12 Nov 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Baby, Husband, Mother, Squidge, Wee
I tend to avoid confessional style blog posts. I love the idea that I could be making people laugh and I also would rather tell deeply personal stuff to people face to face. This is about to change. I need to document what I am currently going through (god, that sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?) for my own posterity if nothing else.
For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling nauseous. So much so that one night, out with Squidge (a girl’s night treat as The Husband was away), I was gripped with such a wave of nausea that I could barely breathe. Now, this all was good news. Why? Because we have been trying to create Squidge Mark 2 for the past 11 months and I thought, “OMG, result!” When I was knocked up with Squidge I was ill all the time so this was potentially fabulous news.
The pregnancy test I had lurking at home was negative and I’d been experiencing kidney pains for a while so I figured it was time to go to the doctor. This is where it gets a tad tedious. Instead of my having a problem that can be described “above the belt” so to speak, I have to talk about pee. Oh, how my glamorous life continues.
There was peeing into jars (for which you now have to pay 30p) and testing and sending the samples off to the laboratory. Unexplained blood, could be an infection, don’t worry we will let you know. I totter home in tears. I know I can be a drama queen, but to go into a doctor hoping for pregnancy and walking out without anything but a possible infection is shit. And I hate the whole wishy washy, “Oh I don’t know what it is but the tests will show it“, attitude of doctor’s in the UK.
There, I’ve said it. It is a massive bone of contention between The Husband and I because I have absolutely no trust in this medical system at all. Not after my hellish experiences in pregnancy and labour and nearly losing my child because the doctors ignored me. But they are other stories for another time.
I didn’t go home with a feeling of knowing that it was likely an infection and that I was going to be alright. Instead I went home feeling like something was wrong but nobody knew what it was and, honestly, very worried that nobody would actually find it unless I pushed. This was Thursday afternoon.
The doc had said that the tests would be in on Monday so I needed to make an appointment to see them again after they came in. I did. I saw another doc but this man inspired confidence. He spoke straight, he gave me answers and he respected my nerves. The outcome?
The next bottle of pee revealed more blood. If the tests came back negative for infection then there was the possibility of malignancy and I needed to go to a specialist to test for the big C. I left the surgery in tatters. You see, I haven’t been feeling great for over a year and have ached and pained my way through 2011 thinking it was all part of getting old. Now a voice said, what if… What if? What if? What if?
It’s this voice that has accompanied me through the nights since Tuesday. The voice that started screaming on Wednesday morning when the doctor called to tell me that they were referring me to the specialist and to wait for the appointment in the mail.
The doctor did say that it was likely to be nothing, that the chances of me having cancer were slim but he also said that my history of smoking did put me in the danger area. Boy, have I been castigating myself for being incapable of losing that ridiculous habit. Bloody things.
So here I am. I have not yet had the appointment in the post nor have I found out the results of the first test. The doctor said they would call me if the result was positive so, theoretically, since I didn’t get a call it means the test did not show infection so it is likely that there is something else going on here. Terrifying much?
I vacillate between thinking that this is fine, I’ll be fine, and that at least I don’t smoke anymore, and thinking that I have failed in my life, have left no mark and that my daughter will grow up without her mother. Like I did. How do you stay positive in the face of What If? I don’t know. But I am going to find out…
26 Aug 2011
in Fascinating Things, Slightly Insane Tags: 40 Hour Famine, Charity, Fascinating, Starve for Charity
I know that it looks like I am a “start a charity page” addict but, to be fair, I am only as good as my last fundraising attempt and this year has been a little too self-absorbed for my liking.
While I was in the shower an idea came to me. As they do. Ideas always seem to appear when you are either half asleep at 2am and have woken up figuring out the answer to World Peace but forget to write it down and can’t remember it in the morning, when you are on the loo and too embarrassed to scream out, “HOONEEEY GIVE ME A PAPER AND A PEN IMMEDIATELY!!”, or when you are in the shower.
This time I remembered it because I thought, as you do, that it was a stroke of genius. I am going to starve myself for 40 hours, allowing no food to pass my lips from 01 September until 8pm on 02 September and raise money to help people struggling in the grip of a famine in Africa. For 40 hours I’ll get to experience what they have for MONTHS.
What the people of Somalia are experiencing at the moment is beyond horrific. Women are being raped as the try to cross over the border, their children are forced to watch, fathers bury their children as they die from hunger. It is like the scene out of a horror movie and yet, this is happening right this minute.
If you are about to eat a sandwich or drink a cup of tea, pause for a minute and know that what you are holding in your hand is like an unobtainable dream for some of these people.
So, here I am, hat in hand, asking you to take five minutes out of your day to donate to my fundraising event. You honestly don’t need to donate a lot. 10p? SURE! £5? Awesome! Anything you can spare, anything, will make all the difference in the world.
Please help me to make a difference on 01 September.
02 Aug 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Fascinating, iPhone 4, Turning 40
You think I’m being funny. I SWEAR the bugger is haunted.
I got my brand shiny new iPhone 4 along with a brand new shiny
term of slavery contract with Orange. I was rather pleased. My poor old HTC Hero had failed to inspire me with its clunky interface and personal issues, although he was one tough bastard that was stood on, kicked and dropped and still worked just fine.
The iPhone came with me to London. It got me around London to a series of awesome Christmas in July events that I plan to write about soon, and it works a dream. I like it. I am ashamed to admit this because I have been a die-hard Apple hater for decades. Oh well, I have also been a shallow git for decades…
Anyway, the first time I noticed something wasn’t quite right was the morning after. Feeling ashamed and used (and that’s just because I own an iPhone) I rolled over to check the time and the iPhone wasn’t there! I looked everywhere.
It was under the bed.
Then I placed it reverently back on the night stand and went back to sleep.
The iPhone wasn’t there. It was now between the night stand and the wall. ON THE OTHER SIDE.
Yes, I too had goosebumps. Don’t worry. It’s normal when reading a story of such obvious spine chilling terror.
Then I attached it to its power cable on my desk, went to get coffee and came back. It was GONE. This time it was under my diary. How? HOW?
And so it goes on.
The iPhone 4 that was sent to me by Orange is haunted.
SO, to avoid being eaten alive by an angry iPhone 4, I have purchased this:
Click on the image to get the full specs and to see the video. How AWESOME is this dude?
Have you been terrified into silence by your iPhone? Has a gadget got you by the goodies? Let me know! Perhaps I can save you, let’s tell the world the truth – THEY ARE ALIVE!
21 Jul 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Fascinating, Turning 40
Yeah…It has been AGES since my last
confession post. A lot has happened in the past few weeks (I turned 40 and hated it for a bit) and I’ve been struggling to keep up with it all. Lots of thoughts, lots of happenings and lots of notes in my diary. So, if you are still reading this blog and wondering what the hell happened, there is LOTS to come.
But first, a moment to pause and reflect. On what? Well, on how if you are not grown up by the time you hit 40 it is unlikely to happen, ever…
The weirdest statue ever...In Amsterdam.
20 Jun 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Slightly Insane Tags: Blog, Child, Husband, Squidge
I feel sorry for my husband. I really, really do. I mean, let’s face it, he is married to someone who would (in the old days) have been labelled as mentally unstable and put into a huggy jacket for all eternity. Nowadays I am merely considered “quirky” and he is forced to endure great pain. Like when I nearly killed him on Father’s Day…
Let’s start at the beginning of this truly insane weekend.
On Saturday, after a lovely morning of pootling through Brighton and purchasing all manner of delightful objects for Father’s Day, Squidge and I returned home to fetch The Husband. Then the four of us trundled off to her school to view their Art Day which was, essentially, the kids’ artwork in frames on boards.
We loved her pic. The Husband grinched about the fact that we have to pay £6.50 for a framed pic in yet another fund raising activity and muttering about writing a blank cheque and being a bank. I was all misty-eyed about the awesomeness of a painting done by my little genius, all framed and ready to go.
Then on the way home, on a narrow sidewalk, a woman hit my child with her mobility scooter. There was this sickening “crunch” and then that cry that no mother EVER wants to hear.
I felt her hand ripped from mine and everything seemed to go in slow motion.
It was like I was turning in syrup. My child lay on the pavement, arm outstretched, face almost under the wheel of the scooter. I screamed, “Oh my god!” The world ground to a horrible halt.
I cannot tell you how hideous that moment was. I ran to her, checked her out. Made her move arms and legs. And down the side of her beautiful face was a raw scrape where the wheels had ripped her skin off. Other than that my lovely brave child was alright.
The Husband and I were NOT.
I was so shaken I kept walking with Squidge, I wanted to get to a wider part of the pavement so I could put her down and look at her more closely without being bumped into by people. The Husband was torn between me and the woman. We both knew we couldn’t say anything more than the horror on our faces. She kept saying sorry.
I knew I couldn’t beat up a woman in a mobility scooter. But BOY was I angry. I had already been irked by her aggressive driving, practically forcing me to jump out her way. Now I was fuming. But I kept walking. I didn’t want to upset The Husband and Squidge any more than they already were.
We went to a local coffee shop as Squidge said she wanted a hot chocolate and we were both happy to oblige. Then we talked about what had happened and The Husband shared his bombshell.
He said that those machines are really heavy and that if it had been an inch to the left it could have crushed her skull. It sounds dramatic but he is not prone to fits of fancy. He was right.
The strength left my legs. Really. When that realisation kicked in I could barely breathe.
Two days later and we are both still very disturbed by it all. Something so simple could have been a tragedy.
Should mobility scooters be allowed on the pavements? I am inclined to say no, now.
In spite of our drama we forged ahead for a fabulous Father’s Day. He got breakfast in bed, lots of pressies. We went to the fair and did some random wandering around and looking at vintage cars and laughing at donkeys in the Donkey Derby and nibbling on fudge.
We also saw this at one of the stands.
No, I don’t get it either. A prize to the human who can connect the naked man in a thong with his legs chopped off to a Lion’s fundraising day and stuffed toy animals.
It was an ace day until, after eating the dinner I got for him, he fell over ill and has not been able to move much since. Awesome. I poisoned The Husband on Father’s Day.
What kind of a woman am I????
01 Jun 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Slightly Insane Tags: Dog, Poo, Rant
I went for a run this evening. The scene was magical. The sun was setting and the sky was streaked with the glorious shades of amber, pink and yellow. The beach was empty and the sea crashed joyously to my left. I was transported, I was a running machine on a natural high.
I was attacked by the stench of dog crap.
I have already formed a deep and abiding hatred of those cretins who seem to lack the singular inability to carry a small plastic bag to pick up their pooch’s poop. How hard can it be? Seriously? I mean, it’s not as if the bag weighs very much. I’ve seen 90-year olds with them.
As my run morphed disturbingly into an angry stomp, I started counting the little red dog shit bins. They are liberally scattered along the beach, the roads, the by-ways and pathways. In fact, for every three doggy doo doo bins there was maybe one normal bin. So it’s not as if the humans who fail to pick up the crap are unable to do so due to horror of carrying the poo for thousands on unhygienic miles. IS IT?
So the only conclusion I have come to is that they are proud. “Look,” they are saying, “Look at my beautiful baby’s steaming turd. Look! It is almost identical to the ones you get in a joke shop.”
They beam with pride. Surely such a masterpiece is too good to scoop?
As my child has now returned home twice with doggy poo on her brand new school shoes I am starting to get more than a little annoyed. There is a spot where I’ve seen the furtive buggers going with their dogs. A spot that is turning (especially now in the warmer weather) into a fertile crop-growing landscape thanks to the abundance of poo fighting for space. You can almost see the old white ones elbowing the fresh ones out of the way and muttering about respect for their elders.
I am seriously tempted to take a day off work and lurk behind the wall, leaping out and crying AHA! whenever somebody’s dog leaves a crap and they leave without paying attention. Although am afraid of being beaten up by pit bull owners, if I am honest.
06 May 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Blog, Rant
This rant has been building up for quite some time. It may get me stalked, stabbed, glared at, and possibly tarred and feathered, but I can’t hold it in any more. Don’t read on if you are easily offended.
You see, I am a journalist. A freelance journalist. I do this for a living. I have been doing it for around 18 years now and I still don’t think that I am a “proper” journalist. I can investigate, analyse, report, study, and understand a subject, and write about it in the correct way for the correct market. But have I been to Afghanistan and seen the suffering and reported on it in such a way as to change people’s lives? No.
I do, however, have a grasp of the fundamental essentials of writing. You know, things like grammar, punctuation, tenses. I may not be perfect (there are probably a ton of errors in this post alone) but at least I can recognise them and correct them, when I see them.
When I see badly written twitter descriptions that claim that the human who penned those hideously mangled words is a “freelance writer” or a “journalist”, I want to find them and spend some time explaining why they are neither of those things. With a sharp pen.
You are NOT a journalist if you write a blog. Sorry. Unless the site is a news site, or one of your blogs as you DO journalism, or a hyperlocal, or a place where you are honing your skills after training (important point that, training…)
You are not a freelance writer if you write a blog either. You are a person writing an online diary. Many people who write blogs have phenomenal writing skills and should be freelance writers, many don’t and shouldn’t. The problem I have with all this is that bad grammar, poor spelling, shocking tenses – these are all things that make potential employers think twice about hiring anyone who claims to be a freelance writer.
Those of us who know our libel law from our criminal law, who know what journalism ethics are and what to avoid, who spend hours every day poring over the news and revising our skills, we get tarred with that brush. We have our rates pulled down to below minimum wage because our craft is being devalued.
You wouldn’t claim to be an electrician because you printed it on a business card. You wouldn’t claim to be a lawyer because you read a book about it once. Words may be everywhere and abundant, but unless you know how to use them, like any tool, you are not an expert, you are not a journalist, and you are not a freelance writer.
23 Apr 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Squidge, Turning 40
As I approach 40 with what can only be described as kicking, screaming, sulking and complaining (aka reverting to toddlerhood) I am also discovering that I am, um, quite odd.
Two days ago, as I was walking home with Squidge, I smelled something utterly awesome coming from the flat next door to ours. Their dinner smelled downright please can I have some, YUMMY. This was when I first realised that I may suffer from Eatealousy.
Obviously I am also DEEPLY scientific (snort) to have come up with so genius as name as this.
Eatealousy: To smell someone else’s food and crave it more than you do your own, to the point of possibly being arrested for stalking or harrassment. Caution: May result in divorce.
Eatealousy also presents itself in restaurants when you realise that you want to eat the food that your partner ordered more than you do your own. Sadly, as this condition has not yet been acknowledged by the medical community as the crippling ailment it truly is, your partner (or neighbour) may not take kindly to your stabbing your fork into their food along with lip smacking noises and drool.
14 Apr 2011
in Fascinating Things, Slightly Insane Tags: Tattoo, Turning 40
So, as you know, I invested in a midlife crisis tattoo. It’s not quite as flashy as an expensive car but I am absolutely and completely in love with it. She is beautiful. I did Phase 2 over two days – Monday and Tuesday – in two x two hour sessions and the first was a real eye opener!
You see, I have been told that the outline is, by far, the most painful part of the tattoo. That this colouring in part would be much easier to bear. I was very pleased with this news (and if I find the bastards who LIED to me…) as I found the outline just a little on the agonising side, especially towards the end (and, strangely enough, on my left shoulder).
I bounced into the tattoo parlour and said a cheery good afternoon to Sadistic Steve (our nickname for the Man With The Needle) and plonked meself down on the table. What followed was a two hour jaunt down a corridor of agony. Sadistic Steve wasn’t colouring in, he was shading. Shading means he takes a flat needle that looks like a miniaturised spatula and “flicks” the ink into my skin.
He also does the needling over the same skin three times – once for the dark shading, once for the next lighter shade of black, and then, finally, the lightest shade of black (the almost grey) – and thank the heavens above the final time is hardly noticeable in the floods of pain.
I hadn’t taken any painkillers. I was an idiot.
The next day I started taking paracetamol at regular intervals and popped two ibuprofen before I lay down. Much better. There were actually moments when I couldn’t feel a thing. Still, the end result is just gorgeous. She looks magnificent and we still have Phase 3 to go.
Originally I was going to colour her in with red, gold and a tickle of blue, but after Sadistic Steve saw the finished shading result we all agreed that actually we could risk ruining her with colour. Colour can change a tat from gorgeous to ghastly and you never know until it is done. And you can’t undo it.
After much pondering and pontificating I have decided to make her entirely black, white and shades of grey. Although I may still ask for the fins along her neck to be blue, they are very small and it may add something to the look. It has been ages since I last updated on this because my back was a raw mess for the first week after Phase 2 and then it got a bit, well, gross.
Now, however, she is free of yuk and looks gorgeous. I cannot WAIT until she is finished.
24 Mar 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Daleks
I just got sent this by my Person. I am still howling with laughter.