.com and www.uk.littleondine.com. Apologies for the ad and the nails, but I'm just so happy to be full of love for my nails rather than full of shame, it's a very nice feeling. 

Up, down, up, down. The roller coaster of desperate-sad/normal/happy I go through each hour is tiring. But you take the good bits as they fall. 

Cupcakes, nail varnish and La Nausée is what I have for you today. You're welcome. 


Sunday, December 4, 2016

blorg


You know how I'm frequently sentimental, but I also hate schmaltzy sanctimonious crap off the internet?

Case in point. Fuck off.

Anyone prefer me to make love to them instead of sending them cookies? Show of hands? Ah, alright, I'll stick with the baking, so. Be the light, my arse.

Having said that, I could have listened to that André Rieu version of Hallelujah with the opera singers ten times and wept through it each time today. God.

I survived the baking marathon. My wares sold out. I am tired and I owe myself a weekend, but I had a delicious Indian takeaway for dinner tonight.

Bodhi is cycling, finally and his father promises to start teaching him chords this week.

I'm feeling festive, and have holidays coming, so I can live without this weekend being entirely restful. Tomorrow night, Christmas cards.

I'm going to bed early.

Oh - also, I read Iain Banks' 'The Steep Road to Garbadale' this week and enjoyed it immensely - such bright, clever writing and characters. I went so far as to see if I could find his twitter to tell him so, then remembered with sadness that he died.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

I talk so much. Like a hyper, over-excited child. Not always, but often. It sweeps over and out of meme like a wave, a swell of uninvited, babbled information, opinion, story, joke. When I found out it was a dyspraxic symptom, it made me feel slightly better, but it's still ... humiliating? Shaming? Something a little sicker feeling than embarrassment, I think. Ugh. 

I have a baking marathon to do today, for the school Christmas fair fundraiser. I want to stay in bed and read this great novel by Iain Banks instead - The Steep Approach to Garbadale. It's so well written. Funny, engaging, tender writing. Sometimes a little self-conscious, but that endears me to it all the more. I've spent €50 on ingredients, it's going to be hours of running the oven. Robbing me of my weekend. I feel resentful about it. Childishly, churlishly so. An annual tradition. Other people work harder than I do to organise it, and it's vital if we want the school to be able to keep running the lights and so on. Which is shit. But ... it is what it is. I should be more attractively zen about it. 

My Christmas present to myself and my fingernails arrived yesterday. Nail varnish. Special, water based, peelable, gorgeous nail varnish. I will blog about this soon, if you will allow me to. V v exciting. 

I am feeling shitty today. I have a headache, I don't know why, and things feel too hard to bear. I want to cry and I feel sorry for myself. Blech. Post-menstrual stress? I don't know, but I don't like it. I don't like myself. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I woke up at 5 this morning, to the groggy realisation that I'd fallen asleep with the light on, my computer on, my mouth guard not in. I flailed around, worrying I hadn't brought my phone up and so had no alarm. The idea of getting out of bed in the cold and dark to go find it seemed impossible.

Then the knowledge that it was Saturday dropped me back onto the pillow with almost fainting relief. Not only did I not have to go get the phone, I didn't have to get up for work either. It was a glorious, dizzy sensation. If I hadn't been lying down, I might have fallen over with it. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I am listening to You Want It Darker in my bed-nest and am loving it. It'd be startling if it weren't... Leonard Cohen - I mean, what is there else to expect?

It's difficult for me to listen to LC because my mother loved him, and was of his era, and I think I heard his songs through her ears and experiences rather than my own. I dissuaded my sister from having House of the Rising Sun played at her funeral (she claimed my mother loved it and she (my sister) was tickled that it was about a whore house) and in exasperation I just put my foot down and suggested a friend would play 'Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye on the flute, which my mother played and she went for it. My father felt it was horribly inappropriate, but relented when I said it would just be the music. I probably shouldn't have pushed that on him, as it was one of the songs they'd loved together - and now I associate with it her too much to be able to enjoy it any more properly. Ah, for fuck's sake. It's hard having a mammal brain and all these chemicals. Anyway, that's my little jolly Leonard Cohen story.

Nevertheless, this album is a v good thing. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thursday

My son is having a good week.

He got his first pair of Docs, and he loves them, the bounce and security of them.

His sister is being unusually nice, less Aspie and more herself, calm and friendly towards him. They're enjoying each other's company, or they have been, and he can relax a bit.

He got Pokemon cards.

He put himself forward for the student council, and he won today, so he's excited and proud of himself. I'm so glad - he tried something and it came through. It's bolstering. Plus, he'll be great.

In this week of fear and awfulness, he's ok.

Since the election results, I have felt a craving to read people's reactions and opinions and to feel connected - I've really, really wanted to hide in bed and read and share those thoughts. But I had to get up and go to work. Real life intrudes. I feel horrified by so many people's violence and lack of understanding and I feel heartened and touched by others' beautiful comprehension of humanity. There are many aware, empathic, brave, clever people out there. I don't know that I believe they can save us, but that's no reason not to keep trying.

Friday

Today was less triumphant - he's worried his docs look too big and he had a fight with his best friend. But we sail on.

I lit a fire and it was insanely windy out, and the fire basically blew back into the room and smoked up the recently painted wall above the fireplace and when I cleaned it I made it far worse. Oops. New paint will be needed.

Which is bad because it's Axl's birthday today, and he has to drive to the farthest county in the country to play at his bass player's cousin's wedding and then drive home and get back at 4 am and go to work tomorrow. We'll celebrate on Sunday, but he may also have to paint a wall... :/

Saturday

Spent money! On a dental check up for Bodhi, on soap, on the supermarket. I'm feeling greedy and consumerist at the moment. I want Petite Odille nail varnish for my new, grown up human nails (though I bit one yesterday - agh! Still better than in times past, though) and manicures. I want a handbag and a new phone (an ethical one I don't have to feel guilty about that costs €500 hahahaha!) I want my ears repierced so I can wear earrings again. I want more than one pair of shoes. I want osteopaths appointments and dentistry. I want music and pretty Christmas things and books and a refurb for this falling down house - a silent boiler, new bathrooms, insulation, new carpeting. I want to donate to homeless charities and dog charities and Syria and Yemen and anything that stops Trump hurting people and and and. Anyway, I went and checked my account and I have minus money til Friday, so... sigh.

If I don't post this now I should really delete it, and I wanted to post the bit about Bodhi's Good Day, so, publish I will.