Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The highlight of my day

In just about 30 minutes I will leave my workplace.

I will get in my car and drive through the rush hour traffic.

I will stop at my aunt's house and knock on her door and her mad dog will bark at me when she answers.

I will walk into living room and this face will greet me.

And he will probably give me a smile and a kiss. If I'm lucky he'll tell me he loves me. I'm guaranteed that this particularly affectionate child will tell me he loves me at least once before he goes to bed. (He'll prob throw a fit at the thought of going to bed too. He's not perfect. We get daily cries of "But aaaaammmm plllaaaayyyiiiiiiiinnnng" and "Fine then!" etc)

All I know is that no matter how long the day, no matter how stressful the events, no matter how much there is to do or much I feel battered from the inside, a hug from my son makes it worthwhile.

I will never tire of that first smile at the end of the day.

Baby Watch - Five weeks and five days to go...

So this is (in cartoon form) what she looks like just about now. I wish my butt was as slim and my legs as free from cellulite as this lady's.
Madam is VERY active - hugely active. She never stops. A work colleague commented on how often I rest my hand my hand on my bump yesterday and I tried to explain it was merely because she is constantly on the go and I'm trying to calm her.
I have a feeling she is going to be a real live wire when she gets here... contrary to my original theory that difficult pregnancy would equal easy baby.
I'm starting to get scared - very scared (but also excited).

Now I would embed this video, but for those of a semi sensitive disposition I decided not to.
But when she moves - she reminds me of this You Tube Video - (and it's nothing dirty just a VERY wriggly baby).

Monday, January 26, 2009

No... don't buy too much pink..

..And I didn't think I had. In case, you know, madam comes out with a wanger. Joseph insists should this be the case we should call her Connor - just like his best friend's baby brother. (He's not all that inventive, bless him... but still it's better than the Bumfarto he suggested a few months back..).
So I honestly thought that with the exception of the half price curtains, rug, lampshade, car seat and buggy (still boxed and in wrappers) there had been very little of the pink ilk bought.
Indeed packing my hospital bag I have slipped in only white baby-gros and hats and towels. There is nothing remotely girlie in there (apart from the mahoooosive night dress I will most likely give birth in... I reserve the right to retain at least a leeeeetle bit of glamour while I'm screaming for an epidural...).
Yesterday however I decided to sort through the new stuff (and that's not including the reams of stuff I have received pre-loved from generous friends and family). Sorting out the ickle baby stuff and 3-6 month stuff I came to the conclusion that I have in fact, bought quite a substantial amount of pink.
I've just been buying in things in little bits and pieces so I was not at all aware of what I was amassing. There were pink socks, pink tights, pink dresses, pink rompers, pink vests, pink cardigans, pink blankets, pink soothers, pink bibs (which say 'Nobody puts baby in a corner' - gotta love it), pink blankets, pink trousers, pink tops etc etc.
Five words.
Explosion. In. A. Marshmallow. Factory.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Over the Moon

Wish I could give you more info, but thought I would flag this up anyway.
On March 26, Poolbeg (the lovely people) will be releasing a non-fiction collection under the title 'Over the Moon' in which various writers (moi included) will talk about their experiences of parenthood.
Anyway, it can now be pre-ordered at Amazon and all proceeds are going to the Crumlin Hospital for Sick Children in Dublin. (Nope, I don't get a penny!). So do yourself a favour and order a copy now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Depression good for you? What a sick joke!

A study this week by overpaid boffins at New York University has claimed that being depressed is actually good for a person and, in addition, taking medication to tackle that depression could actually be stopping people achieving their goals.
They (the overpaid boffins) have said that extreme sadness or depression can actually help us learn from our mistakes, move on to new and wonderful times in our lives and move our focus away from destructive thoughts. Yes, I had it read it several times to allow it to sink in.
Let’s think about that again - being depressed can help us move our focus away from destructive thoughts or actions, they said. Something just doesn’t add up there, does it? Now I’ve spoken before very openly about my experiences with depression. And yes, in some ways experiencing depression has helped me make some positive changes in my life. I was able to write a book loosely based on my experiences of the illness after the birth of my son and it did quite well for me.
That put me in the priviledged position of being able to reach out to people going through similar experiences and assure them they were not alone. But I was only able to do that after receiving the relevant treatment and support, I’ve no shame in admitting that there have been times in my life when a wee dose of Prozac has done the business or that I have a shelf full of self help manuals and books to help me understand and tackle the condition.
But would I say that being depressed is a good thing - even though in a way it has brought me a degree of success? Would I say that it helped me move my focus away from destructive thoughts and actions? No. Categorically and emphatically no. What utter, utter rubbish.
It is clear to me (and I’m no overpaid boffin at New York University) that anyone who could make such a statement - never mind commission an entire report to argue their point - has clearly never experienced depression. Yes, they may have been sad from time to time. They may even have gone through a severe rough patch and yes, I agree that perhaps we are all too keen sometimes to medicate away general sadness.
Sadness is a fact of life. Bad things happen and we all need a time to grieve over them and come to terms with them. But there is a huge difference to feeling sad (even if at times that sadness seems overwhelming) and suffering from depression. From my experience depression is all encompassing. It invades every aspect of your life until you can no longer think rationally or feel any inkling of positive emotion. It steals your confidence, your sense of self and it certainly steals your ability to look to the future with hope or excitement. It is very different from having a bad day day or reacting to dreadful circumstances in your life (and that’s not to dismiss any notion that a real, clinicial depression can come about as a result of difficult times).
For a lot of people depression is an illness - a deficiency of the happy hormone Serotonin - a condition which needs treatment above and beyond being told to pull yourself together. It is a condition that, at its worst, can be life threatening. And it is certainly not the reserve of the great minds of this world. (The over paid boffins, just so as you know, pointed out a number of great leaders or figures in history who were afflicted and went on to do just fabulously for themselves.) It doesn’t care who you are, what you have or whether or not you should be happy on paper.
It is one of the biggest misconceptions out there that depression only happens to people who have bad things happen to them. The fact is that true clinical depression - the depletion of serotonin - doesn’t give a flying fig what you have or what you have achieved or hope to achieve.
I’m pretty sure there are people who swing the lead and I’m pretty sure there are medical professionals out there who hand out magic prescriptions a little more readily than is justified. I know there are people who use depression as an excuse - a label which they are happy to wear. But for every person swinging the lead there are countless others battling against a genuine illness and getting on with their lives in difficult circumstances. Our GPs and other medical professionals are doing the best they can to help the people who need it, in the difficult position of having been allocated just 10 minutes per appointment.
I think it is wrong, and also verging on the dangerous, to suggest that those who suffer from true depression let it wash over them and avoid trying to treat it. If you are lucky - as I was and am - it can be treated and controlled fairly easily.
You can get your sense of self back and you can feel well again and it is often only when you start to feel well again that you realise just how unwell you had been. That realisation can often be a scary experience. Far from helping us achieve great things, escape the stresses of life and not repeat past mistakes - avoiding help when it is truly needed could cause untold damage. That damage extends not only to those personally afflicted with the condition but their friends and family also.
So when overpaid boffins analyse their statistics and come up with their grand and sweeping statements they would do well to think about the real human impact of an illness which deserves as much treatment, sympathy and understanding as any other life threatening condition.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

She LOVES it... hurrah!

I nervously sent the first 13000 words of book 4 (ironically called 'Ever After' as it is taking forever to write..) to my agent last night.
I am suffering such a crisis of confidence at the moment (hormones) that I struggle to write a sentence without seeking the approval of those around me. I am, officially, a little demented and difficult to live with these days.
Anyway thus began the morning process of sitting, watching my email inbox, pretending not to care - writing my column as if I had not a worry in the world - while all the time noticing my finger nails were getting shorter and a faint taste of chewed down fingernails lingered in my mouth...
I got an email, mid morning. And she LOVES it. Now I put the LOVE in caps because she put the LOVE in caps and LOVE in caps make me happy.
No to go all Sally Field on y'all but yay - she LOVES it, she really, really LOVES it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Baby Watch - 6 weeks and 6 days left

Of course, she could come early. Or late. Or on time.

But here is the stomach - huge! Hard to believe someone told me just three days ago they didn't realise I was pregnant. If my stomach was normally this size, I would be seriously worried.

Anyway - I saw my consultant today and everything is just hunky dory. Baby is facing the appropriate exit - is well down and ready for action and weighing a perfectly average 4.5lbs or thereabouts at the moment.

Seems a bit mad to think that she is so near to being here.
And yet I'm utterly freaked out at the thought of pushing a 7.5lb/ 8lbs (the current estimate for her weight) baby out of my fandango.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's a blue Monday

So, it's officially the most depressing day of the year.. and I can't argue with that but to cheer you up I've decided to post this doctored picture of my very cute nephew and godson, Ethan - who is four and a half months old and has - in the last week- actually decided to grace me with very gorgeous smiles.

Anyway - this is my sister's attempt to prove her son looks like his daddy...

He does, in fact, actually look like this...

He's a gorgeous, funny little ray of sunshine who has brought us all so much joy - even if he does have the uncanny ability to look at you as if you are from another planet.

In other good news my friend Nora gave birth this morning to a gorgeous baby girl- no name released yet - but mammy and baby are doing well.

So Blue Monday - stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Random Conversations with the Boy - continued

J: "Mummy, I wish I was 100 already."
M: "Why's that?"
J: "Because then I would get a message from the Queen."

I've no idea where that came from.

For Mimi - here's what a cellular blanket looks like...

I don't know why these blankets are held in such high esteem but you can't look at a "What you need for your baby" list here without a mention of them.

Thing is they tend to be quite starchy and not all that comfortable from my experience.

I've only got a couple this time - for the pram and crib. Obviously a baby would look a little daft stuck in a sleeping bag in her pram.

And yes I do have swaddle wraps too (donated by my sister) so I'll be giving them a go.

And to further answer Mimi's questions - yes round here the majority of our ante-natal care is carried out by midwives and it will be a midwife who will deliver the baby unless there are complications. I do have a consultant who oversees my care - but I've yet to actually meet him and I only saw him once during my pregnancy with the boy. I don't mind, to be honest, I feel much more comfortable with a woman looking at my nethers than a man (even though I know he has seen it all 100 times before - not my nethers, obviously).

Well today my little pregnancy ticker doodah says 50 days to go. Am having a feeling it won't be that long (wishful thinking, perhaps) but as I have morphed into a horrendously over emotional waddling weeble in the last few days I can but live in hope.

In non-pregnancy related news I learned last night that Feels Like Maybe will be released in paperback on May 28.

So post baby, I have approximately 10 weeks to get myself looking decent enough to meet my public and do the publicity trail. Not sure how I'm going to manage leaving a 10 week old for publicity - watch this space.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I knew there was a benefit to my talking about the sick...

... all the time.
I received an email this morning from a journalist doing a piece on Hyperemesis who asked me to contribute after reading about my experiences on this blog.

Every little bit of publicity helps in the book trade - even if it does involve you revealing your embarrassing sick stories.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Recipe for relaxation

I'm tired tonight - it's been one of those days when I've not had a moment of not feeling tired. Woke stupidly early and couldn't get back to sleep because I knew I had to be at the Midwife early and had to shower etc beforehand.
Saw the midwife (after very narrowly avoiding crashing my car in a dodgy reverse park incident) and baby is just fine. Midwife was a little odd with me though - although that could be down to my general state of paranoia of late. Wee had some protein in, so it's been sent off for testing but good news is baby is no longer breach and it has been her head bouncing off my pelvic bone which has been making me so damn uncomfortable all week.
Left the midwife and went to pick up a parcel of baby clothes from the Post Office which a lovely online friend had sent me - then waddled over to the local pram shop to buy a new crib mattress and a mirror for our car so that I'll be able to see the baby when I'm driving.
Then it was up to the Early Learning Centre with Joseph so he could spend the gift voucher his granny got him for Christmas. We stopped off in a cafe for a drink and a slice of carrot cake after and I felt distinctly happy.
Then Joseph managed to morph in the grumpiest child in the world, I morphed into the grumpiest mammy ever and by the time we got home at lunch time my darling husband got it both barrels. (Esp when he nearly had a stroke thinking I'd bought all the packaged baby clothes new...)
I lay down for an hour (I do love my husband, honest... he puts up with a lot) and then went to pick my older sister up from work and then we went to get some cellular blankets for the baby. I've no idea why cellular blankets are so important but I felt as if I would be committing some big parenting sin by not having any. So thanks to the house of value that is Matalan, I'm now stocked up.
We then visited my other sister and my baby nephew - who is exceptionally very cute but all exceptionally very bokey. Me and him are a match made in heaven.
By that stage I had promised Joseph we would rent a DVD and go home for cuddle on the sofa - but my temper was not fit for trying to park in the supermarket car park beside the DVD shop. And when Joseph insisted on not listening, or indeed doing the exact opposite of what I wanted I kind of lost the run of myself.
I was standing at one end of the DVD shop, him at the other calling "Mummy!" but each time I answered he would forget what he wanted to say. At the same time a (I can only assume equally harassed) mother tutted in my direction that she couldn't concentrate with all the noise and stomped off (and I prided myself very much in not spearing her with a stray DVD case as she went...)
Then (and God only knows why) we decided to go into Tesco to get some treats to eat while we watched our DVD. Big. Mistake. Huge.
We'll not talk about it but by the time we left I'm sure I was known as the biggest screaming harpee in Derry.
Got home, plonked the boy in front of a DVD - me being too wound up for family viewing - and I set about the housework.

But I'm all set now - once the boy is in bed I have a copy of "27 Dresses" to watch. I have a bottle of Caffeine Free Diet Coke chilling (I know... I live on the edge) and I have a box of Pringles and a tub of cheesy dip. If I can manage to stay awake it might just be a nice evening. And, when it is all done, and thanks to my cleaning frenzy, I can slip between some fresh bed linen for a decent sleep.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lunchtime blog - cravings and other wonders

I haven't really had any cravings with this pregnancy up until now. There was a night I took a mad notion for a beef stroganoff and would not be satisfied until I had one but it was a one off and I'm not sure one offs count as actual cravings.
But recently I've had two strange ones. The first is cheese and chive dip - the kind you buy in wee pots in the supermarket and can dip breadsticks or crudites in. (But who are we kidding folks, it is nicest served with a big old pile of "once you pop, you can't stop" Pringles). I spotted a tub on the supermarket shelf just before Christmas and since then no sour cream and chive crisp has been safe in my sights. It's a strange addiction - especially as I can't wash it down with the traditional glass (or three) of finest new world Sauvignon Blanc.
The second craving is cornettos - which do kind of nauseate me to a great extent - and yet I am powerless to their call. I even (and I do feel a total pig for admitting it) ate two in one night recently... just after the other. I should have stopped, I regretted immediately... but it was as if a force outside of my body, mind and mental reasoning just took over and there I was... up to my neck in chocolate and ice cream.

Okay so neither are going to win any healthy eating awards - but after seven months of constant being sick (you see, I mentioned the sick again...) I figure I deserve a little treat now and then (and again.... and again....)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

oooh, lunchtime blog - remembered what I was originally going to blog about...

So I'm writing my fourth book (and yes, I'm actually writing it and not just writing about writing it) and I have a character issue. In the book there is a man and he's, well, a little bit hairy. In fact he's a whole lot hairy. He is a walking carpet - a wookie like creature from Donegal who manages to make my MC lose run of her senses. And she refers to him as Chewbacca.

Now this has sparked a debate (mostly in my own head, I hasten to add) about my ability to use the name Chewbacca without contravening copyright law. Obviously he's not actually a wookie (although, you know, he does have a hairy back and all). It would annoy me more than words can say to take the reference out - so I'm actually going to have to do some proper research on this one. Bum!

Oh, and just so as you know, the character is very loosely based on my friend's obsession with Anton DuBeke of Strictly Come Dancing who is very, very hairy.

Lunchtime blog - the big ouchee

I think I'm having labour pains for Keris.
Obviously my own little one is nowhere nearly near cooked and ready to come out but all morning I've been ouchee as feck. What I wouldn't give for a couple of nurofen and a glass of wine.
What I think will happen is that I will continue being ouchee until Keris sneezes and has her baby painlessly.

Keris, for the uninitiated, is a writer friend who is ridiculously talented and also very overly pregnant (8 days overdue and counting). She's been updating her blog twice daily with tales of her overdueness but no sign of baby Joe yet.
This reminds me all of when I was pregnant with the boy and my colleague and friend in work was due some 17 days before me. She also went overdue and being expectant and hormonal I felt as if in a way I was overdue with her and waited day in and day out for news of her baby's arrival. In the end her lovely little Amy arrived 9 days late and seven days before Joseph made his arrival (one day early).
What I will say is that I'm no good at waiting - not one bit - so I'm hoping (for my sake as much as Keris') that her baby arrives soon. And that mine arrives at least on time - but despite the big ouchee - not today.

Random conversations with the boy... continued

So this morning I'm doing my early morning routine of heaving and being sick (honestly, I know I talk about the sick a lot... promise I'll stop in about 7.5 weeks...)
Joseph was beside me. Now I should emphasise that Joseph loves the show Ben 10 and frequently goes into character - American accent and all.
So while I'm being sick (and it was one of those ones where you make strange inhuman noises...) he turns to me, in best American accent and says

"Mom. This would be so cool if it wasn't so uncool".

It at least put a smile on my face.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lunchtime Blog - things to try not to do in work

Without saying too much about the circumstances of the why and wherefore I cried today in work.
In front of the big boss.
Like a big eejit.
I seem to be crying a lot at the minute - damn hormones - but generally I reserve it for alone time (the car, over the ironing board, when I go to bed). Some times they are happy tears - I'm so utterly, utterly in love with my son it overwhelms me. I'm so proud of my hubby it amazes me. And I'm so blessed to be getting a gorgeous baby girl that it sometimes spills over into snottery sobs. (Of course, she might not be gorgeous. She might be icky. Joseph is seriously worried about the fact she might have some blood on her when she is born - something I'm not prepared for myself as Joseph was clean as a whistle when he arrived. My claim to fame - a hygienically clean uterus and cervix....)
Other times the weight of the world feels as if it sat on my shoulders (right beside the wee devil who tells me to eat chocolate even though it is guaranteed to make me feel horrendously sick. I don't need to mention what is happening with the economy in any great detail to know it is taking it's toll on all of us.
I'm also very, very scared of labour and delivery even though I know I've done it (and survived it) before. Note to self - must stop reading Take a Break magazine and tales of women conking it in childbirth, or worse, their babies conking it. NOT GOOD for my mental health).

And then there are times when I just need a good cry. I just wish those times didn't come in the middle of a meeting with my bosses.

As Aoife would say in 'Feels Like Maybe' - when they write the story of my life that episode will be filed under "Not Her Finest Moment".

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lunchtime blog - eight weeks and counting

It's just eight weeks til this baby is due.
I'm hoping for an early(ish) arrival. I mean I don't want her here now, I want her here when she is safe. Maybe at 38 weeks or 39... just NOT late. I could not handle late. (You just know she is soooooo going to be late, don't you?)
It's not that I'm particularly fed up of being pregnant. It's more that I'm fed up of carrying out a huge tummy, that moves, and kicks and stretches all the time, making me want to swear. And I'm so over the being sick. Had enough. Been sick for 30 weeks now. Surely that is enough sick for anyone's lifetime. And that's not mentioning the back ache and the heart burn.
Of course it's lovely to think that inside me a little miracle is growing and I am grateful for that - honestly I am. I just wish I did it with more grace.
I came to work today to discover both A: Sick on my top due to a last minute before leaving the house surprise vomit. (Yes, this pregnancy brings lots of feeling just dandy one minute, heaving into the loo the next surprises) and B: streaked make up due to my eyes watering during the surprise sick. When I checked in the bathroom mirror before leaving the house (already late for work as obviously I had not factored in the 10 minutes required for the surprise vomit session) it looked okay. When I arrived at work, it was a different matter. I've tried blending - I don't think it worked.
So I look (and fear I smell) just fecking rough. And still I'm supposed to have a smile on my face.

Well in some ways I do. I heard today that my gorgeously lovely best friend Vicki (who lives in Scotland and may or may not have a touch of the 'Daisy' about her) has booked to come and see me and madam mid March. In 10 weeks. JUST ten weeks. I cried happy tears.

Also I wrote last night, about 600 words building on the success of the previous night. I now hope to be back on track. But all the while aware than in 8 weeks time there will be a very big distraction to my writing. Eep!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

By jove I think she's got it...

I've done.
I've written some fiction.
1000 words of the stuff.
And read off the rest of the WIP (that's Work In Progress) and it's not the sack of shite I was fearing it to be.
In fact it's quite good.
And I enjoyed the writing. And I found it flowed nicely.
So the seal has been broken and the writer is back. Hurrah and hurrah. I'm not broken any more.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Smile for the Camera

The boy and I were having our usual pre-bedtime chat on Monday when we heard a familiar voice sound out from the TV in the other room.
Like the big wain that I am I bolted out of my seat (definitely not easy given my current condition) and rushed like a buck eejit to the living room where on the screen I saw my daddy chatting nine to the dozen about my grandad’s old home movies.
It was part of the ‘Super Eight’ series made for the BBC a few years ago, and while we had seen it before it was lovely to see it again. There was my father, and my uncle, recalling a childhood of innocence and happiness - and at the same time recalling some of Derry’s darkest days - all to the backdrop of my grandfather’s first hand movie footage of it all.
My grandad died when I was 16 - I’m now just reaching the stage of my life where he has been out of my life longer than he was in it. But yet my memories of him are as strong now as they ever were - and most of that I imagine is down to the legacy of home movies and photographs he left us.
Of course it was long before the days of camcorders and digital photography. Grandad had an old cinefilm camera which would film just a few minutes of silent footage at a time on film reels which would then be played back to us through a projector onto the living room wall or an old bed sheet.
On occasion my daddy would borrow the camera for big family days out so we created our very own archive of classic family movies. (We were very overdramatic and there are several hilarious reels of us acting like eejits in various locations around the city - from Brooke Park to the City Walls).
Everything was filmed - from Christmas mornings to First Communions and family weddings. My father - just like his daddy before him - has also kept a keen record of the changing face of Derry. He has more photographs of Gwynn’s Institute and St. Eugene’s Cathedral than is strictly necessary and I’ve sometimes wondered at the logic of photographs of ramshackle buildings he has taken - but when I think back to just how much this city has transformed over the years I can see how important it is. Perhaps I’m just getting old and sentimental about such things.
Last summer my father spent his holidays scanning in all our old photographs into his computer before giving us a disc with our own copies. There were more than 3000 images - ranging from his own childhood, through to ours and on to his own grandchildren. Yes, there were plenty of seriously dodgy haircuts (80s perm-tastic on my behalf) and even dodgier clothes. There were shots of all sorts of weird and wonderful things from school shows to my then newborn son being cuddled by his doting granny. Of course there were people who are no longer with us - like my grandad - frozen in time with a smile that is unforgettable even without the aid of a photograph. And there are events and celebrations that you only think you’ve forgotten until you see that image of yourself dancing to YMCA with a pair of fairy wings on. Then again, there are some things perhaps which are better forgotten.
At a time when it seems like everyone has a camcorder, or a digital camera that can take short movies or even a fancy dan mobile phone with the same facilities - I think it can be hard to appreciate just how important these old family archives are.
I know I take for granted the fact that I can capture a snap on my mobile, upload to my computer and email it around the world in the space of five minutes.
I’ve even become kind of blase about such things - taking the recording of my son’s life so far a little bit for granted. I’m not at all disciplined when it comes to actually getting photos printed out or arranging for video footage to be transferred from the camera to a DVD or similar.
But when I think about it I’m only depriving my son, and his children in days to come, of the rich heritage I have. Joseph was most impressed to see his “very own grandad” on the telly on Monday night and even more impressed to see his ‘Granda Ernie’ (my own grandfather) and be told how he named after his Granda Ernie’s middle name. He asked, in sincerity, did that make him famous?
So while I might cringe at the fashion faux pas of my youth (knowing full well I’m still making a health dose of them now) and yes it can be painful to watch how my waistline has expanded over the years (and shrunk a bit, and grown a bit, and shrunk a bit etc..) but I’m still glad - and eternally grateful to my daddy and grandad - that they have created this most valuable resource for us all. And to this end, I promise, to finally get some of those photographs currently eating up the memory on my home computer printed out.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Don't mention the war.... or the book

Okay so I'm supposed to update on my writing progress today...
Supposed to, being the key words.
So anyway - did you see Relocation, Relocation, Relocation last night? I just caught a little of it - but how high maintenance was yer woman?
And isn't Phil thingummy just lovely. I wish he was my husband.
Loads of Braxton Hicks last night - and bizarre dreams about living in my old rented house.
I seem to be dreaming about houses past a lot recently - wonder what that means? Searching for a more secure time in my past perhaps?
In recent weeks I've dreamed of my old student digs (aka The Brown house - the carpets were brown, the curtains brown, the woodwork brown, the furniture brown etc). It was a lovely - if exceptionally basic and very cold house which we were pretty sure was haunted, but they were really, insanely happy days. There was friendship, song, drink and more drink, dancing and more dancing and a bit of studying.
And then I dreamt of my grandparents house - most notably their back garden - the scene of many a happy childhood adventure. Yes, so the dream was weird in that suddenly their garden morphed into the City Walls here in Derry... but it was a lovely dream all the same.
And then last night I dreamt we were back living in the house we (meaning me, my sister and my then fiance) rented when I first started working in the Derry Journal. It was a lovely house - with a very steep driveway - and we were poor but happy.
All definitions welcome...
And as for the book... well.... erm.... I'll chat tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Getting blocked...

Where I'm from getting blocked has a certain meaning - generally it means going out and consuming a fairly vast amount of alcohol so that you end up in a nicely inebriated state and generally it involves dancing like a complete eejit in a public place.
Or at least that is what it used to mean.
Now it means - for me at least - the inability to write. My fourth book (working title 'Ever After') has stalled at a measly 12,000 words. Now I do have several very good excuses but as each night passes with me staring at a laptop willing the lovely Annie (my MC) into life I get more and more frustrated.
Now, generally when I hit the wall I pour a nice, cold glass of wine - consume it at record speed and find that magically the block lifts. Sure what I write that evening might be a load of carbolics but the effect of actually being able to write something is enough to spur me on to write something more legible and coherent the following evening.
Of course at the moment I don't have the luxury of a bottle of wine at my side. I do however have a variety of prescription medications each and every one of them complete with the warning that they may cause drowsiness.
"If affected do not attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery" they warn - but I think they are missing the crucial adendum "or attempt to write chick lit".

Tonight will be the third night in a row that I'll switch on my laptop, open the file and promise myself to write a little more. It's at quite interesting juncture in the book so in theory is should be easy. In theory.
I promise to report back tomorrow - wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Did you see what they did there?

Several of my friends and writing associates from the lovely Write Words (where sadly I've not been very active lately due to ongoing vomiting etc) have set up a blog to talk about their writing experiences.
These are all talented writers and their take on the world is well worth five minutes of anyone's time.
So feel free to drop by at Strictly Writing!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Be prepared

So now I'm on a countdown. It's nine weeks today til my baby is due and while nine weeks is a long time (esp with the sickness and the increasing heartburn) it's not really all that long now, is it?
I mean, conceivably, this time nine weeks I could be holding a precious baby girl in my arms and dreading going for a pee in case it stings. Scary thoughts indeed.
The last few days I've had really strong braxton hicks contractions which have been a taster of what will come. I have freaked a few people out who I swear have thought I'm about to pop but I know as a second timer these contractions might be a little ouchy but they are nothing compared to the real deal. The real deal makes me swear. These just make me say "oweee" a couple of times.
Nonetheless the arrival of the braxton hicks (or branston pickles as I prefer to call them) have made me realise that I'm not all that prepared - or at least I wasn't until I went into a one woman shopping spree in Matalan, Babies R Us and Tesco at the weekend.
I have my oversized nighty for labour and the big pants for recovery afterwards (can't be coping with disposable knickers) and enough maternity towels to build a small tower. Nappies are bought, as are vests and a coat for the baby (pink, of course) and tonight I packed a hospital bag of sorts.
So I'm nearly there. If only they'd let me smuggle in a bottle of vodka to cope with the pain I'd be flying.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A surreal day in work

I was working yesterday, New Year's Day, and to be honest it wasn't a prospect I totally relished. While the rest of the world seemed to be recovering from a hangover there were a select band of us fearless journos putting together a paper for the good people of Derry.
The day started off as quiet as we feared - but then it was set to take a turn for the bizarrely surreal - and the utterly uplifting.
Just after lunchtime two of 'The Priests' - a singing trio taking the music world by storm dropped into the office for an interview with one of my colleagues.
We (and by we, I do mean one of my other colleagues who does not take no for an answer) managed to persuade them to sing for us and they did - treating us to a verse and chorus of 'Oh Holy Night' - a hymn which brings a tear to my eye at the best of the times.
It was awe inspiring, uplifting and there was a completely different atmosphere in the office when they left.
Of course I didn't film the actual performance - but I found this on You Tube so you can see for yourself how wonderful our day was.

Once that was over and done with I had a call replying to to a query I had put in the day before regarding rumours that Strictly Come Dancing's Vincent Simone was visiting Derry and staying at a local posh hotel.
Within five minutes I ended up on the phone to him, asking him what he thought of our fine city and listening to him call me Bella.
I was, it has to be said, a little star struck and left work wondering what on earth had just happened.
Random but wonderful - you can't beat the world of local journalism.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mondo Beyondo...

Stolen from Keris, who stole it from Superhero Designs... here is a novel way to greet the new year and say goodbye to the old... I kind of like it.

1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2008? (What did you create? What challenges did you face with courage and strength? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?)

This has been, very openly, a mixed year. But acknowledging the positive is really important - I made it to number 2 in the Irish bestseller list with Rainy Days and Tuesdays and number 6 with Feels Like Maybe. Both exceeded my expectations. I finished writing the most challenging book of my career to date 'Jumping in Puddles' and have thus far survived a threatened miscarriage, hyperemesis and a dose of antenatal depression. I'm here - and I'm smiling some of the time - that's good. I lost a good dose of weight - before getting pregnant, putting it on again and then losing it again through the hyperemesis and I am proud that despite it all I'm here and doing the best I can.

2. What is there to grieve about 2008? (What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?)
I grieve for the sense of security - emotional and financial that I once had. It has been a scary year with my husband starting his own business. And pregnancy has been hard - very hard. But I forgive myself for having negative thoughts about it because, as Oprah would say "I did the best I could with what I had at the time".

3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?
It's somewhere between Good Riddance and Thank You.

Okay, the next step is to say out loud, "I declare 2008 complete!" How do you feel? If you don't feel quite right, there might be one more thing to say...

The final step is to consider your primary focus for the year to come. What is your primary intention or theme for 2009? Is it the year of joy? The year of self-care? The year of partnership? Stand up and say it proud, "2008 is my year of...."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...