The Intern

Yes, that’s right, I bagged myself an internship! And not just any internship; a fabulous two week stint with the most marvellous editorial crew a girl could hope for, the word wizards @ Mr and Mrs Smith.

As I begin the countdown of my final week (I settled into the mix last Monday), I am a bit torn by the bitter-sweetness of it all. I’ve enjoyed my time there immensely – perhaps too much – as evidenced by my loose lipped pub-night professing after two glasses of Pinot Grigio with a mere three days in the office under my belt. I’ve turned my hand to boutique hotel room descriptions, social media research and destination guides that stir an immense sense of wanderlust.

I’m gonna miss these folks. The open workspaces, the free-flow of tea just the way I like it, and the pretty amazing feeling of being a part of a team again.

🙂

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Lost, not found

I feel lifeless.  Just one blog post in June so far.  I’m finally not ill anymore but it seems as though I’ve been zapped of all my creative juice.  I haven’t crocheted, crafted, or stitched in days and it is a lonely and confusing feeling.  I am happiest when I am making and when I come up against a creative block, I feel lost.

I want to run away sometimes. Hide from life. I would love nothing more than to have more space. Space to create, to stash my fabrics and papers and yarns and hooks.  Space for my children to play, to stash their own treasures, to stop the cascade of toys that is currently overtaking my bedroom and living room and kitchen…

I have an oppressive feeling of being trapped. Of not being able to dig my way of this tangle of a mess I call my life right now.  Each time I feel I am moving forward, creating a plan of how to do great things, I feel knocked back.

I. HAVE. TO. GET. OUT. OF. HERE.

My kids are constantly fighting, screaming, jumping, pinching, whining.  Running amok like caged animals worked into a frenzy by their imprisonment.  I’m tired of being referee. And I’m tired of yelling. And tidying. And cleaning up mammoth messes. I have a collection of cleaning sprays and scrubbing cloths at the ready to tackle the endless finger smudges on walls and pen scrawls on the furniture.

I am a single mom. In every sense of that word. I single-handedly take on the job of mother and father, judge and jury. I am the “fun” parent yet also the one who has to mete out punishments.  I do school runs, parent-teacher meetings, grocery shops, doctor and dentist appointments, ballet classes, homework help, baths, bedtime stories, kisses, cuddles…  I don’t remember the last time I managed to eat breakfast before rushing out the door to get Emilie to school.

I’m not complaining, I guess I am venting.  My kids are what keep me going. But I’ve almost completely lost my sense of self through my devotion to them.  My name is Liam’s mum/Emilie’s mum/Zoie’s mum.

Who am I really?

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Five Minute Friday – View

Here we go, here we go, here we go now!

It’s a cold, wet Friday here in not-so-sunny London.

Today’s Five Minute Friday topic is: VIEW

Here’s what I had to say:

The view from where I am sitting is bleak.  Fat grey clouds punctuate a gauzy skyline. Haze and blur as far as the eye can see.  The rain is periodic. It comes in sprinkles and scatters, splashes and splatters.  The wind whips the soggy leaves around my drenched garden and I think, thank you mother nature for this practical joke – surely this can’t be summer.  Such a view.  What a view.  Perhaps I should change my point of view?  The ground is nourished, my thirsty tulips sip each drop of water that the clouds release.  Bursts of fresh new green abound. Soon the view will blossom and bloom thanks to this momentary gloom.

Annnd, I’m done.  Trying to see the positive side of 8 degree (Celsius) weather and incessant, drizzly rain.  The last line rhyming was unintentional. 🙂

Happy Friday! Hope the weather where you are is much more cheery!

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Five Minute Friday – Song

Shhhh…. it’s Saturday, but I won’t tell if you won’t.

My Five Minute Friday is a little delayed but better late than never I always say!

This week’s topic is: SONG

So without further ado:

I’ve always wished that I could sing. And by sing I mean having a half decent singing voice, not the crackly strained alto I currently possess.  I bravely took up choir in high school, secretly jealous of the sopranos with notes like tinkling bells, while I slouched in the back row and croaked along like a timid toad.  But honestly I’m not that bad. I think.  I held out hope that my kids would be blessed with better pipes than I was. Until recently that hope was high – and then I caught my daughters’ rendition of Incy Wincy Spider.  Clearly the inability to carry a tune runs in the family. As I type this I can hear my mother churn out a song in the kitchen. It is being butchered. Something mournful and reminiscent of ancient Sunday services in the parish church. Scary yet somehow soothing in its familiarity.  Sing, song, sung.

True story.  And I made myself chuckle!

Happy Friday, er Saturday!

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Five Minute Friday – Brave

Today I am participating in a freewriting exercise called “Five Minute Friday”.  You can read all about it here on Lisa Jo-Baker’s site.

The challenge is to freewrite on a topic for just 5 minutes – no more, no less.  You cannot edit, backtrack, or change what you have written. This is pretty much the whole point of freewriting, you see.

This week’s topic is: BRAVE

Here is what I wrote:

I have a little boy. He stole my heart. From the moment I laid eyes on that tiny bundle, snuggled myself against that soft, warm cheek, I was in love. Unconditionally and inextricably.  My boy is the embodiment of brave. Poked and prodded from just a few weeks old. Many nights spent on hospital wards. Endless lists of medications, supplements, tests, trials, and all that comes with being “special”.  Because he is special, in every possible definition of the word.  He never lets his challenges hold him back.  He is bursting with energy and love and kindness.  He minds his manners yet can also be loud, rambunctious or downright over-the-top.  He does silly things like hug random strangers and slightly embarrassing things like lick the shopping cart handle.  I once filled up with tears when he threw a tantrum in public until I realised that it was me who wasn’t coping, not him.  I needed to be brave. Like him.  He has taught me about myself in ways I could never imagine and I am eternally grateful that I can call him my son.

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And that’s it.  When I looked up at the screen and re-read what I wrote, I felt a tinge of pride.  Not bad at all.

I found it therapeutic and enjoyed the challenge of not being allowed to alter the words that flowed freely from my heart. I am notorious for editing, perhaps to a fault.  I find myself tweaking things that I wrote back in high school — now some 15 years in the past.  This was a wonderful exercise in restraint and I welcome it.

Freewriting is something I have come across in the many creative writing and literature classes I have taken throughout both my degrees.  But this is the first time I have used the technique as a blog post.  And I rather like it.

I think I will try to keep up with “Five Minute Fridays” — it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone.

Have you ever tried freewriting?  What do you think of when you see the word BRAVE?

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(credit goes to Lauren @ The Thinking Closet for inspiring me through her own “Five Minute Friday” post today!)

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Mastered!

So you remember that dissertation that was kicking my butt a few months back? Well it turns out it was I who did the butt kicking! Yes, I was delighted to learn a couple of weeks ago that  I earned an “A” on the most important thing I have written to date. The piece was a work of non-fiction which provided a glimpse into the tumultuous time in my life when my newborn son fought valiently for his life and the gamut of emotions during that period. And now, he is 7 years old, an absolute joy, with a cluster of special needs ranging from hemiplegia (a form of cerebral palsy), speech delay, learning delay, and the odd seizure — but he is still here, still my shining star. He defied all the odds and provided the inspiration for me to master this Masters!

As you can imagine, a whole lot of tears and sleepless nights went into this degree and receiving such a great grade certainly made the journey worth it. Two days ago, the university officially awarded me my Master of Arts in Creative and Cultural Industries. I am beyond proud!

Next up, graduation on 18th September — what fun to wear that cap and gown one more time!

And no, I won’t stop here. There is indeed a Ph.D. on the horizon….  🙂

11 Things That Grind My Gears

I might not LOOK like I have three kids but I sure FEEL like I do!

1.  People who say to me, “You don’t look like you have THREE kids?!”  Really? Well what should a woman with three kids look like then? Enlighten me. I guess I’m supposed to look haggard or like I’ve gotten too friendly with my pals, Ben & Jerry? Here’s a recent example:

Standing in line at the checkout in the supermarket yesterday. Newborn baby in pram at the opposite checkout starts wailing inconsolably. I shake my head sympathetically and say “Oh I remember those days” to which the checkout lady practically shrieks “You’ve had a baby?!” I smile sweetly and say “I’ve had three…” and was immediately met by the audible gasps of not only the checkout lady but every customer within earshot. Right. Took my groceries and got the hell out.

The youngest mother on record was 5 years old. Keep that in mind.

2.  People who say, “You don’t look old enough to have kids!”  Seriously now? So, what, I can’t even pass for 15 nowadays?  Clearly someone has never watched Teen Mom.

So sorry the education system failed you...

3.  People who can’t spell. Oh. My. God. Now I’m no grammar Nazi and I am undoubtedly guilty of forgetting to spell check once or twice but for crying out loud! Facebook status updates are the bane of my existence! The thing that gets me riled up the most is the misspelling of simple words. “Themselfs” is a real winner.

"Oh hey girl! It's been sooo long!" (Not long enough)

 4.  When you are in town (or other random public place) and you see someone you know who you haven’t seen in a while and you don’t know how to react so you pretend that you didn’t see them because you aren’t sure if they saw you and if they did see you and are ignoring you, you don’t want to look the fool by going up to them and saying hi just in case they really didn’t see you or are actually trying to avoid you. So you walk away pretending not to see them and are left wondering if they did see you but were pretending not to and probably now think you are a bitch for not saying anything at all. Yeah. Happens to me ALL the time.

345... repeat after me. 345...

5.  People who say this:

“What part of America are you from?”

“The part called the Cayman Islands.”

“Oh um, ok, it’s just that your accent sounds so… so…”

“American? No it don’t, you na been payin’ attention awa?”

Because high voltage electricity is really bad for your health. And life.

6.  The one idiot who always insists on making a mad dash for the tube/train just as the doors are closing and either gets some appendage trapped or makes the doors reopen, thereby delaying my journey. You could fall onto the rails, genius. And then you’d be dead and the train will still leave your ass.  Just so you know.

First world problems...

7.  When my favourite food/snack/toiletry runs out at the store the one time I actually manage to make it there after weeks of daydreaming about it. Why??????? Didn’t they know I was coming?!

Get 'em Blade! Muhahaha

 8.  People who freak out over movie spoilers (you know who you are)… I mean is it really the end of the world if you find out that Edward and Bella’s little tot eventually turns out to be… **********… ooops. Ah yes, well nevermind.

And I was so sure green was my colour.

9.  People who ask me, “Is that your real hair?” No. I went out and bought this frizz-fest in a shop. On purpose.

That's what I say.

10.  People who say “Are you going to have any more kids?” or “You’re done now, right?” Well that’s between me and my uterus, thankyouverymuch.

If only it really worked.

11.  Sticky labels that don’t come off. Ever. You know the ones – you pick, peel, and scratch your fingernails to stubs just trying to get a piece off but can only manage to tear out one unsightly section so you go get the baby oil/washing liquid/WD-40 and douse and rub until the paper and glue become one big gooey mess only to wipe it off and find that it is still completely sticky underneath! Sigh.

So tell me: what are YOUR pet peeves?

Oh, for all my friends who find that they have said any of the above comments to me (or are terrible spellers), it’s cool. I still love you.  This is only directed toward ignorant strangers. And as for not being American – my hubby is American, my sisters are American, my kids are American by association, I spent one year of Kindergarten and two years of college in America. I freakin’ love America. I’m just not from there. That is all.