Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Bye, Dad.

The end. A beginning. Bye, Dad.
I knew a time when the world was young, when every day was a new beginning and every morning was filled with a radiance and a freshness. As if overnight the fields and the trees had been laundered and sprinkled with a sparkling of dew to await the rising of the sun which would burst the tiny droplets and release their fragrances into the morning air. There was wonder and curiosity, and quite often a catching of the breath. A sense that something was about to happen. There was no sense of time, for time was a thing belonging to a later world, a grown up world. Today was today, there had been no yesterday and tomorrow was a million years away. Today was the day the world began.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

I Wrote Him A Letter

All the time people asked I'd say,
"He's the same", and I'd smile, like it's fine.
But I'd think,
"Don't ask. Stop asking. Stop asking."

Now people don't ask.
And I think,
"Why aren't you asking? Why don't you ask?"

All the times I thought,
"I just wish things were normal. Why can't things be normal?"

Now this is normal.
And I think,
"This isn't the normal I was looking for."

I wrote him a letter that he won't read.
It's just for him.
It will go unread. But not unsaid.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I keep getting glimpses of my Dad.
  • The raised eyebrows that say "Hello".
  • The "Ooh!" when I hold his warm hand with my cold just-arrived-from-outside one.
  • The smile that Parkinson's Disease took away, but somehow a blood clot in his brain has given us back.
  • The fidgeting and trying-to-get-comfortable that have become so familiar, courtesy of Parkinson's. Thanks to that blood clot, it's now halved: his left half.
  • Sharing a laugh. There's no way of knowing if he gets the joke, or if he's laughing because we're laughing. It doesn't matter: we find the same things funny, so he'd be laughing anyway.
  • The moments when he clearly finds the whole thing ridiculous. His chuckle or his sigh when he gives up trying to tell us whatever he's trying to tell us.
They are just glimpses. Like when you catch sight for just a moment of someone familiar in a crowd. Their posture; their profile; their gait. Whatever it is that makes you know it's them.

This blood clot - this stroke - has taken so much of him. But we still have glimpses, and glimpses are enough for it to be him.

This is my Dad.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Glimpse of the Future in the Past

Seven years ago (minus a day) I posted this:

Fortunately the teeth and hook were not as prophetic as the hair and the beard!

Blogger's Block

I have been trying to write a post.  Honest.

I decided to describe the course of events that prompted me to change my life and that precipitated my weight loss.  I wanted to explain how I went from being the person I was then to the person I am now.

I have been trying, but I can't do it.  I've written a lot, and deleted a lot.  I've spent the last two years thinking and analysing, and frankly I'm bored with it.  It's time to just get on with enjoying my new perspective on life.  So I'm putting it to one side for now.  One day I'll explain it all, but for now I'm looking forward, not back.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Back to Blog

Well, here I am again.  And it's about time (about 3 and a half years, to be precise-ish).  Despite the name of my blog, quite a lot has happened, so I'll give you a quick summary.

I was this...
Now I'm more this (but not every day)...

I did have a little boy...

He went and grew up...

Other stuff has happened too, but I don't want to exhaust all my post fodder in one fell swoop.

My main reason for starting up the blog again was a need to write about the changes that have happened to me over the past couple of years, quite self-indulgently, as a form of therapy and closure so I can move on - the italics signifying words I am very uncomfortable writing, and you're doubtless reading with some dread.  But, really, who'd want to read that?  Then I started reading some of my old posts, and I remembered the pleasure I used to get from writing them.  So I might slip into a bit of self-indulgence from time to time (after all, it is all about me), but I will endeavour to get back to the random, everyday blogging that worked so well for me way back when.  Don't hold your breath for my posts, though: it's no coincidence that they started to peter out once I was no longer a salaried employee - now I'm self-employed, I actually have to work for a living (but not every day)!  

Monday, March 08, 2010

Women, know your place

Today is International Women's Day. Now, I don't know much about it, but I'm hoping that it serves to raise awareness and make some positive changes in the lives of oppressed and abused women the world over.

(It's clearly a hot topic, because the official website isn't loading...)

Anyway, women's rights aren't what I intended to write about, but it is timely because I have been mulling over a subject for blogging for a couple of days, since receiving an interesting email...

One of my pet gripes is 'Women in Business'. No, no - not the women themselves. I'm trying to be one, after all. But the groups, forums, seminars, books, etc. that are abundant and supposedly cater for the 'special needs' of women who want to succeed in a man's world. I don't really understand what these groups, especially, are trying to achieve. Surely, by setting yourself apart as a woman (rather than a person) trying to achieve your goals and become successful, you are, by definition, alienating yourself to some extent. Of course, there is still inequality in pay and prospects between men and women, and so there needs to be some kind of lobbying/action group to address this issue. But shouldn't men and women be campaigning for this? I believe in equal rights for everybody, and any group promoting women above men is surely guilty of positive discrimination.

Now, I've worked for men and I've worked for women. Some were great to work for, some not so much. The difference had nothing to do with gender. It was that they were different people. The idea that a female boss is more supportive of her 'sister' subordinates is surely a fallacy. An ambitious woman can be far more cut-throat than any man, in my experience. You might say that a woman has to be twice as ruthless than a man to succeed. Perhaps that's true in some circumstances, but it's not the way I would want to live my life. Being part of a women's group that favours others of the same sex just feels a little hypocritical to me. My main issue is with networking groups. There's nothing wrong with a bit of 'you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours', but to do that based on gender doesn't sit comfortably with me. Do it based on merit, on shared ideals, or on geography (support your local economy).

Having said all of that, I appreciate that I'm possibly (no, probably) quite naive. I'm not an ambitious go-getter. I've never hit a glass ceiling. I've never knowingly been the victim of discrimination in the workplace. I have been to a 'Women in Business' event. It was made up of a number of seminars - mostly interesting stuff: how to deal with conflict; how to have difficult conversations; how to be more assertive. You get the drift. All helpful and informative, but nothing that wouldn't be just as useful to a man. Not once, in any of the seminars, was anything female-specific mentioned. But there was one subject that I can't imagine making it into a 'Men in Business' event (would you even get such a thing without cries of "sexism"?). That one seminar was entitled 'Feng Shui Your Office'. Yes, interior design to positively enhance the energy flow in your workspace. Serious business women care about that stuff...

So, to the email I received which prompted this musing. Despite what I've said above, I have put a tentative toe in the waters of networking groups. It's something I feel I really must do if I'm serious about getting my own business off the ground. I'm terrified of networking - it goes against all my instincts to walk into a room full of strangers and tell them how great I am. But someone recommended The Athena Network to me as a friendly introduction to the business networking scene. I thought I'd have a look at their website, and I had to sign up to see any real information. I'm still not sure about it, and none of the events are particularly local, so I haven't done anything about it yet. However, I'm now on their mailing list, and emails come through every few days with details of upcoming events.

Last week, one such email appeared in my inbox. The subject line said, "New Community Event: Angels and Ascended Masters circle." I read that a couple of times, then thought I really needed to click on th
e link to see whether it was really what it sounded like. Yes it was. Angels (as in Guardian, or Michael) and Ascended Masters (Buddha). Now, each to their own. I have no issue with such things. I understand that people might be keen to "develop their 4 clairs" (clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience and claircognizance - but you knew that) and "work directly with the Angelic Realm and Ascended Masters". I don't believe a word of it, but I understand there are people who do. However, what does this have to do with business? What place does this have in an organisation that says it "offers inspiring opportunities to engage with business owners and decision makers from diverse industry sectors". It is surely this very thing that can undermine women in business. It is feng shui and angels and pink websites that can set women apart, and I'm having none of it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more...

So, half term holiday's coming up. Money's tight and we haven't done a lot lately. It would be nice to have a day out - a proper outing to somewhere we wouldn't normally go to.

Thomas is hard to please these days. He's a teenager after all, and all he really wants to do is stay in and play video games. So I need to win him over. I get out my book 'Bollocks to Alton Towers' which gives details of some lesser known and (sometimes) typically Britishly eccentric places to visit. It includes places like Barometer World and Williamson's Tunnels. It also includes the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker at Brentwood in Essex.

Now this is right up Thomas's street, so I suggested a visit. He seemed keen. Perfect.

Ah... According to their website they are only open Thursday-Sunday during the winter months. I'd ideally like to go on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when I don't work. But, not to worry, they say they are usually open during school holidays and half term. Of course, half term can vary depending on area, so the sensible thing to do, before committing to the hour and a half drive, is to drop them a line and check. Oh lovely - they have an email address on their contact page, so they obviously are happy to receive emails. I sent a nice polite message: "We're planning a trip and would just like to check if you will be opening, etc., etc.". I just got a message back:

I guess we will be. m

Right. That's not exactly definitive, is it? The whole secret thing is probably difficult to shake off, but I would have expected a more helpful answer. Even a "we don't know yet, best to phone nearer the time" would have at least meant I know where I stand.

And is that the same "m" portrayed by Judi Dench? She's in charge of secret stuff...

I want to write straight back: "Can you see how that doesn't really help me?". But I won't. I never do! I think I'll just phone nearer the time...