Sunday, 30 December 2007

Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want From 2008

A bit like Elvis, my son has now left the building. In his wake he leaves a smoking ruin of a house, a sentimental weeping wreck of a mother and an empty fridge. It's been great, but he needs to get back to Uni-land to take up where he left off. There's work to be done, people to see, Wii games to play and lager to drink, so there's a lot of catching up to do. Not to mention he has a hot date for New Year's Eve. Oh yes.

Me? Well, I'm wandering from room to room surveying the chaos. I haven't done a single bit of housework since before Christmas and, believe me, you can tell. The tree which looked so lovely only a week ago has become a target for walnut and satsuma throwing miscreants (OK, I did it too, but only when drunk and egged on by my naughty children), so most of the needles are now firmly embedded in the carpet and the fairy looks decidedly pissed. Every gold-rimmed plate, dish, crystal wine glass and trifle bowl is washed but stacked in the kitchen, waiting for someone to be arsed to put them away until next time. And right now, that isn't going to be me.

It's going to take me a bit of time to get back into harness, even if I can find one that still fits me. I've stuffed my greedy face for a week, drunk myself silly and grazed continuously 24/7 since Christmas Eve. I've so enjoyed having the family around me and have gone native to a degree which has astounded them as much as me, given that in the past I've had a bit of a reputation for my Hyacinth Bouquet tendencies. I was once called "Mrs. Clean" by an ex-friend. Note the ex. But I haven't once dusted, polished or brought out the 1001 carpet spray, which is a bit of a first for me, given that I usually like things to be just so.

So it's not impossible to change, is it? We can all get a new perspective on life, however many Christmases and New Years we've lived through. We don't have to be shackled by the past, repeat our usual mistakes, run on the same rails as we've always done. Things cannot remain the same if we are to grow and flourish.

If blogging has taught me something, then it's this. Reading about other people's lives, the good and the bad bits, the random and sad bits, has shown me that there is no such thing as "normal" or "standard". Blogs have made me laugh out loud and even cry sometimes, I've ranted and raged occasionally, but some things have been constant - my enjoyment, involvement and interest.

Next year my target is to find a magazine or newspaper editor who will let me write an occasional short column or even contribute regularly in some way. I am starting to collect material for a book, and I've submitted another short story for consideration. I've realised that I just need to write. Don't let me give up, I'm counting on you to give me a swift kick up the arse if I look as if I'm going off the boil, and any suggestions about how I go about reaching my goal would be welcome. If you think I don't have a cat in hell's chance, please be gentle with me as my self-belief is delicate, but I am open to constructive criticism and suggestions.

In the meantime, give me your own aspirations for 2008, I am sure they are going to be impressive given what I know about a lot of you already.

Happy New Year everyone.


Friday, 28 December 2007

Food Glorious Food

I am getting stir crazy. I don't want to do battle in the shopping mall but I am definitely thinking of excuses to get out of the house - a walk to the pub or park or a gentle wander down to Waitrose for some fresh salad stuff is on the cards any minute now. My body is screaming out for anything not covered in icing, double cream or gravy, at this point I wouldn't give a stuff if I never saw another mince-pie, and I've just completed my favourite recipe for leftover turkey which involves opening the bin and throwing the bloody thing in it.

We've still got half a baby Stilton, an appallingly odoriferous Brie, two tons of chocolate and a tree with no needles left on it. Oh, and half a sherry log. And a ham. With Nigella Bloody Lawson's spiced peaches, which were very nice actually once I'd got some jars, but right now even the smell of cinnamon is enough to make me gag.

Enough already.

The foods which seemed to be so vital and jostling for pole position on my "must have or your Christmas catering will be rubbish" list are now lying wilted and tired, unopened at the bottom of my decimated fridge, pointing withered fingers at me and laughing mockingly. I am trying not to think about the money I've needlessly spent but cannot stop myself feeling bad about such a terrible waste of food. Remind me next year not to be so silly. Yes I know we should be eating it all up, but frankly I couldn't face another sausage roll to save my life.

Meanwhile, I've got nothing for dinner.

I could kill a curry.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Retail Therapy? No Ta.

There are two sorts of people in this world. Those who will get up at four in the morning and queue up outside Next to buy a half price sweater, and those who simply can't be arsed. It may not surprise you to know that I'm of the latter persuasion. Right now I just can't imagine wanting any material thing enough to drag myself out of bed at some ridiculously early time in the morning on Boxing Day or the day after, probably with a well-deserved hangover, simply to go shopping again. And quite frankly, that's not something you hear me say all that often, me being the career shopper that I am, however much of a sucker I am for a bargain.

But after the excesses of the past few days and the weeks of pre-Christmas shopping frenzy that we've all been through, who can be bothered to do it all again so soon? There just can't be anything left in the shops to warrant that kind of effort, can there?

Round here it's still Christmas, and we've still got a whole lot more lounging about to do. I am so not ready to get back to normality just yet.

But give it time......

Monday, 24 December 2007

A Very Merry Christmas To All

Just wanted to say Merry Christmas to everyone, and thanks for visiting my blog during 2007. As I've said before, I don't quite know what I was expecting when I began, but it's been a real pleasure to meet all of you and it's been great reading your blogs and also your comments on mine.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are and whatever you're doing. And I wish you all a happy, healthy and chatty New Year.

Take care, speak soon!


Thursday, 20 December 2007

Home, Sweet Smelling Home.

For some obscure reason, I am driven to spring-clean the house from top to bottom in readiness for Christmas and my son's return from university, where he lives in studenty squalor and frankly wouldn't notice or care if I didn't bother to clean here for the next two years. But that's not the point, although I'm not quite sure what the actual point is. I just have to do it. In the same way I have to stack the pantry and fridge to maximum capacity in an effort to make up for all the times he's existed on baked beans, getting the house clean and welcoming for him just seems the most important thing to do right now. I guess it's a nurturing thing, and I don't get to do it often enough these days.

My husband thinks I'm slightly mad to go to these lengths, because in about three hours' time the hall will be full of son's manky washing, kicked-off boots the size of boats, coats over the bannister, keys, small change and general rubbish scattered to the four corners, lost until it's time for him to go back and we clear it all up again. His bedroom will once again become a no-go zone and we'll run out of lager.

Although underneath the chaos the house will be clean, with help from the rest of the family over the Christmas holidays it's going to degenerate into a total, shambolic mess.

Bring it on.

I can't wait. I just want him home.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.

So I thought I'd join in with this whole cookin' shoppin' and preparin' lark, and having watched Nigella making whoopie with four cans of cling-peaches last night on TV (anyone know why they're called "cling" peaches, other than in solidarity with Ms Lawson's skin tight sweater?), I called into Waitrose on my way home from work to buy the stuff I needed. After a day flapping around like a clairvoyant turkey, I felt a little bit of festive cookery would be therapeutic, and what's more I'd downloaded the ingredients list from the internet. That's extremely organised for me, so please be impressed.

White wine vinegar, check. Two sticks of cinnamon, check. Chilli flakes, er what? Will these crushed ones do? Yes, of course they will, bung them in. Check. Four centimetre piece of fresh ginger. Check. Tinned peaches? Yes, I said peaches. Please. You know, those hairy yellow things that used to have a stone in the middle but don't any more? In a can? In syrup? C'mon, you must know what I mean. Sold out? Oh, silly me, of course they're sold out, I should have realised - it's 5.00 p.m., on the day after Nigella showed us how to make hot 'n sexy Spiced Peaches to go with our cold gammon, so why on earth did I expect Waitrose to have any sodding peaches left? Or gammon, come to that. Every aspiring domestic goddess in Britain has obviously had the same urge as me - and it's not often I can be bothered to do anything that involves chilli flakes or cinnamon, I can tell you. Let alone tinned fruit. Oh bugger.

So I set about making a right nuisance of myself until we found some, and after a bit of serious shelf rummaging, I finally managed to assemble ALL the ingredients so off home I went, triumphant. Well, I thought, that's my evening planned. A quick supper, put on the apron, a bit of lip gloss, a gin, some background music (Led Zeppelin actually, not very seasonal but absolutely fantastic nonetheless) and away with the mixer. Festive food prepared Swearing Mother style. No problem. Move over Nigella and let a real woman in.

And it was all going so smoothly until the end, when I discovered some missing but vital ingredients. Why didn't anybody remind me to get some jars to put the bloody things in?


Friday, 7 December 2007

Busy, busy, busy.

Like everyone else who is on a marathon pre-Christmas orgy of cleaning, shopping, cooking and working, I am rapidly disappearing up my own exit, so instead of maintaining a sinister silence I'm posting something that has been doing the rounds in the office. So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having fun......... yet another definitive list of Venus/Mars observations which I found to be quite amusing. Hope you do too.

Women love cats.
Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.

Dressing up:
A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the bins, answer the phone, read a book or get the post.
A man will dress up for wedding and funerals.

Natural beauty:
Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favourite foods, secret fears, hopes and dreams.
A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in his house.

Selective Hearing:
When a woman says: C'mon.....this place is a mess, you and I need to tidy up. Your trousers are on the floor and you'll have no clean clothes if we don't do the laundry now.
What a man hears: C'MON ..... blah, blah, blah YOU AND I blah, blah, blah, blah, ON THE FLOOR blah, blah, blah, NO CLOTHES blah, blah, blah, blah, NOW.

If Laura, Suzannne, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Suzanne, Kate and Sarah.
If Mike, Charlie, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Shit-Head and Four-Eyes.

Eating Out:
When the bill arrives, Mike, Charlie, Dave and John will each throw in £20, even though the bill is only £32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.
When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

A man will pay £2 for a £1 item if he needs it.
A woman will pay £1 for a £2 item that she doesn't need, but it's on sale.

A man has six items in his bathroom - toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap and a towel.
The average number of items in a typical woman's bathroom is 137. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

And finally......

Thought For The Day:
Any married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing.

Dont'cha just love wild generalisations? Please feel free to add anything that tickled you over the past week to my comment page, I think we all need a laugh!!