Saturday, 30 July 2011

Service temporarily but not quite voluntarily interrupted

The attentive reader may have noticed I've gone awol. We are on holiday until further notice, mostly away from internet and, for the next week, also from all phone reception. Yes, we are going to the Jurassic, aka Scotland. I WILL be back. (And I will be missing you all.)

Oh, and here's a joke my lovely sister An, may she always have good mobile reception as well as 3G, told me yesterday:

- Knock, knock.
- Who's there?
- To.
- To who?
- To WHOM.

Excellent joke, I hope you will agree.

See you as fast as I can, my lovelies.

Friday, 15 July 2011

What would you lick if you were sure to lose some weight?

This dieting lark is doing my fucking head in. I finally seem to be past the stage of constantly thinking about food, but I must be lacking in something because otherwise I wouldn't feel the need to come downstairs for a snack after midnight. Right? (I used to come down for snacks in the night when I was still stuffing my face with any old thing as well. Hardly a scientific observation.)

Skimmed milk, small block of cheese
made to look bigger by unconventionally small plate

Don't think I'm being all that virtuous. I'm only having this because the two Leos (continental-style KitKats) I had earlier in bed, with some sweet tea, didn't stop my cravings.

I wouldn't mind feeling hungry so much if the weight was flying off (An, may she never even have to consider giving up alcohol, loses three pounds if she just contemplates eating less) but my body is, as usual, taking its time. When I try hard, I can lose about two pounds a month, maybe three. That's excruciatingly slow. (And I swear I don't normally snack at night at all, ever. This is a one-off. I'm not that stupid.)

What I need, what I really really need, is a tummy bug. Last time I had a twenty-four hour spell of spectacular up- and downward explosions, I ended up four pounds lighter. I'm considering following Charlie's lead. He's always offering me his second hand biscuits from his grubby little paws. Maybe I should do more than just pretend to eat them. He also tastes everything he gets his hands on (animal, mineral or vegetable) and I'm sure if I just did the same I would be sick in no time. Just think of the things I handle in an average day. The poopy nappies! The cat vomit! The randomly poisonous detergents!

I'm thinking I could learn from Marie as well: on any toilet, public or otherwise, she plants both hands firmly on the toilet seat to hold herself up. If I don't watch her (and I admit I often don't), she will "forget" to wash her hands and soon after insert her thumb into her mouth. I'm amazed she hasn't contracted cholera or dysentery yet. (She considers it unnecessary to wash her hands if she hasn't wiped her own bottom. She will make sure I wash mine after wiping her bum, though. Because ewwww, right?)

So, if you see me going around licking grubby old mingers in the street, you'll know that I'm still trying to lose those last few pounds.

Monday, 11 July 2011

If a man did this, I'd be the first to complain, so bite me

On Saturday, I took the children to the international folklore festival in our local park. There was a wonderful atmosphere, with all ages and nationalities mixing and dancing together. We saw the groups from Yakutia, Macedonia and Spain play music and dance in traditional dress. I took some photos for your entertainment and edification.

The National Ballet of Yakutia, from Yakutsk

(I found some information online suggesting I should be saying "The Sakha Republic" instead. I'm just following the event organisers here - I hope I'm not offending any locals.)

The beautiful dress and long,
long hair of one of the Yakut dancers

Part of the Macedonian troupe

Last but not least I would like to feature one particular dancer from Spain, who struck me as a most amiable young fellow from the very start.

Most amiable young Spanish fellow

As soon as the band started to play, I could tell he had a sparkling personality. It's just a shame that I just managed to miss his face in this picture.

Sparkling Spanish personality

After a first demonstration, all the dancers invited someone from the audience to join them in the next dance. My chosen subject picked an older woman over the many available young mothers, which endeared him to me even more. His kind visage was only just turned away when I snapped this shot:

Kind Spanish disposition

Our dancer isn't only an expert at twirling his partners, he also charmingly joked around with them. In this picture, he'd only just said something most amusing. It's a shame I just got him too low.

Dazzling Spanish wit

Finally I must report that Juan/Diego/Miguel had even more going for him than all the previous: he was also obviously blessed with superior intelligence. The sheer number of steps he had memorised was stunning, the way in which he would teach them to his inexperienced partners a revelation. If only I'd pressed the shutter a little earlier, you could have read his intelligence from his face yourself.

Abundance of Spanish intelligence

Finally, I must coyly add that he also didn't fill those trousers too badly, but of course I would not be so vulgar as to have specific photographic material to illustrate this last point of mine.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Today: the score board

WINNERS
  1. Me:
    Babes had seconds of both the chilli and the banoffee pie last night! Even though technically I probably shouldn't be calling what I made pie. Because strictly speaking "pie" is not a liquid. Also, the caramel was a bit burned, but nevermind.

    My runny burned banana-y
    creamy goop was a huge success.

    The children loved the chilli as well. Victory was mine!
    Tonight, another winner: rocket salad with melon, smoked ham, mozarella, tomatoes and homemade crostini. Two nights in a row I got compliments from the children. I'm going to end up chasing that high, it was so good.
  2. Charlie:
    Has two definite words. It may come as no surprise that my 4kg875 (10lbs 12oz - at birth, obviously - he's more than twice that now) baby decided to talk about food first. Around his ten month anniversary, he started saying "koek" (biscuit) and now he also says "pap" (word for liquid food). He's copying words like nappy, poo, horse and baby when he hears them, but the other two he uses on his own to demand food. I'm so proud.
  3. Marie:
    Can count all the way to twenty! For a while there, she'd misplaced seventeen but it has now been restored to its rightful place in the sequence.

LOSERS
  1. Babes:
    Came home sick, and I made fun of him. I can be such a bitch.
  2. Charlie:
    Got sick at creche. They phoned me as they were giving him some paracetamol and putting him to bed. I went to get him four hours later. He was happy and drugged, but still... I'm sure karma has a suitable payback in store for me tonight.
  3. Belgium:
    A year and twenty five days after the elections, and still no government. A last-ditch effort at making an agreement between the warring factions has been shot down by the biggest party. We have it so good in this country, but people take it for granted. I just hope we all get our acts together soon or we may end up regretting it seriously.
  4. My local policeman:
    Who stopped me at four in the afternoon, with three children strapped into the car. Who, when told that I hadn't had any alcohol, asked me: "Really none at all?"
  5. Me:
    In an attempt to have a few serious thoughts and note them down, I took a notebook and pencil to the indoor playground today. Next time I should think more carefully about my choice of gear

    Not a serious notebook and pencil

  6. Belle:
    Used to be really pretty.

    Pretty as a picture

    Now look at her.

    Has let herself go a bit

    I particularly like the chest hair.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

I told me so!

I have this overwhelming need to accomplish something today.

Of course I accomplish many things every day. To be honest, some days I should get an award just for getting out of bed. When I've been up in the night wondering why Charlie won't stop screaming (teeth, too hot, too cold, dirty nappy, uncomfortable, sick, hungry: there are just too many options) and the day starts unreasonably early - again - I sometimes feel I should be able to pull out a get out of jail free card and beg for a day off.

I'm writing this post during afternoon naptime (long may it last but probably it won't) and so far today, I have coaxed three children into clothes and a decent breakfast. We have met up with my expat mother and baby group at the children's farm, walked in the park, petted the animals, had pancakes for lunch. I have changed two nappies, wipes many hands and faces, tidied up a few messes already.  This afternoon there will be laundry and a trip to the supermarket. And yet, none of that seems like an accomplishment as such.

What I need is to have done something new and exciting. Anything. Just to know I still exist as a person, outside my function of being a mother. A glorious function it is, and one I cherish, but I sometimes feel like it's eating me up completely, and there is no space left for the rest of me. The me who used to take an extra university degree just for the fun of it. The me who loves the smell of books and travelling alone. The me who is still in there, dammit, if you bother to look (most people don't).

And that is why I've cunningly decided that later on today I need to cook chilli con carne, after which I need to bake banoffee pie, neither of which I've even eaten before. (I need to think small. Another degree or solo trip isn't really on the cards right now.) I want to do this while looking after three children. Because I'm clever that way. And when the children complain they don't want to eat kidney beans and the pie has collapsed and Babes refuses a second portion because he had a hot lunch, I will only have myself to blame. I told me so!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Desperation is so not a good look on me

It's after midnight and this bloody white page is laughing at me. It's mocking my inability to write a measly little post every day, while it can't bloody be that hard because people do it all over the world every day. So WTF really, brain?
I could talk about Charlie's stomach infection and the fact that he has to take Zantac twice a day for a whole month. The geniuses in charge of baby medicine made this one mint flavour. The pediatrician warned me that it doesn't taste very nice, so to definitely give it to him before his meal and not after. You'd think someone could come up with a better plan than to make baby medicine mint flavour. He's being a star, though, keeping his head still and not even complaining. He just winces a little.
I could also talk about the holidays. So far we have had a trip to the sales, one to the zoo, and one to the supermarket. We've had a birthday party and a trip to the hospital (to see the pediatrician). Surely there's a good story in there somewhere? Well, someone did cut in front of us when we were at the till in the supermarket, and we managed to discuss this rude lady for about ten minutes after we left the shop. Also, there was a balloon.
I have decided that the cause of my writing drought is mindfulness. I used to spend every other post bitching about something, and now I'm just so fucking content it makes me sick. So, I've decided: from now on, no more mindfulness. Sure, I will bite the children's heads off by lunchtime tomorrow and by the evening my small intestine will be infected, but that's a small price to pay for a fully functioning blog. Also, hyperventilation is kinda cool. I hear all the hip kids are doing it these days.
I now have to go to sleep but I will backdate this post to about an hour ago so that I can pretend in the morning that I blogged yesterday. It's a confidence thing, so please forgive me what is strictly speaking a lie. (At least I'm owning up to it in typical neurotic fashion.)
Goodnight, people. Feel free to suggest some blog topics to me. I'm desperate.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Find the link: diet obsession, surviving the holidays, random drinking

  • It's easier to be on a diet when there aren't constantly three children around demanding to be fed. It's also easier to make clever diet choices when you're shopping with a baby only. I know it was me who put the chocolate covered peanuts in my shopping cart, but I still feel that the responsibility for me stuffing my face with them this afternoon cannot be mine only.
  • Starting the holidays as a single mother has been interesting. The TV has had more use than I planned, both for the children and for me. The consumption of chocolate, especially in the evenings, has skyrocketed. (That one was all me.)
    Babes has been on a short trip, combining business with family visits, and surprisingly it's been okay. He has announced that there will be more of these trips in the future, and in a way it's been like a little holiday for me as well.
    I was worried to start with because I was enjoying myself so much. Surely I was meant to miss him? The control freak in me loves being the only one in charge. The wife in me is having trouble sleeping, though.
    Overall, I think I would like my husband back now.
  • I'm secretly loving the holidays. No more rushing around like a headless chicken in the mornings, no more waking Charlie from blissful naps, no more fixed bedtime or homework to supervise. Just don't tell Babes because otherwise he might not think I need to go out with my girlfriends any more. And I do, I really really do.
  • I'm very close to rescinding my no-alcohol-except-on-Sundays rule. The idea was I would lose more weight, but I'm replacing white wine with the same volume in chocolate, which cannot be the idea. In the end, I obviously need to take in some calories, and they may as well be the fun kind.
    Prepared as always, I consulted my new favourite website, Get Drunk Not Fat, and the take home message is basically "Champagne good, beer bad, white wine kindofinbetween." Shots are even better, but I'd better not go there.
    (I'm not drinking every day, just when I go out. It's hard to go out on a week night and drink water when everyone else is having a glass of wine.)
How is your summer going so far? Or your winter, if you're down under? (That sounds like it's winter in my panties which is funny with Babes away on a trip. (Maybe just to me. Ah well.))