Sunday, 31 May 2009

This is (some of) me

It has been suggested to me that I should provide my reader with some kind of idea what I and this blog might be about. I'm finding this oddly difficult to do. I kind of don't know you that well yet, dear internet, but as this is meant to be a personal blog, this post should by definition get very personal indeed.

I should probably start with the tangible stuff: 32, married, two kids, living in Belgium. I am Flemish, but I write in English because that is the language I fell in love in, and fell in love with.

If I had to describe myself, I might go for these two adjectives: interested and enthusiastic.
By interested I mean that I want to know stuff. I studied at university for ten years because I couldn't get enough of knowing stuff. In fact, I've secretly been considering going back and studying some more.
When I say I'm enthusiastic, I mean that I can get very excited by new things. I love new friends, things, places and ideas. The ones that stick (not all) will keep me excited for years.

Another thing I might mention is that I had some kind of breakthrough a few years ago, when I finally realised that my worth does not depend on what I do for a living.
I had had my first baby and was trying to balance a full time job and the baby, and one day it struck me what was more important to me, and I quit. Since then I have spent some time teaching, which I love, but mainly I have been spending time with my family. It hasn't always been the easiest path, but I've not regretted it for a moment. I plan to get back to teaching sometime in the future, because I felt it was just perfect for me and I felt I was making a difference.

Who am I kidding? I'm not even sure exactly who I am. Want to get to know me? Just keep reading...

Friday, 29 May 2009

Subtle!

I went to the gym this morning to work off yesterday's awfulness and it was great! (Yesterday was horrible, involving daytime tv and a late night ice cream binge. One of these days where each kid spills every drink and the tram lines interfere with Hugh Laurie on the car radio - one of these days.) (Actually, interfering with Hugh Laurie - mmm. You can tell I feel better already.)

I used to loathe exercise, but then a few years ago I was having trouble getting pregnant and went to see a new gynaecologist. Lovely guy, but after he did his whole exam (which does not involve gowns or anything in Belgium, so you feel a bit exposed and vulnerable) he happily told me there was no medical problem but I could lose ten pounds. Kind of harsh on a first date. I followed his advice and sure enough, ten pounds later I'm all knocked up. Shame it was an ectopic pregnancy and it lost me an ovary, but still, the guy was right.

Anyways, and moving on, what I found out was that exercise is not as bad as I always thought! And now I love the gym and my bike. And I would have so hated me for that ten years ago. Freaky thing is - for me, exercise just makes me happy. I used to get seriously depressed, and now when I do I go exercise it off. Years of therapy and all I needed was to get off that therapists' couch and onto my bike. Well, not quite, but it does the trick for me now.

I still hate to start exercising each time, but what gets me going (and keeps me going) is some very subtle music. Today, I was thinking of going home after twenty minutes on the exercise bike, and what added another ten was "Let's get married" by The Proclaimers. Yes, that subtle. I also have Britney Spears and Abba. Oh, and Nirvana! I'm always looking for new songs to add. Do you have any recommendations? I like 'em fast and loud. And not very subtle.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Decisions, decisions

So I'm on this diet (bear with me for a second) which is the wholly improvised kind. I just wrote down what I was going to eat and drink for a week and then I'm planning to repeat that until I get fed up with it. Now this is week two and it's going well - I've dropped four pounds, which is not bad going.

However - I have a dilemma today. Thursday is date night for Babes and me. Thursday is also lunch of beans on toast. Last week, it was lucky we were on a date to the park as my diet of beans and sparkling water was having a wholly undesired effect.

So - this week, I'm not sure. I could stick to my plan, which has after all resulted in the shedding of four pounds, or I could substitute another meal and have the option of an indoor date. I think this meal choice may be a blessing in disguise, as outdoor dates generally involve 1) movement and 2) no eating. I think I might stick to it this week, but perhaps make a new plan for next week with a beans-free Thursday.

Too much information?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Paris in spring gets me all conflicted

I was in Paris on Monday, with a friend. We were ordering lunch on a cafe terrace when a homeless guy comes up to the waiter and asks to use the toilet. (Big assumption, I know - he may not have been homeless, but he had sores all over and was obviously drunk.) The waiter replies that there is no toilet in the restaurant. By this point, I'm feeling sorry for the guy, but I can also see the waiter's point of view - I can't imagine it pulls in a lot of customers if you have homeless people lining up for your cafe's toilet.

From this point on, the situation deteriorates rapidly. The guy starts gesturing, slurring his words, and tries to get to the toilet. The waiter (over)reacts and brusquely shoves the guy, who ends up on the pavement in front of the cafe. Passers-by try to help him up, but this takes a while, as he is now even more disoriented. Next thing we know, the guy comes and grabs some cutlery from a nearby table and throws a fork at the waiter, who is standing next to our table. A glass shatters all over the table and the floor.

Now my friend and I are getting scared and leg it to the back of the terrace. The guy is still holding the knife and shouting at the waiter and everyone in general. This is when the small town car arrives and three muscly men jump out. They look like a local mob or something. One of them is menacingly putting on leather gloves. The other two go into the cafe to talk to the staff. They eye the homeless guy but leave him alone.

The guy now retreats to the end of the square, where he confers with a friend and loses the knife. Everyone on the terrace returns to their meals. The three guys stay, obviously waiting for the next scene. They have judged the situation well, because about five minutes later, the guy returns, holding a nearly empty bottle of liquor. He smashes the bottle on a post right in front of the cafe and waves it about before approaching the first tables.

This is when the three men make their move. The gloved one grabs him and takes him into the square. The other two have to help, because the guy is now going all out, knowing that the game is up. They take (drag) him to behind a kiosk. Then they pull out their police badges (phew), let the guy sit down and take his shoes off (double phew), and talk to him very calmly and obviously in a very friendly way until a police van comes to take him away.

Now I was feeling really bad for the guy, because to start with he really only wanted to use the toilet. Then I started to wonder what had been his intention all along. He must have known he was not going to get to go to the toilet in that place. There are quite a few public toilets in Paris, so there were other options. It was also about thirty degrees and really humid, and not a good day to be fending for yourself in Paris. I'm wondering if he wasn't looking for a break - a hot meal, a wash, a place to sleep. He never actually hurt anyone, he only hit the glass. I'm hoping that was what he was aiming for, but he was probably just drunk or really needing a pee.

Still no first message

I can't decide on a first message. I decided to consult some of my favourite blogs, like XBox4NappyRash and Bless Our Hearts, which has only made me despair because of their sheer brilliance. I think I might go for a "this is me" post. (Either that or I keep nervously sending out nonsense messages until I work up the nerve to do a proper post. Which is funny, as I have NO READERS!)

Poop

I was agonizing about the first proper message to post on my brand new blog, when my youngest (who surely will need a snazzier name) pooped so much everything got covered in the stuff (my jeans, the sofa). I am not taking the bait.

Hello world

Because what the world needs is another mommyblog.

If you're looking for a "this is me" post, this is where I put it.