Are you ready for this?

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Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The great I am.

I went to Cardiff yesterday to see Britain's got Talent auditions, we had fun as we did last year but not quite as much fun.
We waited outside the Millennium center with thousands and thousands of other people ( but not for as long because *ahem*, I had PRIORITY tickets thankyouverymuch) and every now and then there would be some hysterical screaming and one of the 'stars' would arrive, An.t and screaming and one lady behind us called someone and could barely breathe for excitement, we were taken inside before Sim*on C*owell ( smart move there, he won't google himself and find himself reading all about what I think of him! ) arrived but when he entered the theatre there was much screaming and hyperventilating ( yes, I did, can't be helped because "SIMOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!) and yesterday, along with the crowd swaying adulation, I couldn't help but look really hard at these people, who are, you know, just people, as far as I know they haven't found a cure for cancer, banished poverty, set up orphanages in Romania etc but we lesser mortals look upon them as something so splendid and worthy, hoping that they might just glance our way, smile at our camera ( thankyou S.tephen M.ulhern for doing just that, although you may well have been smiling at a seagull behind us, who knows, we have a smiley photograph! Last year, of course, we got a picture of you with your arms around Sophie, Mel and Gemma so the casual glance in our general direction might have been a slight anti climax) The other thing that is noticeable is they are small in stature, if you stood any of them next to Dan, Jordan or heaven help us all me, they would look like itsy bisty teeny weeny slightly orange celebriteenies. An ordinary man in the street, that was the same size would perhaps appear puny, if you even happened to glance at them at all that is. BUT....and there is a but, they don't SEEM little, you don't look at them and feel disappointed with them for not being 6' 5" and built like a what's its name brick house. They ooze importance, they feel HUGE they especially Simon, darn it all for feeling this way when really, it would be quite cool to look at him and think "Heh! Is that IT?" the power that oozes from them is something you have to experience to understand. I looked and I whooped, I took pictures (that didn't come out because the lighting was hopeless) and I tried to imagine what it would be like, how it would feel to have that kind of power. I watched the minions running about after these men ( and woman) I saw that they all have different water to drink, they have 'people' fetching and carrying, they have their makeup touched up constantly ( especially Simon, every 10 minutes someone would pop along and powder his face) I wondered if they are even aware that this is happening anymore, I wondered if they appreciate that these people are, for real, people, with feelings and dreams, hopes and hurts.
I thought about those people in Haiti and how so many of them would be grateful for ANY glass of clean water, a soft chair, a kind word, not caring whether the water was still or fizzy, in a glass or mug, from a tap or filtered jug and somehow that became all I could think about. I became obsessed with the balance of riches, I am not saying that these people don't deserve what they have, how wonderful that in this world it is possible for people to rise and achieve so much, I just thought about what an enormous responsibility it would be to have so many riches.
I wonder how I would fare with so much. I was talking to Sophie and asked if she thought what it would be like to have so much money you didn't ever have to actually think about money. I often say how great that would be but actually, I think I might well be terrified if I were ever in that situation. I wondered if these people believe the hype, if they actually believe that they are better than the average man or woman who have to write shopping lists and save for a holiday. We decided that money is great, not worrying about money is the ultimate dream but for me, there is definitely a limit to how much money I would like.
I think of how excited I get when I get a bargain, when I win an Ebay auction, when I grab a great deal at the car boot sale. The pride I felt when I bought my car, for cash, that I had saved, who cared if it was 9 years old? Not me, it smelled so good and I felt so good driving it, I still pat it's dashboard and tell it I like it. How soon would the novelty of money run out if nothing was that great a pleasure anymore?
I love to daydream about the good I could do if I won the lottery, how I would pay off this mortgage for that person, cancel this person's debt so they could start again, but homes and rent them to hard working families who just need a break, for a small rent so they could build a home and feel secure. I dream of all kinds of good I could do....I wonder if I would do it, or if I would become afraid that I would lose that money, if I would become more selfish and driven by holding onto those riches.
There is no doubt that I would love to be able to wave a magic money wand and for example, buy my sister and brother in law a new computer because the only one they have has died, so now they have a business to run and no computer. I want to hand Jordan money to pay for his wedding to Mel, although actually, to see him working for an agency on his days off, to drive him to work at 7.30am and see a beautiful sunrise, watching him walk into an old peoples' home to make dinner for 40 senior citizens when he could be having a lie in on his day off, when he tells me, with such pride and excitement on the drive that he has made a spread sheet and is able to watch the wedding costs go down as he pays them off, one by one.... why would I want to miss out on those moments? How will my son feel when he marries Mel and he looks around at all he has achieved? So much more than if he is handed the day on a plate. ( I am still saving so I can give them a surprise though)
I think the Lord knows where I belong, I don't feel hard done by at all with what I have and where I am. I have my treasures and I love knowing that I can take mine with me when the time comes. I love nice things, I love having money sometimes, I love sharing it, I also like knowing who I am and how important each person is. I hope never to have people running after me and fetching and carrying while I appear oblivious to them. ( although the running after me bit...sweet!! Peel me a grape!)
I think I will be happy with life as it is for me, with small steps and huge moments. It is enough ( And some)


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The best laid plans....

Funny, isn't it that as soon as you decide to do better the world conspires to call you a liar?

I have just finished reading the most incredible book, ' The hiding place' by Corrie Ten Bloom. Oh what an inspirational book that is, one of true goodness, an example of how we all ought to live. I read and with every page I was so sure that I would change my life, I would think and act differently and not take anything, even the smallest of things for granted. I bought a copy of the book to lend to family and friends so that they can feel so uplifted and moved.

In fact, what seems to have happened is that every fool and his sidekick is in my face making sure that any effort I might make is hampered.

How is it possible that this woman and her family, trapped in a concentration camp can be so positive, so Christ like and yet I, in my comfy home, surrounded by every comfort and luxury am bad tempered and grumbling? Pathetic is what I am.

I am so determined to be better and its so EASY when I alone, when everyone is in bed and I sit here in my quiet with my plans and ideas. I can move mountains and uplift weary souls......right up until everyone is awake and being all normal and loud, no-one wants to join me in my peaceful and spiritual awakening, they want cereal and toast and not THAT cereal and TRIANGLE toast not SQUARE toast. They don't want to do homework or go to swimming lessons because they CAN'T SWIM and for heaven's sake who wants to go to swimming lessons when you can't swim and people will have to talk to you and even *touch* you ( shudder)

I am particularly irritated by H of late, even outside of those 3 days a month when he is unable to be reasonable and insists on behaving in such a way as to incur wrath even in me, ME when I am always so level headed and calm. It's a trying time I can tell you.

I am doing my best and reminding myself that Corrie and her sister were even grateful for the fleas in the camp they were imprisoned in and later learned that the fleas were the reason the guards didn't ever enter into their block and so they were able to read scripture and hold prayer meetings when to do so would surely have meant being put to death.

I bought monopoly today because I want to have cosy evenings playing with the boys, is it very miserable of me to feel almost afraid to even take the cellophane off the box because that whispering miserable part of me is sure that after 5 minutes or more it will all turn to chaos as there will be fights over who gets to be the car and who isn't, most definitely EVER going to be a stupid hat?

Was I always such a half empty sort of person? Like the 2 women who open the curtains and one says " Good Morning God" while the other says "Good God, Morning" I hate to admit that I am more like the second woman these days. I hear other people sing songing their way through the day and rather than feel lifted up, I find myself mumbling ' Oh shut up for heaven's sake.'

Actually I am more a split personality because more than ever I am aware of how good things are for me, I take such delight in small things, feeling cold and then finding a toasty hot water bottle as I stretch out my foot in bed, washing my face and having a hot towel fresh from the radiator to dry my face on....I am enveloped with such joy every time. I'm not endlessly miserable, truly I'm not. I think I just forget to show that I'm not of late. It's unfortunate that the joyous moments seem to be when I am alone ( coincidence? Hmmm it's puzzling.)

Strange that I started to write this over a week ago, before the Haiti earthquake. What a terrible, terrible thing. If ever there was a tragedy that has stopped me in my tracks, this would be it.

I whine, I know I do, I always seem able to find something to complain about and then we see this, we see babies on the street with no family, no home, nothing, fear and death and absolute destitution. It is unimaginable to me, living here with an abundance of everything, more food and heat, water and comfort that we can ever need, taking for granted the water, available from taps in our home, hot water, clean water. Clean clothes, comfortable beds, TV, computers. Life seems so unbalanced doesn't it?

Nothing we do can make a difference, on our own...... as a group, a country, a world it is incredible to see what can be done, each person trying to do what they can, give what they can will make a difference. I wanted to badly to do something and not just put some money in an envelope and pat myself on the back. I want my children to see they have an abundance of everything they need and so much of everything they want.

I think we did asked them to write down one thing they needed, that they don't have.

Seth wrote " nothing"

Isaac wrote " enough chairs" ( it is true that when we have company, someone usually has to sit on the floor! I am sure no-one will die from lack of chairs!)

Elijah wrote " a snowboard" Bizarre as we don't even have snow ( And long may we keep saying that!)

I explained that I wanted us all to give up something, for a week and donate the money to a Haiti charity. The boys said that they would give up their once a week take out food and they did, without a grumble ( apart from Isaac who is going through the most revolting 'practising being a teen' phase) I decided that I would not buy any magazines this week, that sounds such a cop out, like that would be a sacrifice! Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how grumpy I felt by wednesday! I love to sit outside the school and wait for the boys, with a magazine and a hot chocolate, glorious silence and a magazine, reading and doing puzzles and I am really a stickler for making sure nothing interferes with that time! I even toyed with the idea of buying them and not telling anyone, it's not as though they would know, I would still donate the money, who loses out? I do, that's who.
It doesn't hurt us to go without those things we take for granted, my drier broke for 2 weeks and then my washing didn't hurt me at all to be reminded that these things are luxuries, not a given right, our lives in this country are so simple, so pampered and sometimes it is good for us to remember that.

Seeing the tragedies in Haiti, being forced to witness how hard life is for so many people. It is also incredible to see how much good comes about whenever there is such a terrible occurrence, people are good, we live in a world where we hear such awful news and can begin to feel as though there isn't a drop of goodness out there and then we see how many good people this world has, how people will drop everything to help those in need and every time, good overcomes the bad. Stories of miracle rescues, babies being handed back to previously heartbroken mothers. I love watching the good and remembering that I have things pretty cushy, that as much as I might complain, in truth, this is a good life.

All this AND tickets to go to 'Britain's got talent' again on Tuesday.

I am reminded that my glass is not half full, it runneth over.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy New Year!

2010, goodness me, here we are then. 4 days in and I have yet to start my resolutions, in fact I haven't quite worked them out yet, some half thought through ideas that seem splendid and that's as far as I got.
Grandpa went home, H took Isaac and Eli with him, they stayed overnight in London and came back the next day. Eli got lost, in London, TWICE. I had terrible panics about him going because he is so away with the fairies, bless his ditzy little heart, how we adore him, even as he gets older he remains as hopeless as ever, only this week he said " Hmm, this could be embarrassing, I forgot to put on underwear, I tell you what, I am just not going to worry about it" That's him through and through.
H, in his wisdom, was prepared, as much as he can be, with not having my mind of course, to him the solution would be to write his and my cell phone numbers on a piece of card, tape 50 p to the back, laminate it so it doesn't rip and tie one to Issac's jeans and one to Elijah's jeans. Isaac doesn't get lost, he often runs away, when he feels life isn't going his way but he runs home, from wherever he is, leaving us panic stricken and angry but he is fine and know where he is at all times.
Elijah, he gets lost, he wanders, he never hears " just stand still while I ....." and off he goes, tra la la, skipping, probably whilst humming a merry tune.
Which is what he did, once at Heathrow airport and once ( oh my gosh) in Victoria coach station ( scary! OH SO SCARY!!!) both times, H said " stand still while I check the times of plane / bus" and both times, he looked around seconds later to not see Elijah, who had wandered off, found himself quite without parent and both times found a security guard / lady on her own and said "I've lost my dad, can you get him back for me please" and handing over the card , still attached to his belt loop. Genius, worked...and I spend many hours imagining the headlines had he asked some paedophile or child slave seller for help. I also, just for fun, imagined what would have happened if he had got lost in the underground....shut up head.
However, grandpa has gone home, arrived safely and happy to be home, where he can yell at his TV and watch CNN news to his hearts content without daughters in law tutting and sighing and asking where the remote is. Lovely.
We now have 3 bearded dragons, 3 green anoles and a tree frog. A veritable mini reptile zoo. I must admit I am quite taken with these little creatures, though am firm in my determination that we now have enough pets. Plenty, in fact.
I think they are called Spike, Bexi and bullet ( dragons) and Olly, Butch and Bella. The boys keep trying to change their names and we have had all manner of bizarre suggestions, I tell them that if I can change their names to Bob, Jim and Reuben, they can change the pets names, life is confusing enough without having to remember what various lizards are called. Thankyouverymuch.
I am looking forward to this year, no specific reason, just because that seems like a good thing to do.
I want to make more of a difference this year, notice people more, be more aware of ways I can change things for the better. I want to be happier with my lot, which is a rather splendid lot, when all is said and done, there are lovely things to look forward to, family and friends, a home that I enjoy more, plans to make this a place I am proud to share with others.
2010. Let it begin.