Saturday, April 30, 2011

Versatile? Moi? Why, Thank You Beau-coops.

Annette over at hoofprints in my garden has given me a blogger award. Thanks Annette!

I think I’m supposed to share 7 things about myself, then pass this award on.

So here goes.

1. I have a potty mouth. I thought having a kid would curtail it, but if anything, it’s only made it worse. My only consolation is that my nearly 3 year old at least only swears in context.

2. I still find farts funny.

3. I am not mad about Shakespeare. (Go ahead, shoot me.)

4. I am a constantly-lapsing, confused vegetarian who loves fried tofu but is drawn to fried pork rinds.

5. I believe that drinking (non-herbal) tea after 5pm disrupts my sleep.

6. I am rather fond of ranting.

7. I love the smell of my kid’s toes. Even when they’ve been in sweaty socks all day.

Now I’m gonna pass this award onto:

Lickety Split Cleaning Service


Tales of A Very Ordinary Madness

Tree Shadow Moon

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On The Proper Use of Rodent Eyeballs

Today, my fiction project notebooks were sealed into an envelope and posted to the US of A. I finally finished. I thought I’d feel really excited about sending them off. I thought I’d feel something. But guess what? The earth did not move (not any more than usual anyway) and I thought – huh. All that hard work and it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference. Like all I was doing today was collecting my giro. Except, it's the 21st Century, I'm not a pensioner and I hardly ever hang out at the post office anymore. That was the only extraordinary thing about it - sending solid objects in the mail.

Maybe it was the lack of feeling where I thought there would be some, but for the rest of the day, I pretty much over-reacted to everything else.

Some teenagers congregated in the playground where Jake & I were and sat around smoking pot. They weren’t bothering anybody, weren’t even being loud or obnoxious or throwing rubbish about. But I overreacted. I felt uncomfortable and took Jake out of there as quickly as I could.

Then I got a text from the place where I take yoga classes telling me they are putting up the prices. I misunderstood everything and really overreacted. I sent an angry email to them, then a completely self-important email to my yoga teacher about how I'd rather take private lessons with her twice a month than pay the increased fees every week.  All this over a £1 per class increase.  Seriously.

And then, because I was bored and wanted to escape, and kept trying to escape instead of just being where I was, when I was, everything Jake did irritated and annoyed me.

It makes it all the more bizarre that the whole country / world seems to be overreacting big time to some wedding that’s happening tomorrow, while I could not give a gerbil’s infected eyeball. Well, maybe I could. I mean, if I was legally forced to give a crap about it, the way I would show my obligated appreciation would be to carefully wrap a gerbil’s infected eyeball in some tissue paper and send it to the happy couple. Of course I’d make sure the gerbil was dead first. By natural causes, due to his infection! Come on. I’m not that sick.

Actually, there was one person who seemed to have the right idea about tomorrow. The guy in the post office queue in front of me:

Guy: Can I have it for tomorrow please, from 6am.
Lady behind counter: Tomorrow?  Really?
Guy nods.
I wonder - poor guy, does he have to work?  What is it?  Congestion charge payment or something?  Are they letting traffic into Central London tomorrow?
Lady behind counter: But you're supposed to be celebrating tomorrow, not going fishing!
Guy shrugs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I wish

I wish I wasn’t such a control freak. I wish that I wasn’t so easily wound up. I wish I was fitter. I wish I hadn’t regained my bacon belly after breastfeeding Jake made such good use of my extra blubber. I wish I hadn’t bought so many frumpy dull clothes when I was still earning my own money. I wish I didn’t have pillow-neck issues. I wish I didn’t look in the mirror and feel stricken about looking more like my mother every day. I wish my mother had been happier to be a mother. I wish she hadn’t lost both her parents when she was so young. I wish our kitchen window wasn’t so hard to open. I wish I was more into fruit. I wish we didn’t have a carpet in our bathroom. I wish we had our old garden rather than the long, thin, spider-trap that we have now. I wish my family lived nearby, or at least in the same country as me. I wish we were getting ready to move in with dear friends in a house in the beautiful Italian countryside. I wish doing something like that was even a realistic option. I wish I could pluck pockets of time out of thin air so I could give more of it to everybody. I wish I could write like my friend Jo. I wish I could be the sort of woman who can crochet exquisite baby booties and blankets and anything out of stunning organic wool and bake effortlessly for a family of four and be able to cope with having more than one child and still have enough time for myself without feeling like a permanent grouch. I wish the bit between my shoulder blades would stop aching all the bloody time. I wish I had better impulse control when it comes to buying shoes. I wish nursery hadn’t pressured me to start potty training Jake this month and I wish I’d found somewhere that didn’t have a problem with him not being potty trained by the time he’s three. I wish I didn’t hate talking on the phone. I wish I didn’t feel so guilty about everything. I wish we had a modern toilet with a flush I didn't have to pull. I wish veggie bacon tasted as good as the real thing. I wish I could do a full bridge pose. I wish, I wish, I wish.

But what’s the point? Like my yoga teacher says, wishing we could do more with our bodies doesn’t make it happen. We have to work with what we’ve got. It’s not just zen Buddhist philosophy, it’s a FACT. I am who I am. Life is what it is. It doesn’t mean I won’t ever change or it won’t ever change, but dwelling in the wishing is like weighing my pockets down with stones, walking into the sea and wondering why I’m sinking. Being aware of this doesn’t always make it easier to let go. But if I don’t, then how will I ever float?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nearly there

So I managed to write all 24 stories and copy them into my notebook.  Now I just need to do the drawings (about a dozen), and I'm all done with the Fiction Project. 

I'll start posting the stories here (one a week) in May.

And if anyone is interested, the arthouse co-op has just opened The Sketchbook Project 2012 for sign-ups.  ANYONE can take part, wherever you are in the world, no matter how old you are.  (I've heard of schools signing up and having children fill in a few pages each for example.)  You have until 31st October 2011 to sign up and until 31st January next year to complete.  PLUS, for this project, the sketchbooks are going on a World Tour (rather than just a US tour), which will include London!!  I wasn't gonna sign up for this, but now that I know the tour's coming to London - how can I not??

Sunday, April 17, 2011


It's a beautiful day.  The sun is out.  I did yoga this morning while listening to the Gayatri Mantra.  I heard about this mantra from my yoga teacher.  We don't chant it in class, but she wrote about it on her blog

Ever since I first heard monks chanting at a Buddhist funeral in Thailand, I've been in love with chants.  It's been a secret, shy sort of love.  I've felt all sorts of emotions about chanting - from awe to a deep sense of peace and joy to worrying that I'll look or sound silly if I follow suit to wondering if it's too close to that dangerous edge of euphoria-seeking singing that I did when I was a born again Christian, many many moons ago (the answer to the latter is, I think, that it can be - it all depends on what you cling to).  So I've never really chanted much.  Sometimes at the beginning and/or end of yoga classes, sometimes by myself at home, sometimes while listening to cds.  The most I chanted was when I was heavily pregnant with Jake and I was battling with my own fears, an unsupportive midwife and the stony face of the hospital when I decided to have a home birth.  In those last few weeks, I listened to chants of Om Mani Padme Hum constantly.  I love that that chant is sung.  That particular chant is said to invoke a Buddha of Compassion and it made me feel calm and helped me to believe that everything was going to be okay.  Sounds cheesy, but it helped.

Last night I did indeed watch Eat Pray Love.  It wasn't quite as cheesy as I was expecting it to be.  In fact as a film adaptation, I think they did the best they could with it.  It was already two hours long and yet felt like they'd condensed far too much for my liking, making a lot of difficult issues seem too simplistically resolved.  All that aside, the middle part of the film, when she goes to India, reminded me of my love of chants and this morning I did a random search for chants on youtube. 

I came across the Gayatri Mantra and reread what Hayley wrote about it on her blog.  I love the idea that it came out of a situation that began with a tortured moment.  That enlightenment can come even when you are trying to bash your head in with a rock.

Then I listened.  It's really beautiful.  I've been listening and teaching it to myself, and singing it all morning.  Even when I stop, I can still hear it going on in my heart.  And yes, it has been giving me a deep sense of peace and joy.  (And made me realise that peace and joy go together, or that joy seems to arise naturally out of peace).  Anyway, I just wanted to share it because even if you don't believe or believe in something else or are cynical about all things spiritual, there is something beautiful about singing a song with all your heart.  For a start, it's a wonderful way to Be.  And why not a song to invoke enlightenment that is thousands of years old.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What to do when you have 48 hours to spare...

Paul and Jake are away for the weekend.  Jake's visiting his "grandma and dad with white hair on" (as opposed to the grandma and dad he only sees through the computer). 

It's the first time I've had two whole days and nights to myself in...well, forever.  Some people have been asking me what I'm gonna do. 

So! What are your plans? 
What, all weekend?
Um, yeah.  Sort of.
Aren't you gonna go out?
I have been out.  The garden IS out.

Ok, so my social skills might be in decline.  Big fat hairy balls.  If it makes you feel better, I will not be spending any much time on Facebook.  And, I really did spend 40 minutes sitting in the garden today.  Just sitting and being in the sun. It was bliss. I had my eyes closed for most of the time, just listening. I find it's easier to listen-observe than look-observe without thoughts and words interfering, without the need to identify and name. 

I've also factored in some time with Maggie O' Farrell, a chick flick (possibly Eat, Pray, Love - despite the fact that it is bound to be "cheese on toast" as my yoga teacher so wonderfully put it), and Pistachio kulfi.  No one needs to know that Maggie is a book.  Don't ask, don't tell.  Oh, and there are also some (dancing) prawns waiting for me, right this minute. Yes, dancing. And they're Mexican. Ok?

Sooooo....What am I writing?  How nice of you to ask.

Well....remember the Fiction Project I mentioned a few months back?  (The arthouse co-op website is being remodeled at the moment, so I don't have a link for you.)  It's the one where I had ooodles of time to fill a themed notebook (with words AND pictures!) then post it to New York by May 1st?  I don't know if I happened to mention that I signed up to complete two notebooks, but that is indeed what I have done. 

I've finished one (Nighttime Stories) and had just about decided that there was no way I was going to finish the second one (Jackets, Blankets and Sheets) on time, since I didn't even have any ideas on how to fill it.  Then I had the stroke (of inspiration).  I know, I thought, I'll write 26 24 micro stories (250ish words, maybe more), each beginning with a specific letter, each written to a random prompt and each mentioning a jacket, blanket or sheet.  Fandabydosy right?  YEAH!!!! 

Well, I've written 8 stories so far.  Not all today I might add.  Today I've managed two.  TWO!!!!  Did I mention the deadline is May 1st?  Except, that's a Sunday so really it's April 31st though the post offices are only opened for half a day on Saturday, so really, it's April 28th to be on the safe side, since there's some big shebang happening on the 29th and the post offices will inconveniently be shut.  Uh huh....better get to it then!*

In the meantime, I leave you with my cover for Nighttime Stories.

*If I somehow manage to write them all, I will post them on my blog - one a week for 24 weeks.  There you go, something to look forward to ;-)

Friday, April 15, 2011

No one told me mothers aren't omnipotent

In the last 24 hours...

Jake has learned a lot about my limitations as a mother. In the playground yesterday, he wanted to go home with strangers.

An unusually friendly and cheerful woman had come up to us and said hello to Jake, trying to get her son to make friends. We chatted a bit then her boys took her off to another bit of the playground. Even though Jake was his usual shy self when meeting new people, as soon as she left, he asked where she’d gone and then demanded that I bring her back.

“Mummy, want go bring lady here to talk to Jake! Mummy, go DO IT NOW!!!”

What do you say to something like that?

“Mummy can’t ask complete strangers to do whatever you want” was clearly the wrong answer because it was followed by this:

“Yes you CAAAAANNNNNNN!” and then eventually….

“MUMMY! DON’T make me grumpy!!” complete with wagging index finger.

Since Mummy was clearly incompetent, Jake decided to follow the woman and her boys to another part of the playground, but wasn’t quite brave enough to go up to them. I managed to distract him and we played happily for a whole half hour.

Then, as they were leaving, he piped up, “Oh no! They’re going!!” They overheard and waved at us, saying goodbyes and nice to meet you’s. Jake started getting really upset, saying, “No!!!! I want go wiv them!!!” and then when he realised that wasn't going to happen, he kept on waving over and over, waiting for the lady to notice and wave back. She didn’t.


This morning, we were woken by the door buzzer. I ran downstairs to answer it just at the moment that Jake woke up, screaming that he wanted to come too. I asked him to stay put, but he wasn’t having it. He ran down the stairs after me screaming, arriving just as the Parcel Force van was pulling away and I was shutting the front door. He grabbed the door handle, opened the door and literally screamed in RAGE because the van was pulling away. God knows what the neighbours thought I was doing to him.

After the feral scream came this:

“Make man come back Mummy!!!! I want man come back NOW!!!!”

When that wasn’t forthcoming, he grabbed the parcel out of my hands and put it outside, on the front door step, demanding that it stay OUTSIDE.

I didn’t know what to do so I left him to it, hoping he would calm down. He did, following me into the kitchen with the parcel, after having shut the front door. But then as soon as he saw me, he started wailing about the parcel being HIS and how it was his birthday and the parcel was his present. He continued to cry even though I wasn’t even trying to take the parcel away or tell him otherwise.

We then had an hour where he made constant demands and said no to everything I said, even when I was agreeing with him, interspersed with him telling me to do such and such NOW! even when I was right in the middle of doing said thing.

So, perhaps it wasn’t surprising that soon after this, we had a role reversal and I had a meltdown over the computer doing something weird. He watched me for about 5 minutes while I tried to figure out what had happened and how to fix it. Then he said, “Mummy, do you need a cuddle?” which was just what I needed and we had a lovely cuddle together and then I resumed trying to fix the computer and it didn’t work and I got annoyed and he said, “Mummy, do you need a cuddle again?!?!”

Since then, we’ve both had numerous grumpy shouty tantrums (one of which was a tussle over the mouse during a cbeebies computer game where Big had to try and brush Small’s teeth with foaming hot pink toothpaste and another was about a hole in my cardigan) followed by numerous apologies (offered on both sides) and cuddles. At one point, I retreated to the kitchen to eat chocolate. Then brought some out to Jake, to which he replied, “Oh! Chocate for Jake! Thank you.” A moment of calm before the storms resumed.

During one of my tantrums, I happened to shout jism. Shortly after that, Jake said, “Mummy do you want to eat jism?” whereupon I dissolved into hysterical laughter. I’m pretty sure that hysteria is where I’ll be resting comfortably for the rest of the day.

(Incase you’re wondering where my mindfulness was in all of this, I have two answers for you: 1) JISM, 2) Hysterical laughter)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Being & non-doing

It's harder to be than I thought it was.  That's what I'm finding.  I try not to judge, try not to react by lashing out at myself.  Try instead to just bring my attention back to the moment, or to my breath.  Stringing together moments of mindfulness.  It may be obvious, but trying to be mindful doesn't mean you suddenly become a different person - whole, holy, no longer flawed, no longer human.  It doesn't mean you cease to be you, or that you have to try desperately to be someone else.  And yet, what I notice is that I have this expectation that I must be different, better.  Even though mindfulness is about being who you are right now, accepting that.  But that's always been part of me, feeling like I must be better.  That whoever I am is not enough.  Taking up mindfulness practice brings this acutely to my attention.  And kindly gives me an alternative to hating what I see. 

I've stopped keeping my praise lists.  Not because I've stopped being grateful or stopped trying, but because the focus on my making the list was getting in the way of the reason why I was doing it in the first place.  It became one more thing I had to do, and so I stopped.  I am trying to focus on feeling whatever I feel, and seeing if praise naturally comes out of that instead. 

This is a struggle.  I wonder if I am failing somehow, not being able to keep to a practice that is good for me.  But I need to let go of shoulds.  And know that I'm not going to fall apart if I don't keep such a tight grip on all those things I'm supposed to be doing.  And sitting and being with whatever comes.

I haven't stopped writing stones, but I am deliberately not sharing them all because the process of writing the stone, crafting it, polishing it and then sharing it was getting in the way of my moments of stopping and looking.  If I know that I'm not writing stones to be seen, to be commented upon, then the process of stopping and looking will once again be the important focus, and not how the stone might be received.  But if I happen to want to share one, then I will.  Like this one...

Watching cherry blossoms fall, I step quietly over my wounds.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The weather's getting warmer, spring is here, summer's on its way.  On Friday, Jake and I spent four hours out on the marshes.  So, I'm feeling like I need to spend more time just being, and being with my little guy, and more time outside.  So there's going to be less blogging.  Of course, it's probably gonna pour with rain tomorrow, but two entries every day was probably a bit much anyway. 

Saturday, April 09, 2011

8th April ~ stones

apple trees abandoned of blossom
branches left with exposed stamens
bunches of bursting stars


the slender reflection of a coot
as it stretches its neck
towards the ripple
of Jake's pebble

8th April ~ praise for

New blooms everywhere ~

The multitude of daisies covering the grassy banks of the nature reserve ~

The cormorants we saw all day – flying here and there, perched on their nests, and the one we saw up close – taking a swim and sunning itself ~

The reddish flutter of a butterfly I later learned was a Comma ~

The presence of grass snakes on the marsh (I saw one swimming in a ditch) They are rare now and are considered a vulnerable species ~

This time, this age – when it is perfect joy to collect pebbles to throw into water from a bridge, to hear and see the splash ~

The lovely time Jake & I had at the café near Springfield Park, having the most delicious wholemeal tuna baguette, sharing a Calippo and chips and just being together ~

The friendly Indonesian lady from the next table who came over to say hello and have a chat (even though Jake refused to look at her or speak to her) ~

The tiny pink boat someone had made out of a used carton and some card that was floating down the canal ~

The grey heron in the water under the railway bridge (which flew off just before I could get my camera in position) ~

Thursday, April 07, 2011

7th April ~ a stone / poem

stuffing snow foam down Jake’s top
I catch the scent of a free sample
I’d sprayed earlier, on my wrist
It conjures up a row of steel grey
matriarchs, sitting in pews
in florid horrors and paper skin
made superior by Elizabeth Arden

it makes me feel how far I am from that
rolling around on the floor
letting my toddler get a fistful of bra
for snow foam revenge
but every time I sniff
there they are again

faint now
but still hanging around

I feel a rant coming on...

Remember when I started all this gratitude/praise business and I said I knew there would be days when I wasn’t going to be feeling very grateful? Well here I am.  Today, I'm not feeling very grateful. Today I’d really rather rant about all the crappy things that got to me, especially about the stupid meltdown tantrums Jake and I had because we were both tired and because I personally, even though it is only April and I’ve been longing for warm weather all winter and it’s finally here and it's been sunny and beautiful and not even 20 frickin’ degrees, found the heat a bit too much today. So, I’m feeling just a little pathetic. How the hell am I gonna cope with summer when I can’t even deal with spring??

And as to writing stones, sure I have a nice one, a pretty poetic one, but the moment where I felt most painfully awake today was when I was trying to lie down and Jake was screaming his head off because he didn’t want me to. Just before, he’d been in a tizzy where one minute he wanted to go out and the next he didn’t. One minute he screamed at me to close the front door and then he screamed at me when I did. I told him if he didn’t stop screaming, I would go upstairs. He didn't stop.  I could feel myself getting worked up and needed to leave the room, so I went upstairs and tried to lie down and he followed me, wailing. When he found me on the bed with my glasses off, he came in and tried to make me put my glasses back on and I was holding his arms and trying to stop him because he kept jabbing them into my eyes and then, when he saw that I’d closed my eyes, I could feel his fingers on my eyeballs, trying to prise open my lids. And then he screamed at me to sit up, and went and sat where I’d been lying and pushed his feet against my back and kicked me and every time I turned around, he shouted and pushed at my back or my face to turn back again, shouting at me to not look at him. Then he threw my glasses at my back and some sharp bit jabbed me and I turned around and slapped him on his leg and he cried even louder and said, “Don’t hit me, don’t hit Jake!” and I felt like such a complete shit because it’s the one thing I’ve never done, have vowed never to do and there I was, being a complete hypocrite.

I’ve been reading a lot about mindfulness and meditation practices in Buddhism and in that moment, I could hear a voice saying, “Try to be mindful about whatever you’re feeling” and I could hear myself arguing back, “I don’t want to be mindful, I want to punish myself because that’s what I deserve.” “How will that help?” was the answer I got. I didn’t have a response to that. So Jake and I sat in silence and then I apologised to him and as always, whenever I say sorry to him for shouting, sorry to him for being mean, he holds out his arms and asks for a cuddle. I’d like to tell you that was the end of it, but neither one of us had had the nap we needed, so more grumpiness and shouting ensued, and then later, the smearing of yoghurt on my face and a fracas involving a roaring dinosaur head with snapping teeth. But no more hitting.

So now that I’ve ranted, do I try squeezing something to praise about, out of my day? Yes, the voice says. And make it 15 squeezes rather than your usual 10.

It has been positive you know, taking the time each day to sit and think about what I have received, what I have. It’s made life feel richer, and has made me happier – not dwelling so much on negatives. That’s not to say that I don’t ever feel anything bad anymore (obviously) – that would be ridiculous, but lately, I haven’t felt overshadowed by those feelings, they’ve been given perspective and for that well, I’ve been very grateful. I am grateful. So, here are the things I’ve appreciated / praised / feel happy for today…

A blossoming rosemary bush ~

Scrambled eggs with baby plum tomatoes and feta cheese ~

The fact that they sell gourmet jelly beans in Holland & Barrett ~

The sight of Jake laughing when I went to pick him up at nursery, even though he wasn’t with his key worker (whom he adores) but someone new, doing their placement ~

Getting to share Jake’s Calippo with him (eating what he left while pushing him on the swings) ~

The sunshine – even if it made me feel pathetic when I went out in it ~

Horse chestnut blossoms ~

Jake always forgiving me when I say sorry and having a cuddle ~

Jake singing, “I’ve got the choi choi choi choi down in my fart, down in my fart, down in my fart…” (original version is joy, heart) ~

The lovely man in the Londis who always gives Jake presents – today there was the snapping dinosaur head, and instead of his usual quiet shyness, Jake had a little chat with him about it. (I feel the need to point out that it is the man behind the counter, who keeps freebies aside for the little kids who come in with their parents, not just some random bloke hanging around giving presents to children on the sly) ~

Longer days (last night, I looked out the window at 7:38pm and it wasn’t dark yet!) ~

My sun hat ~

Getting ideas for stories while riding the red elephant in the playground ~

John Siddique’s poem Born Here ~

After the afternoon we’ve had, and after writing all the above, rolling around on the floor with Jake, being a crocodile eating him up, stuffing snow foam down each other’s tops, loud, unabashed belly laughter ~

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

6th April ~ stone

still this feeling, on such a beautiful day, that there’s something I should be doing, though I can’t think what – make another list, write it out, write through it? Still that need to contain, control.  Just stop.  Lie on the floor in corpse pose, breathe.      Oh look at that - silver birch against blue sky. There are new leaves swaying in the wind. It is spring. Finally it is spring. Oh, it is here. Oh.  Is this my stone for today?  It feels like it, something tearing straight out of me.

Why do we/I try to do so much? When so much arises from doing less, from paring down, from being still in the fear of emptiness, the pain of it. So much arises. So much springs up, blooms. Despite ourselves. We don’t disappear, we don’t shatter. Every year, softness breaks through dark wood, each tiny petal – a whole season.

6th April - Praise for ~

A beautiful, warm day ~

Jake back at nursery calmly, though quietly ~

Cotton wool clouds in the sky ~

Bulging fat red tulips ~

Time to use as I wish! ~

A small tree full of thin branches popping with tiny white blooms (not apple blossoms, but tiny tiny flowers) ~

The impending possibility of red sandals and impractical but pretty summer dresses ~

Holby City on catch up ~

Looking for a poem to match the colour of the day, and finding one about war instead, because life’s like that ~

Sharon Olds’ poem, Free Shoes ~

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

5th April ~ a furry stone and some conversations

I go upstairs and find the long-legged bunny rabbit wearing Jake's baby sandals, the soft ones with the tractors on them. Rabbit's fur is sticking out the top of the shoes.

Paul: What were those apples you wanted?
Me: Pink Lady.
Paul: I prefer cox myself.
Me: That’s the first I’ve heard of it.
Paul: What?
Me: It’s the first I’ve heard of it, that you prefer cox.
Paul: Yup, English cox.
Jake: What did you say Daddy?


Paul: Oh look Jake, it’s raining outside.
Jake: Oh, yes.
Paul: That means we’ll have to go out later.
Jake: Do you want to jump in muddy puddles Daddy?


Paul: I’m going out soon Jake, remember?
Jake: No, Daddy don’t want go out.
Paul: But I do, I’m going to watch football with my friend.
Jake: I want come wiv you.
Paul: I don’t think you’d like it Jake, you’d have to sit still for two hours in the cold. And then, you’d have to sit for another two hours in the pub.
Jake: (Nodding) I want to do that now.

5th April ~ Praise for

Paul taking the day off so I could have some time for myself (Thanks Paul) ~

Jake doing the soggy juice dance (singing the soggy juice song which goes like this: soggy juice, soggy juice, soggy soggy juice while jigging head, elbows, hips and shoulders) ~

Jake taking his doll pram upstairs to the “train museum” with Daddy ~

Nostalgia trips courtesy of Nik Kershaw’s Wouldn’t It Be Good (thanks Na!) and Howard Jones’ Like To Get To Know You Well ~

“what is looooooooooove anyway, does anybody love anybody anyway, whoa, whoaaaaaaa, woah oooooooooh….” ~

Ah, you tube. ~

The joy of following your gut while editing a story (and hoping your gut is right) ~

The expressiveness of Jake’s eyebrows ~

Completing my 8th flash on Show Me Your Lits – whether said flash is pants or not ~

My friend the till monkey, for putting me onto Show Me Your Lits and Duotrope's Digest – without which I wouldn’t be flashing every week, submitting work or had my recent pieces published ~

Monday, April 04, 2011

4th April ~ small stone / poem

Thai lukthung music takes me to a dark
air-conditioned restaurant
the taste of fried beef

the sound of Thai awakens
the dormant shapes
my mouth once knew
how to make

the almost familiar patterns
my body yearned
to know
unfurl from my spine
and snake through my hips
as I close my eyes
and dance

not the Thai way
but the only way
I know

4th April ~ Praise for

Jake mumbling in his sleep, “Mummy I need a cuddle”~

The 30 minutes I took to do yoga (and the cuddles Jake gave me during it) ~

“The Journey” by Mary Oliver (I’m reading a poem a day as part of National Poetry Month) ~

Making Jake smile ~

Greek salad & prawns for lunch ~

Mr Bloom’s Nursery (filed under things that shouldn’t work but do) ~

Music from The Sound of Siam cd ~

Teaching Jake to say Sawadee Krup (a Thai greeting) and him being able to say it after a few attempts come out as D-cup! ~

Finding snippets of time throughout the day to edit a short short while Jake kept himself entertained ~

Each breath ~

Sunday, April 03, 2011

"The great work of awareness..."

"Nisargadatta: By being with watching yourself in daily life with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than to judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, because it is there, you encourage the deep to come to the surface and enrich your life and consciousness with its captive energies.  This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind.  Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence."  - Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That

(As quoted in Jon Kabat-Zinn's Wherever You Go, There You Are)

3 April - small stones

through the playground
the smell of grilled
and new rubber


Jake climbs up and flies
down the slide
one hand holding
an invisible teacup

3 April ~ Praise for

A Sunday morning lie-in ~

The pleasure of Jake’s company ~

The little girl in the playground that Jake took a shine to ~

Positive, supportive comments about my story ~

An ice cream cone wrapped in gold paper without labels ~

Jake holding a clementine to his chest and saying, “Boobies!!” ~

The film “The Malta Story” which I accidentally caught this morning ~

My shallot and aubergine omelette turning out nicely ~

The heart shaped sticker containing a smiley pig that Jake just stuck to my shirt ~

This paragraph from Sharon Salzberg’s book Faith ~ Trusting your own deepest experience:

“As we open to what is actually happening in any given moment, whatever it is or might be, rather than running away from it, we become increasingly aware of our lives as one small part of a vast fabric made of an evanescent, fleeting, shimmering pattern of turnings. Letting go of the futile battle to control, we can find ourselves rewoven into the pattern of wholeness, into the immensity of life, always happening, always here, whether we’re aware of it or not.” ~

The Mother's Day card Jake drew for me - with lovely misshapen balloons drawn round the border ~

Saturday, April 02, 2011

2 April ~ Praise

Jake waking up happy ~

Jake standing on the pavement with his sunglasses on upside down, waving goodbye to me, not wanting to stop till I walked away from the window ~

discovering that my short story recently published in State of Imagination is in the same issue as a story written by the editor and founder of one of the most well-respected online literary magazines out there (my response when I found out?  HOLY F**K!!!) ~

Hayley's magic yoga class ~

finding edamame ~

being bought toasted corn snacks ~

being able to treat myself to (responsibly sourced) jumbo prawns thanks to a build up of nectar points, which were delicious stir fried with ginger and garlic.  The prawns weren't bad either. ~

when Jake heard yoga made my back better, his face lit up and he immediately asked for cuddles (I've been telling him lately that I can't carry him because my back hurts) ~

the sweet crisp iceberg lettuce leaves in my salad ~

"Black Snake" by Mary Oliver ~

2 April ~ Small wet stone

Jakey's ghost
skulks through long grass bent by wind
through a lane of dandelion flowers
he sniffs and stops
his hind legs drop and
his wee draws a circle
on the pavement

Pecking Order at State of Imagination

Issue 2 of the online zine State of Imagination is now up.  (And I'm in it!!)

Go take a gander...

Friday, April 01, 2011