Take heart

I keep an eye on various tags related to cancer and there are always new ones popping up on the feed. Other young (ish.  Heavy on the Ish) people like me, mothers and fathers of small children, still reeling from the shock of their diagnosis.   Just starting to navigate the way their life has changed in such a short space of time.  I don’t know if any of them will find my blog or even be in the mood to read past the blathering about how much fun! we are having and how happy! we are.  But I hope maybe at least a few might stumble across it. I mean my writing isn’t great. They may well regret it.  And I DO talk quite a lot about nothing.  My life really isn’t especially interesting to anyone except me. But I was there. In that place.  Not very long ago at all. And it was royally shit. And now I am here. And life is good.  I don’t assume anything about the future but I look forward with optimism and the knowledge that we can get through whatever life has in store. Even when it feels like we can’t, we do.

I read a lot of people feeling angry about being called brave during this time. I think I actually wrote a rant about this at some point. But now, on the other side, and looking back, I do feel I was brave. I am proud of myself for getting through that.  Whether it was stoic and optimistic or weeping and wailing and complaining the whole way is irrelevant. Whether you beat it or it keeps coming back is irrelevant.  Showing courage is being brave. And what is showing courage?  The ability to do something that frightens you. Being brave.  No one chooses this fight, no one wants it. But we fight it as best we can. Sometimes better and with more grace than other times. But we keep going, one foot in front of the other, picking ourselves up after each scan, each test and needlestick, blood samples, MRIs, the indignity of paper knickers and gaping gowns, intimate procedures, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, changes to our body, skin, hair, mood.  It’s the one thing we all win on! You don’t even have to do it happily  to qualify!  You can scream and shout and be furious at the world and suffer the treatments gracelessly and with no humour whatsoever.  You are still facing it, the SCARIEST SHIT EVER.  And you might not feel brave now but I hope one day you can also look back and celebrate your strength in the face of adversity.

That was all I wanted to say, really. I have no idea if this even pops up on anyone else’s feed but if anyone stumbles across it and it serves to buoy them up during this really hideous time, well that’d be great.

 

Countdown

While the Web and blogosphere fills up with back to school themes here in Spain we have another 2 weeks to go.  The summer holidays here are SO LONG, the kids break up around 20th of June and go back 12th September.  Almost 3 months. 3 MONTHS! It is such a long time.  This year has been a really good one. Partly because I have had less work than usual ergo less stress but also because after last year I have taken extra care to relish every moment and I have.  I have struggled too, sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the demands of work, the kids, the house, and how everything continues on despite this massive thing that happened and which continues to roll over quietly in the back of my mind.  I don’t dwell too consciously on whether my cancer might come back but I can’t fully forget about it either.  H and I were talking the other day about the kids, speculating about them as teenagers and that scary little voice wondered if I would be here to see it.  I don’t talk about it to anyone, not even H, because I know they would just tell me not to think like that, be positive etc etc and I don’t need to hear that. I am positive and I don’t think like that. Often. But it’s there. And I can’t entirely ignore it. I don’t know that I should.  I have never been more aware that we only have today. Only today to live, to love, to make memories, no one is promised anything else.  And holding on to that has helped me to revel a bit more in the little moments.

Not that it is all sweetness and light and perfect idyllic family life. Ha! The kids are cranky and bored and despite a great summer full of fun activities they are tired.  They are craving the routine of school with the predictable days and weeks that tick over one the same as the other.  God, aren’t we all?  They are getting nippy with each other and little scraps are forever springing up.  Y particularly is just tired.  He can’t stop having fun and it’s getting too much for him.  But. Then we have moments like yesterday afternoon when I got home from work and took them to the beach with a friend.  Where the light was long and golden and the water was wavy and perfect for crashing about in inflatable donuts and boats.  The water was so warm and we played for ages.  As I watched their happy faces, grins from ear to ear, as they bobbed about on the surf, laughing their heads off, I tried so hard to mentally capture the moment. Thinking ‘keep this moment, hold it’. So many little moments we forget only to, MAYBE, remember one day when someone else prompts us, or otherwise lose them forever.  Being out in the waves, jumping alongside I couldn’t take a photo but it was like one of those golden memories in Inside Out.  The image of their faces beaming inside a golden orb rolling down to core memories, lighting up family island.  Of course like many a  real family day (vs a pinterest family day) it was followed by tantrums and fights and overtired tears (Y I am looking at you) But it seems to be to be the standard price we have to pay, and on balance it’s worth it.

Summer you have seriously been a beauty. We have splashed and dived and rolled in sand. Made sandcastles, floated on donuts, played football and frisbie on the sand. Had parties until late, laid outside until 1am to watch shooting stars, complaining and giggling and fighting under blankets on the sand. Visited family and friends and had them visit us, gone to new places.  Gone out in boats, canal and sea, jumped on trampolines, jumped off rocks, climbed trees, hit up the Waterpark and kissed and cuddled and shouted and fought and made up, cried and laughed and loved loved LOVED it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, July, you were a cracker..

I had every intention of regularly updating this blog through the summer, chronicling these long hot days and planning things to keep the boredom away but so far the summer is flying past and I have barely had time to pop on and keep up with blogs I follow, much less post anything of substance.  Work is not incredibly busy but I am full time until the end of October so busy or not I am in the office, putting in the time.  H also works a lot in the summer and when he has a job on he is out from dawn until after the kids go to bed.  We all notice his absence hugely, I am sure I have mentioned this more than once but he really does keep everything going, always.  The three of us alone, we cope for about 5 days and then after that it all slowly starts crumbling.  I find it so hard to keep up with the house and the kids and work on my own and it really stresses me out.  Seeing as more than ever this year one of our main aims is to keep life as stress free as possible he is trying to keep the jobs short but it is not always possible – when you are freelance and working in a seasonal industry you need to grab the work while it is going.  Having said all that, we are having a blast.  I think we are.  The kids are at home when H has no work on but they have had a couple of weeks of summer school (more like day camp than school).  Loads of their friends go, they play games, swim and seem to have a load of fun at the time BUT although they went last year and had a blast this year they have been more reluctant.  Maybe  because it was a bit old hat, maybe it just wasn’t as fun, but they moaned and moaned each morning as if we were sending them off to a 9-5 job rather than splash and play fun.  Actually I think at least partly they have just been really tired and like any sane person were not really feeling like happy clappy jumpy excitement at 0900 in the morning.  I feel you kids, I feel you.  BUT life is real. We need to work, you need to go to childcare, your life could be a million times worse.  I know more than a few kids who spend their summer being looked after in stuffy apartments by elderly grandparents.  In contrast kids, is it really so bad? IS IT?Let’s reflect, and consider:

*quick note:  The fact that it has taken me several hours just to download, rotate, rename and edit the photos from the last month or so should give an idea of how much we have been up to.  And that I evidently take FAR too many photos, obviously.

There was a lot going on in July.  Apart from various excursions around our home island and outings with friends we had several trips away.  One of my sisters lives in Singapore; luckily she gets work trips back at least once a year and we went to visit them the Christmas before last so we haven’t gone too long without seeing each other but when she lived in London we saw each other every few months and I never, EVER, stop missing her. So with 2 weekends free between her work obligations I made a very un-‘me’  decision to go to London to see her, just the two of us, for a couple of nights.

 

Yeah, ok, the pics are fairly unremarkable.  In my defense I was far too busy walking and chatting and hanging out to take too many pictures.  And I already have more pictures of London than anyone really needs.  But you get the idea. I was there.  It’s London, you know what it looks like.  No cute snaps of photogenic kids this time so, moving on…

The following weekend I went back with the kids to see my parents, also in the UK, and to catch my sister again on her last weekend before she went home.  The timing of my sister’s trip landed quite fabulously on my mum’s 60something birthday so we organised it so she could have all 3 of her girls, and 2 of her grandkids, with her to celebrate.  It was so special; the last time we were all together was 2014, so although it was a little extravagant to have 2 trips to London 2 weekends in a row, I TOTALLY justified it to myself.  And anyone who would listen long enough.   Repeatedly.

We got back from the visit to my parents a day or two before one of my very best friends arrived with her family to stay with us for the week.  The weekend after they left was H’s 40th birthday which we celebrated with family and friends on the beach until late.  It was absolutely perfect, he didn’t stop smiling all night..

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and then – I sprang a surprise holiday on H and the boys – we left for the north of spain the wednesday after the party.  He was very surprised, as were the kids.  I was more than a little proud of myself for sorting it all AND sitting on the secret for weeks and weeks.  For years we have talked about travelling around our home country more but usually all of our holiday time and budget is taken up visiting family and friends in the UK.  Yet there is so much we want to see and we really, more than ever, want to start making little spaces in time for the four of us to get out and explore together, just us.  Summer is brutally hot here and a perfect time to visit the much cooler, greener north.  Last year we celebrated 10 years of marriage and we always thought we would do something special to celebrate.  As it turned out I had to do chemo and radiotherapy instead.  Them’s the breaks.  But now I am fine! and H was turning 40! The stars were aligned.  It was absolutely fabulous and worth it a million times over.  I think this will deserve its own post.. watch this space.

And in the little moments in between all the other madness:

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sudsy
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water play for the kids.  our village is amazing.
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foam party..
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hair cuts!

I feel knackered just thinking we did all of that! It has been such a busy month but so full of family and friends and laughter and joy and love.  We spent a lot of money doing it all, not particularly money we have to spare.  Usually I am very sensible and cautious and all those other adjectives that can also be translated as BORING but which help us to stay on the straight and narrow and (mortgage aside) largely debt free.   It can be stressful juggling our accounts especially with the very unpredictable nature of H’s work and the total lack of work for at least 3 months of the year.  So I don’t spend money on big things very lightly.  But one of the things my experience of the last year (tl;dr: cancer) has taught me.. (and YES personally I feel it has taught me a shitload; not a universally popular opinion but it is mine and is genuinely how I feel) is the impermanence of things.  Not like I didn’t know it before.  But now that concept is really REAL to me.   I am hyper aware of the uncertainty of tomorrow.  Maybe that fades over time, but in a way I kind of hope not.  Because I truly think it is a blessing to actually really feel like all we have is the here and now.  Of course I plan and hope and dream for a long future.  But I want to live NOW.  The old me probably would have decided to do only one of those trips to the UK.  But my sister lives so far away, I see her so little, in the scheme of things what is a few hundred quid to spend a weekend alone together?   My parents won’t be here forever, what cost is it really to let them have all three of their daughters together for a day or two?  I don’t think we can remotely understand how nice it is for my parents to have us three all in the same place.  Even being a parent I can only imagine the silence and emptiness when my kids eventually leave home and the joy to see them when they return.  And even then it is only something I can imagine in relation to my own kids, I find it hard to actually connect that with how my parents feel about me.  But they do.  My mum cries for days after we leave, and this birthday, as it turned out, she needed the lift more than ever because our darling sweet cat, Sonny, died, only a few days before we arrived.  He was originally our cat but for various reasons totally irrelevant to this story he moved in with them about 2.5 years ago.  And they loved and adored that cat like a little prodigal son.  It was, is, really sad.  And I am so so glad we were there to scatter his ashes and hug her tight.

So now we are in August and the summer is halfway through.  In another 5 weeks the kids are back at school.  I am not sure we have ever had a summer go so fast.  So far it is everything I hoped for.  At some point there will probably be a post about this dammed heat and how hideous it is and how LONG the summer is and WHEN WILL IT END WILL THESE KIDS EVER GO BACK TO SCHOOL?! But for now I am flying high on the bliss that was July.  It truly rocked.

to sign off,a harpist’s song from 1400bc that I saw when we were in the British Museum in London. So apt.

“Follow your heart as long as you live!

Put myrrh on your head.

Dress in fine linen,

Anoint yourself with oils fit for a god,

Heap up your joys,

Let your heart not sink!

Follow your heart and your happiness,

Do your things on earth as your heart commands!

When there comes to you that day of mourning,

the weary hearted (Osiris) hearts not their mourning.

Wailing saves no man from the pit!

Make holiday, Do not weary of it!

And finally.  To my darling Sonny.  You were an absolute legend and a total weirdo.  We all adored you and you will have a place in our heart forever, you should have grown very much older, we all feel cheated that you went so soon.

(no he didn’t die from being massively overweight, he slimmed down rather a lot after his ‘troubled time’ – ssh lets not talk of it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kodak Moments

As long as I can remember I have loved photos.   Leafing through photo albums, touching the pictures, lingering over the memories.  As soon as you could start playing that game “what would you save in a fire” I have thought; my photos.  There was nothing else as important to me (I am talking THINGS, of course my family and any pets, and maybe my stuffed panda came first) – my photos ARE my memories.  Growing up as a Third Culture Kid  I couldn’t rely on walking the streets of my childhood to prompt memories of friendships, parties, houses.  My childhood lay amongst those pages, a neat chronography of relationships and hairstyles.   Therein lay my roots, who I was, where I came from.

Better even than the albums, however, was The Photo Trunk.  This belonged to my mother and this is important because the fact that the trunk existed and that it was my mother’s are inextricably linked.   In this trunk were all the photos that hadn’t made the cut into the albums, duplicates, or photos that hadn’t yet been sorted.  Just loose photos, all mixed up in a jumble.  You could shove your hand in and bring out a handful and could find pictures spanning decades.  It was a treasure trove and never failed to prompt questions that prompted stories and memories.  As I got older and older and moved away and grew up the trunk became a bit of a joke at my mum’s expense, a constant reminder of an ongoing project she could never quite get around to tackling.  And who could blame her? It was a massive undertaking.

It took quite a few years for me to realise that I had my own photo trunk.  Only mine was virtual.  Not a solid hunk of metal sat in the corner for the kids to crawl around on and poke inside, mine was this hovering cloud of doom, threatening to grow and swell fat with faces from the past until one day it might burst raining memories around me like so many raindrops.   Maybe you are super organised and edit and sort your photos as you go but I bet most of you aren’t.  I definitely wasn’t.  I can go a week without taking too many photos and then take 100 in a day.   My photos went from phone and camera  onto a hard drive, never editing or sorting as I went and this quickly lead to folders of 2000 or more photos EVERY YEAR.  And don’t even start me on accidental duplicates on back up hard drives from old computers.    I had organised myself enough to have baby books from each boy’s first year (ok, one, one baby book, my older sister gifted me the first one) but I started to realise we had all these photos yet we never looked at them the way I used to love looking through my  childhood albums.  It became really important to me to get the rest sorted so we could enjoy all the photos of the memories we had, and those we didn’t.  So I started.  Year by year.  Rotating, deleting, renaming, ordering and finally weeding out the ones that would make the cut.  A very long, slow, process of whittling thousands of photos down to, ideally, 800 or less per year.  And still.  800 photos! In a year! So many memories!  And from these, the 100-200 that would finally make it into an album.  It took forever.

When I got sick last year I was still a few years behind.  And almost immediately I got those years caught up; the panic of dying and leaving a virtual trunk for my kids a horror that spurred me on to Get It Done.  How would they remember their childhood if I left all these loose photos lying around?!  I know their father would absolutely never even attempt to make head nor tails of them.  Was I going to leave a photo trunk legacy of my own?!

So now I have a neat row of slim albums of the professionally printed kind starting with the year of my oldest’s birth right up to date.  No, they don’t really compare to the thick heavy tomes my parents had, with the photos you could slip out and hold close, all faded and a million tones of 70s brown.  But it isn’t a bad alternative, and my kids now also have their childhood neatly printed and presented for them to leaf through and remember.  And they do, and they love it, just as I did, it is really one of the best things I could have taken time to do.  I have a few of those shadowy pre-kid years still needing to be tackled.  But the lesser resolution of the early digital cameras and lack of delectably photogenic munchkins makes it a much less enticing task.

Recently I visited my parents and dragged the old trunk out.  It is still there, little changed, though my mum would argue she has made a lot of progress.  She still plans to sort them all, scan them, print them out.  I said I would help and took a selection to work on.  One of my sisters did the same.   It was just as fun as it always was to go through them all, though now there are hardly any I have never seen before, it is still something of a thrill to see my parents so young, so happy and full of life, hear their stories behind the pictures.   A while ago I was talking to O, I think, and he asked something about my parents, from when they were young, before kids.  And I wrote to them asking them to tell me about how they met.  Although I had probably heard it a thousand times I realised that I didn’t really know details.  My Dad sent a vague reply, my Mum said nothing and as the weeks went past I thought that was that.  And then the other day an email landed, with a long document attached, with blurb and pictures talking all about that first year or so when they met, before they got married and started a family.  It meant the world to me.

God knows family relationships can be tough.  There is just SO MUCH of everything.  Memories, emotions, love, anger, resentment, joy, what you did and what they said and why did you, why DIDN’T you? But you look through photos, in a trunk, on a pc, in a book and all of it comes rushing in.  The years and years, the houses, the friends, the pets, the toys, the holidays, the meals out, the days out, all of it gone gone gone.  But not us.  Never us.  Like a stop motion movie with the 5 central characters holding still as the world flashes and changes around them.  The million versions of you that came before the you you are now. The one that held your parents on a pedestal so high it was impossible for them not to fall, the one that looked up sulkily through your fringe, fighting to pull away from them and become your own person.  But in the middle, at the core, it is always them and always you. Always.  That is what the photos mean to me and it is what I hope my kids see when in years to come they look at our photos, even if they don’t realise it until they themselves have kids and get to see through that strange new lens it gives you on life and your parents.  They are seeing us and them.  The 4 of us. Together.  Through places and times and humdrum and adventures.  Concrete proof of this time when we were all together, that we were.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherein I swear A LOT

Back in June last year, after months of visits to the doctor, the emergency room, lost weight,  increasing fatigue and lethargy and the prospect of an undefined number of months on a waiting list for a state funded test, we took control of the issue and paid for a private colonoscopy.  It wasn’t so expensive as these things go, 1000€, but it isn’t an amount of money we just have lying around either, so once my cancer was found I put in a claim to the state to refund the cost.  I never actually thought they would refund the money, I am sure they have lawyers making sure they don’t do anything that could in the slightest way be construed as accepting liability but the way I  see it, I am not suing them for distress or pain or whatever but that is a test they should have paid for and even though they totally let me down they could at least foot the bill.  I actually saved them money and it makes me fucking crazy. 

Fast forward 8 months and I finally get a reply. The gist being ‘it was your choice to go private, you were not in urgent ie life-threatening need so you should have waited’.  

Lets recap. 

Feb 2015 complain of blood in stool and various other IBS (or colon cancer) symptoms. ‘Don’t forget my aunt died of colon cancer in her 50s’

Blah blah repeat visits to doc and ER etc etc fatigue, weight loss until we get to

June 2015 diagnosis stage III colorectal cancer (result of private colonoscopy/biopsy) 

Blah blah chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, ileostomy and Then THEN

February 2016 ONE YEAR after my doctor filed a request for a colonoscopy ‘priority: NORMAL’ because there is allegedly NO ‘URGENT’ category for colonoscopies (!) while I was receiving my first post surgery dose of chemo, I was called to be offered, not an appointment for a colonoscopy but an appointment with a digestive specialist. 

Is it me? IS IT ME? what part of 7 CM stage III COLORECTAL CANCER (with nodes affected) is not urgent?  What would it have been if I had left it another 8,9,10 months?  What if I couldn’t have paid for the test? What about all the other people that can’t?  How fucking dare they? Tell me it was okay that I had to pay for it myself and not even have the grace to refund me my money but on top of it all tell me my situation wasn’t urgent?!

I am so mad. 

I am SO MAD. 

I don’t care about the fucking money. If they had said we are legally bound to only meet x percent of costs or pay 50€ or whatever it would have been better than telling me what happened to me wasn’t important. Because that is what it feels like. 

I can appeal.  My initial reaction is to keep annoying them,  be a little thorn in their side, so I will ask my doctors to write letters detailing my case. But I know it doesn’t matter. I know they can’t say it was more urgent. I wasn’t dying at that moment. Yet. I was. I was dying.  If it hadn’t been found I might have died. But that doesn’t count. 

On the one I want to highlight the issue, fight for myself and others who can’t fight for themselves or need help even before they know they need it. Like so many of the warrior campaigners on here and in the wider blogosphere. Shout on facebook, contact newspapers. Tell  them people are dying because doctors can’t request urgent testing. 

And the other part just wants it to all go away. I don’t want to fight. I want to live my life. My real life. My nothing to do with cancer life. I don’t want to be consumes with sadness and anger and bitterness which is what I feel when I read letters that tell me what happened wasn’t life threatening. Cos my life felt pretty fucking threatened when I barely had the energy to move from sofa to bed to sofa to bed. When I couldn’t pick up my 5 year old. When I couldn’t handle being around the energetic afterschool chatter of my kids. When I could only drink water lukewarm or my face twitched and spasmed in the cold because of the side effects of the chemo.  

I feel like I should shout and scream and point at them and tell everyone I can but I also don’t. It makes me feel impotent, weak, unimportant. Like what I went through didn’t matter. But it mattered to me, to those I love and who love me. It mattered a LOT. 

 Summer holidays are go!

Finally! The summer holidays are underway. The endless ‘fin de curso’ (end of term) meals and parties and presents and celebrations finally done. They seem to last all of June and makes it one of the most expensive months of the year.  I could have just started the month by standing outside the school with my wallet open, full of notes, and told everyone to help themselves amd the effect would have been the same.  Every day there was something to pay for: a present for this teacher and that coach, last minute birthday parties being squeezed in before everyone scatters, meals with this group and that, tickets to a ‘concert’ where my youngest and his friends showed off the tumbles they had learnt. Okay that was quite cute but I am still sceptical that a formal show in the village theatre was really necessary and suspect our payments for a 15 minute demo of manic dancing and tumbling to insane techno music mainly served to reduce the cost for the overwhelming majority of older kids who had a 1.5 hour show after us. Call me cynical.  I prefer bitter. 

We also got pressed into paying for a ‘meal’  in the park afterward.  Allegedly hamburgers. In reality pathetic looking little patties on a plain bun. What? No lettuce or tomato? Ha! Not.  even. cheese.  Parents are  walking targets.  Anything related to our children and we just shell it out.  God I am so bitter. Am I tight? I really don’t think so. You sell me a service ie a kids gym group. I pay for said service.  I pay. I use. It is a business transaction. Why do I have to buy you a present for selling me the service I used? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.   I pay. Don’t worry, I pay and for form teachers happily and willing. But for the rest I have yet to be convinced. I  want to resist, stand up for my principals, but I find especially here it is very hard to go against the grain. People don’t as a rule complain about this kind of thing. If it is done you do it.  When the burger plan was underway I suggested to our friends that we bail and book the nearby pizza place instead. You would have thought I was suggesting an actual military coup rather than suggesting an alternative friday night plan.  My husband actually told them to ignore me in this really apologetic tone.  Yes, he is still alive. I am used to it. It only grates the tiniest bit. In the darkest most bitter part of my heart haha. Well they were all eating their words as they stared at the sad excuse for a meal they had been conned into (I ate beforehand,rebellious interloper that I am, in full anticipation of the shit show it turned out to be) and HELL YEAH I was absolutely smug about it. 

Rant over. I feel better. Moving on. 

We celebrated the first day of the holidays with a quick trip to  a beautiful rocky beach about an hour away.  I love rocky beaches. Sand is my mortal enemy and with rocks everything just feels cleaner.  Yes, less comfortable, but as I am not much of a sun worshiper I can take the tradeoff.  We haven’t been to many since having the boys, I would rather deal with sand than wobbly toddlers climbing rocks but this year feels like the year we can finally explore more far flung beaches where they can clamber and explore rock pools and find crabs and overcome nerves to jump off rocks into the sea. So that is what we did.   And it was perfectly perfect.  

I have been easing myself into work slowly. In all honesty I could work full time, full on, if I had to. But I don’t have to. Work is unseasonably quiet and by about 2pm I find myself at a bit of a loss. As I work a 5 minute bike ride from home I have been going home for lunch and, more often than not, staying the rest of the afternoon, working from there as and when needed. And its been really nice.  To just enjoy these early summer days before august comes and brings with it too much heat and general apathy that sees the kids lying in sweaty piles on the living room floor moaning no more swimming.  The other day it rained and we were all relieved for the excuse to just hang out at home and do very little.  

I am finding it hard to find the time to post regularly. In amongst the moaning and glorious summer fun. Which is annoying because the main point of this exercise is to share bits of me and our life for our future selves. Or for my kids if my future self is, in the future, a past self. Ifyouknowhwatimean and i think you do. Wink.  Yet the main reason I don’t have time is because I am with my kids.  The irony of sacrificing actual time with my actual children in order to lose myself trying to convey some fake-idyllic version of my life with my perfect family is not lost on me. Hence I do not blog when with my kids. And when I am not working I am always with my kids. Except yoga! (More on that later) and friends! And LIFE!  But really. With the lighter nights and fun packed days the kids are in bed around 2130/2200 which leaves me about an hour lying motionless on the sofa unable to engage in anything that isn’t me. On a sofa. Watching the telly.  This post has been sat in drafts for days and days. I have had to change ‘this week’ to ‘last week’ to ‘recently…’ Until I can’t take it anymore. I am sat in the dark with you both asleep beside me and dammit if I won’t get this finished tonight!

So. Kids. Lights of my life, dearest souls, givers and receivers of the greatest love there is. I hope to record here snippets of our life. Parts of me. But know that they can only ever be the tiniest glimpses. We are having so much fun. I can’t record it all. I am not a natural diarist but it is happening and we are living it every day. You will just have to believe me. Our days are full of the good the bad and the ugly; kisses and hugs, shouts and tantrums, I love yous and tongues sticking out and you don’t love me and I SO SO DO. Mummy you are the best.  Mum you suck (I am. I do).  Swimming pool and football and frisbee on the beach. Hold my shoulders I will swim out a bit further. Stand on my shoulders and I will be your springboard.  Late nights with friends, late nights with cousins. 

Its not all here, not even the half of it, but I can tell you real life is full on and I love it all, every second. And so do you. You are loved, adored, happy. We all are. 

Food, glorious food

I do not know how food bloggers do it. Its not like I want to be one, I mean it just isn’t the main aim of this blog, but I do like recording some of the meals I particularly like and want to revisit.  The problem is that I am usually several bites in before I realise I have not taken any photos of either the process OR the end result.  Not that I would have had time had I remembered.  Usually food prep is a noisy and busy affair. I am not alone in a pristine white washed studio apartment with dappled sunlight streaming through the windows. Ok sometimes the sun is kinda pretty in the late afternoon. But the comparison ends there. Our kitchen is small by many people’s standards.  And I am usually fending children off with elbows and knees as I slice and dice (the veggies) screaming NO YOU CAN’T HAVE A YOGHURT DINNER IS ALMOST READY and WHY WOULD I LET YOU GO TO THE SHOP FOR A SODA WHEN HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THESE QUESTIONS? for the umpteenth time. Added to which I am just a regular person with regular mix and match kitchen stuff, we seem to be incapable of holding onto matching sets in this house. Its practically a trademark at this point.  We buy 6 identical plates and in no time we are down to 4 so then they get mixed up with the others and glasses. Oh my god glasses. 

Years and years ago when we were two young lovebirds in a lovenest we played a game of Mr and Mrs with some friends. For those who don’t know its that game where you play in couples and you both have to answer the same without conferring.  By the way if there are cracks in your relationship DON’T play this game. Trust me.  One of the questions was how many glasses do you have in your house.  We both said 9. NINE.  How did we know there were nine? Because we knew there were two small ones like this and a white glass like that and three of the fat tumblers.. Our friends were kind of appalled. In a nice way but still. So you get the idea. Things have not changed much in the intervening years. Kitchenware rates high as eye candy for me but when it comes to how I need to allocate the spending it simply doesn’t get a look-in. 

Woah to the detour. The point I was trying to make was that making dinner JUST doesn’t feel like a photo op kinda moment. And photos seem important.   Its like proof  that I know what I am doing. Which, lets be clear, I don’t. My cooking skills are middling at best. I like cooking and I can follow a recipe but I am not much of an improviser and I can tend to get into food ruts. Which is why I want to record the odd meal, so I can once in a while look back and go ‘oh yeeeaaaa we loved that, lets do it’. It may also inspire me to liven it up a bit around here. Though I know very little about it I am guessing its not the done thing to just post the same spag bol recipe once a week? Right? So I need pics. Why do we need pics? I don’t know but  I have to admit if someone says they cooked an amazing meal I am all ‘pic or it didn’t happen’. I mean on here. Not in real life. That would be more than weird. In real life I go mmmm and oooh and wow that sounds amazing send me the recipe. On the web you have to PROVE it.  I am not sure why but There it is.   I don’t make the rules.  Example:

This evening I made my favourite lentil salad. It is hands down THE best lentil salad ever. In fact it is actually called that. I got it from a blog and now I will have to go and find which one so credit can be given where credit is due. You can woo people with this salad. It is a total assault on the senses.  It has onion and lentils and about 10 spices and you can add rucula and feta and it is THE. BEST. 

Without the pic you are like. Yeah, great, that sounds nice for you. With a couple of pics you are like Oooh okaayyy maybe I will give it a whirl. And it breaks up the waffle lets call a spoon a spoon.  

So. New challenge. Photograph my food. At least sometimes. And with no more than one bite already eaten. I will try.