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Hollywood anyone?

17 Oct

Last week I had my first intimate wax in 15 years.

Okay, before you drum up an image of some hirsute Frida Kahlo-type, I’ve been keeping the bare essentials in check with a razor.  But like all things feminine and indulgent and personal- grooming I haven’t had time for much more than a ” bic & go”  since the eldest was born.

But I’d finally decided enough was enough. At 35  it was time to start noticing again. Start trimming the hedge properly so to speak before the good lord starts turning it grey or, god forbid, taking it away entirely. (Does that even HAPPEN?)

So anyway, I was at the local depilation salon perusing the “menu” when I began to feel just a little bit out of my depth.

Bikini waxing – your choice from American, Landing strip, Brazilian or Playboy”.

I quickly checked my surroundings thinking perhaps I’d taken a wrong turn and ended up in a specialist offy selling exotic rums.

You see, in my day a wax was a wax.  A few stray cats whiskers pulled and plucked, a run-away spider de-legged before the swimming season began.  Cheap paper towel tucked into bikini bottoms. Legs akimbo.  Schlip. Schlip. And we were done.

But not now.  No. Now you need to be a discerning connoisseur in hair removal.  Where once it was just about minimising embarrassment, now its all about expression and seduction and the perfect aesthetic. And quite frankly, it’s intimidating.

And I don’t even want to imagine what position you need to get your self into to achieve the Hollywood, nor what the poor beautician has to look at. Noone should have to see that without at least an MSc.

So how did it go, or rather how much? I’m not even sure I’ve stopped blushing for long enough to take a look.

Three children and too much information

14 Dec

As most of you will know I have 3 children. Well I have 2 children that I gave birth to, but a few years ago I acquired a third – a 92 yr old neighbour called Walter who has variously called me fat, told me I have bad breath and asked me whether I wanted his (dead) wife’s open pack of stockings.

Walter is a German ex prisoner-of-war who has no family or friends in this country, and who has, over the years, alienated the rest of our neighbourhood. Apparently they don’t take too kindly to being asked whether they are pregnant again or just fat, and are not buttered up by a half eaten packet of eclairs.

On the other hand, we’ve become really rather fond of Walter over the years; however, we definitely have a love/hate relationship. Having someone knock on the glass partition of your adjoining porch doors 7 times a day to get your attention would rattle even the world’s most patient person.  But we do try and do our best for him, which in reality is rather a lot. Doing his shopping, taking phone calls, arranging appointments, doing his weekly lottery, putting his socks on, taking his measurements for new underwear.  I’ve drawn the line at cleaning his house and washing his feet but not much else has really come between us.

A few weeks ago I walked in on him having a wee in the washing machine. Neither he nor I batted an eyelid. Apparently the past 5 years have foistered an intimacy and understanding that is not shattered by the sight of a 92 yr old penis.

In any case, my children got their own back on me tonight. Finally sitting down on the toilet with the paper and some peace and quiet I hear the familiar bang bang on the glass partition door. “Leave it” I shout downstairs as I hear my eldest turn the handle and slowly open the front door. “Walter” he shouts really loudly (Walter is also profoundly deaf) “Walter” he screams, just incase the rest of the neighbourhood hasn’t heard,”you’ll have to knock back later, mummy’s on the toilet doing a poo”.

To be honest, I wasn’t even too bothered. Apparently we’re well passed any embarrassment over MY bodily functions as well.

pro choice AND pro life: is it okay to be both?

30 Oct

The older I get the less comfortable I feel about abortion.

There I said it.

I’ve struggled with this one since I had my children, and I’ve felt too ashamed to say it out loud.

The problem is – pro life campaigners with blood dripping from their screaming placards? – this isn’t me.  I am wholeheartedly behind a woman’s freedom of choice in all areas of her life. And it really is only through sheer luck that I never had to go through something like this myself.  There would have been no question what choice I would’ve made in my teens or early twenties.

But ten, twenty years later and a mum to two boys?  Having experienced two pregnancies,  felt a life grow inside me, giving birth to that life and seeing them develop, from beans to sentient beings with their own quirks and mannerisms and thoughts? I find this really really difficult to reconcile in my head with the idea of termination.

I am not against abortion, I know that.  I also know that hand on heart the situations where I find it acceptable as an answer to a lifestyle problem has become more and more limited as I’ve got older.

This is a difficult post to write, because I have many, many friends who I know have been through this, and I did, and still do support them 100% in the decisions they’ve made.

It’s all a bit of a mess – in my head and in my heart. I feel something but want to feel another.

But that’s okay, isn’t it? Would it be easier, or more acceptable, or more believable to be one way or another? I’m not sure a decision like this should EVER be as simple as that.

A bad case of louse

23 Oct

I think I’ve got nits. My heads been itching for days. Okay so it might be because I haven’t washed it in over a week, I suspect that might be the case actually. It is now sticking to my head like a wetsuit helmet. But it still could be nits.

And I’ve had a phobia of nits ever since they used to show those magnified images at school. I mean look at them – just how many legs and protrusions and things does a nit need?  And then I got them and I was terrified.   I remember vividly standing in front of the mirror, hair just washed, with armies of nits escaping from my newly clean hair and scampering for their tiny nit lives down my forehead.  I remember the hot itchiness behind my ears. I remember the evil metal comb with its twisted spikes.  And I definitely don’t want them on my person again.

Even the words we use to describe the situation are horrible. Infected. Eggs. Hatched. Bloodsucker. Infestation.

It’d be marginally better if the relationship was even a little symbiotic. A bit of  give and take between me and the nits. I’ll scratch my head and make you some fresh blood, if you run your little scampery legs throuh my hair like an insect detangler. But no, it’s all about the nit. Sucking on your blood like a folicular vampire and  giving you back nothing but an itchy scalp and extra parental duties.

Extra parental duties because if I’ve got them, Big Milk is bound to have them too. So that’ll be a day off school and no time to put up my feet for the cleaning while we spend the day locking heads (okay maybe not literally, with all that jumping) around a bottle of Quit Nit.

Maybe I just won’t check their heads until tonight.

What a load of quark. Why I hate diets.

16 Oct

I’m on a diet and I’m eating sodding Quark. Things are not good.

And I don’t do diets.  I think it’s a miserable state of affairs. All that counting and measuring and recording.  Taking off all the good bits like crispy skin, singed fat and a side-order of fries, and leaving yourself with all the tasteless insipid shit.  Eating more fruit and vegetables than you’ve eaten in years, downing gallons of diet drinks in the hope they’ll fill up your grumbling tummy enough to get you through to the next yoghurt-kissed rice cake.  Dreaming of butter and  monosodium glutamate while nearly passing out with unsatiated desire.

And largely speaking, diets DON’T work.   You’re just on and off them for life. Batted between gnat tum and fat tum.

But I’ve put on a stone and a half in the 5 months after my mum died.  You’d think being a skinny bint would be payback for months of heartache, but oh no, in my case my arse just got bigger to keep my heavy heart company.

So i’m raping and pillaging the extra weight from my loins and then i’m never dieting again.  And I’m sending the half eaten packet of Quark to WeightWatcher HQ and telling them to stuff it where the sun don’t shine.  Which is probably quite rotund considering that noone at weightwatchers including the so-called “advisors” are thin.

Except me, of course. I will be thin. Honest.

Smokers. F*ck ’em?

24 Jul

Smokers deserve everything that’s coming to them.  If they choose to smoke, why should I pay out through the NHS to save them?

Is this what YOU think?

I hate smoking. I hate everything about it. I can’t help but look at people with pity and distaste when I see them chuffing away on a cigarette, lips like a cat’s arse. I know, I’m one of those awful ex-smokers. The thing is, in order to give up you have to learn to hate it. Despise it with a passion greater than the desire to do it. To finally see it for what it is – a drug addiction like any other, but rather than huddled away in a backstreet somewhere getting their fix, smokers are just doing it out in the open, and with the consent of the government. No less desparate. No less pitiful. Watch a smoker in a restaurant waiting for the opportunity to excuse themselves for a fag. All jittery and cross.  Then tell me smoking heightens social enjoyment.

But do I think smokers deserve everything they get? Absolutely not. Do I think they’re as worthy as breast cancer or brain cancer sufferers of publically funded and expensive courses of treatment? Of course.

The fact is, people do not “choose” to smoke. Okay let me clarify that. Smokers may choose to have their first puff in the school toilets, and maybe the 2nd or 3rd puffed out their bedroom window while mum unknowingly cooks a healthy meal downstairs, but smokers don’t choose to carry on smoking any more freely than a heroin addict makes the decision to buy more gear that day. Smokers may say they like it, that it keeps them company, is their reward after a bad day, but the reality is it’s only ever the cigarettes that are in control – a power-crazy, insiduous addiction playing devilishly with their thoughts, guaranteeing its next fix. Of course smoking is enjoyable, why else would people do it against all the advice and harsh medical truths? I’m pretty sure an opiate high is pretty awesome. Reward perpetuates the thing – basic Pavlos Theory.

Yet most people MUST think lung cancer sufferers deserve all they get. Although lung cancer accounts for the greatest number of cancers diagnosed every year and 22% of cancer deaths, it receives a meagre 7% of total cancer funding. All this despite the fact that lung cancer is a silent killer that kills the majority of its victims within 12 months of diagnosis. In my mum’s case it was 2. By the time hers was caught it was everywhere – liver, brain, ovaries. She didn’t stand a chance.

But the basic truth is, lung cancer just isn’t sexy. It’s all tarred lungs, hacking coughs and wrinkled skin, washed through with a big helping of “we told you so”.

In the 1950s my mum’s doctor used to farm out cigarettes to her when she went for an appointment. Apparently it was good for your health, helped you relax. Of course now we know better, but it doesn’t change the fact that if you make a drug freely available on the high street people will get hooked, and many won’t have the strength, the resources, the drive to give up. After all, would you sell a hit of crack at a Sainsbury’s quick checkout counter and blame a crackhead for buying it?

If society consents to sell cigarettes legally, then society must deal with the consequences, including supporting all of its victims. Either that, or do what I’d prefer, and ban the bastards altogether.

To make a donation to specifically fund research and treatment into lung cancer, or for more information on lung cancer pls visit the Roy Castle Lung Foundation.

5 things you’d rather not hear as a woman

22 Jul

There are some things that, as a woman, you dread hearing. They usually relate to your appearance, and are almost always followed by some kind of desparate pleading to a deity you never otherwise acknowledge.

Five of my favourites:

1.  “I think you might have sat in something” . A casual remark from a friend / acquaintance – nearly always a man. As you twist your head round to sneak a peak at your bottom area the desparate pleading starts “Oh dear god let it be that – mud, gravy, anything –  just please let it be that and not the other thing…”

2. Admiring your new, stylish, jaw-lined bob in the mirror your hairdresser turns to you and says “Do you mind if i just trim your neck hair with the clippers”.  Turning your head a little to the right you start to notice a bit of a graduation going on – rather a lot of graduation actually – and so the voice begins in earnest “Oh dear lord, pretty please stop there, no, no higher – not a shave, definitely not a shave, oh god purlease!”.

3. “Gosh £9 for that top, that’s good”. A pointed remark, casually thrown in by “Hobbs Harriet” who’s always sizing you up like she’s selecting the plumpest pig for her sunday roast.  So it starts again “Oh dear god, lovely lord on high, pls let me have removed the label this time.” as if there could be any other explanation.  As if this yummy mummy’s gonna have recalled the item as the one she was admiring at the weekend on the “everything must go” rail at Primark.

4.”I think your baby just sicked up”.  Rolling your eyes and muttering something about it being the third time that day you look down only to take a sharp, painful intake of breath as you notice the proximity to your nipple. “Oh dear god, no, purlease let it be sick, smelly, nasty sick, just not….”  Right about now you are feeling as sexy as a lactating goat.

And of course, the golden nugget:

5. “Are you pregnant again?”   The world-stopping comment that kickstarts the most ludicrous and desparate of all pleads “Oh god yes, pls let me be pregnant, …” as if you wouldn’t have noticed it before. And in my case no, (kind neighbour who has said this to me twice this year) I am not pregnant. I am fat. Fat from the boxes of chocolates you keep bringing round, and the stomach muscles that can no longer hold in the rounds of lard that are now projecting over my trousers like a double chocolate chip muffin.

I seem to find that with ageing comes so many more of these types of physical embarrassment, presumably either because I am too busy/tired/senile to take proper care of myself and plan ahead, and/or because people think I no longer appreciate tact.

Glorious.

Baby buns

29 Jun

I’ve got a real thing for baby buns. They’re just so soft and squidgy and pudgy and grrrr.

There’s something so wonderfully joyous and sensuous about a little  bottom. I usually have to stop myself from eating one when I see it.

One of my earliest memories is of being chased up the stairs by my sister pretending to bite my bottom and squealing with delight.

I remember when Big Milk was born, his cute little peach of a bottom strangely crooked at the top, kinked to one side from the way he’d been squished in utero. Something so wonderfully intimate about that.

And little Milk – a gorgeous round chubby delight of a bottom with dimples on the sides like winking eyes.

When you’re a mother, and despite all the horrible stuff you regularly have to deal with at the bottom end,   you will throw yourself in with joyful abandon, just to land a real smacker or an enthusiastic pinch on that mound of fleshy gorgeousness.

I love baby buns and dread the day my children’s no longer belong to me.

Impact

29 May

I originally wrote this post in early Feb when my mum was first diagnosed with cancer, and posted it on my friend Vegemitevix’s blog.  Looking back I still can’t quite believe I had sensed so much way before the doctors did.  If I’m honest, I had known something was coming months and months before.  Sensed the dark, ominous cloud overhead. I’d just never admitted it.  And that car? It came in for a  second, third, fourth time, and the impact was devastating……..but I’m still standing.

Look at the posts I’ve been writing – That moment, Walk on by. Somewhere amongst the feathers of the pillow that I was burying my head in – I knew that car was after me.

Tell me a body is just bones, sinews and water. That the brain is merely a computer wired with neurons and synapses. Biological. Functional. And I’ll open up my heart and show you what’s inside. In my heart I knew. Sixth sense? Instinct? Love?

Last Tuesday that car finally sped round the corner and made contact. Then it reversed, stopped and put its hand brakes on. It waits, ready to go in for a second time.

Can I carry it? Or will my smug platitudes be laid bare. Only time will tell.

Life, death and lies

28 May

Big Milk “Are you sad because you didn’t get to see grandma when she died?”

Me “No, I was with her when she died darling, and it was very peaceful”. 

Big Milk  “What happens when someone gets died?”

Me “They get very sleepy and quiet and eventually they take their last breath and  fall asleep and don’t wake up. ”

Big Milk ” And then their body disappears and they go to heaven?”

Me. “Umm, no their body doesn’t disappear exactly.”

Big Milk “Well where does it go then? Does your body fall through the bed and then melt into the carpet?”

Me “No, umm, well yes it does kind of disappear, like eventually.  (not even a lie my friends- bodies decompose and that’s kinda like disappearing right?)

Big Milk  “So you waited for a bit and then Grandma slowly disappeared and then the bed was empty. Was there any smoke?”

Me  “Well, hmmm, not really like that darling,  I left before anything happened to her body. Her spirit had gone to heaven  and she wasn’t really there anymore, plus I’d already said goodbye”.

Big Milk  “What’s a spirit mummy?  Did grandma turn all white like a Scooby ghost?”

Me  “Ok, ahem, lights off baby. We’ll talk about this more tomorrow”

This explaining death thing isn’t easy for an agnostic.  You swear you’re not going to lie, gloss over things with euphemisms or “easy lies” because they’re handy and comforting. You’re supposed to “tell them how it is”, not hide the true nature of nature. I had my own smug, self-assured commentary down –  “Some people believe X, others Y, this is what I believe, you must decide for yourself”.   But the truth is, it’s never that easy.  The heaven lie came out early.  I was tired and it’s just such a nice idea, isn’t it?  Fluffy clouds, everyone decked out in persil whites, angels with 24 carat halos and harps that play themselves   You can’t quite bring yourself to tell them the truth – it’s a bit too, well, real.  In any case, you’re still struggling with it all yourself, and you don’t want to land the burden of accepting mortality on them just yet.

So it seems I’ll be trotting out some fanciful niceties for some time to come; in any case, my hole is already half way dug. But i reckon, his grandma’s just died, if he needs a bit of heaven in his life than let him have it.  I could do with a few candy floss clouds myself.