Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's a meh day...

Feeling uninspired, a little fed up, a lot fat, very tired, very poor, rather stressed and a little OCD-ish.
Must learn to say no.
Must learn to let go of worrying about tomorrow and concentrate on today.
Must take some deep breaths.
Must trust that it will work out - just maybe not in the way I anticipated.
Must not sweat the small stuff.
Must appreciate the smiles more.
Sleep would probably help to. Or alcohol.

Anyway, as I'm in a meh mood here's something which is really quite funny.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A night in the life

Number of baby-gros harmed in the caring for a pukesome child = 4
Number of bottles prepared = 4
Number of bottles dropped on the floor (with no lid on) in a fit of exhaustion = 1
Number of squares of kitchen towel used to clean it up = 3000
Number of times I slipped and almost fell on my arse = 2
Number of swear words uttered over said incident = 5 (in a quick succession, a kind of feckity, feckity, arse pants, feck thing... only with the bad f-word instead...)
Number of nappies changed = 3
Number of times nose was assaulted by stinkiest smell ever (from baby, not DH...)= 1 (thankfully)
Number of consecutive hours sleep = 2
Number of bags under eyes = 3457853 (a whole luggage set, and some...)
Number of times baby smiled and seemed to say "sleep is for wimps" = 200.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Susan Boyle Effect

Everyone has been talking about her – the funny looking, ungroomed woman who wowed the judges of 'Britain's Got Talent' with her rendition of one of my personal favourite songs of all time – 'I Dreamed a Dream'.
Susan Boyle, previously unknown and pretty much the kind of person you wouldn't give a second glance to, has taken the world by storm.A You Tube video of her performance has had the most internet hits of a video ever – even more than Barack Obama's inspirational inauguration speech and almost every TV chat show is vying to get her on their programme. (Believe me, I'm watching a lot of daytime telly at the moment while stuck in the feed/ change/ burp routine. For the record 'Loose Women' is quite good and Jeremy Kyle is an annoying eejit who likes the sound of his voice too much.)
The Susan Boyle Effect, as it has become known been one of the best good news stories of late – something which puts a smile on my face each time I read about it. It sure makes a change from all the tales of woe out there. I have now developed a nervous twitch at the very mention of the term 'credit crunch' and there is only so much you can read about the global recession without wanting to stick needles in your eyes.Susan Boyle's story is a happy one – it gives us all hope because – essentially, there is a little of Susan Boyle in all of us.
Certainly I can relate to her scruffy appearance. If truth be told she looks a little like me on a good day – only my eyebrows are even more in need of a good waxing at present. Her figure, I'm sad to say, is probably more enviable than mine at the minute but at least I have a half decent excuse.Ordinary womanI love the fact that she is just an ordinary woman who has spent a great deal of her life getting on with things and living her life.
Sure she enjoyed her weekly sessions in the pub singing karaoke but she never pushed herself.Lord knows why she decided to try for 'Britain's Got Talent' this time around, but I'm glad she did. I don't think I'd have had her courage – but then I'm a complete feardy cat about most things.
As she walked on the stage for her audition she was met with hoots of laughter – and not the good kind. They were not laughing with her but at her. These were the kind of hoots of laughter that would have made me run off the stage crying – very fast, without passing go, collecting £200 or facing Simon Cowell.
When she told the audience she wanted to be the next Elaine Paige, and they hooted again, she bravely started singing her song to prove them all wrong. I would have crawled under a rock and hidden.But there is no reason why she should have done so. She has an amazing voice and performed her song with a degree of confidence that really impressed me.'
I Dreamed a Dream' is not an easy song to sing – and believe me I've tried many times in the shower or under the influence of several glasses of wine (and generally in the company of my fellow musical loving colleague Erin Hutcheon).
Susan Boyle has proved that none of us should judge a book by its cover. It also made me think that there are probably a whole load of people out there who have amazing talents but who keep them to themselves for whatever reason.Strange as it may sounds there could be a Susan Boyle sound-a-like living next door to you. (Unless you are my neighbour – in which case I really can assure you that I am not a secretly amazing songstress and am, in fact, about as tone deaf as they come..). There could be an amazingly talented actress, or comedian, or singer or dancer. There could be someone secretly dreaming of taking the world by storm but who doesn't, yet, have the confidence that Susan Boyle did when she stood in front of Simon Cowell et al.
It may seem like a very obvious lesson to learn – to give people a full chance rather than writing them off based on your first impression – but it seems we all needed a reminder.There is talk of giving Susan Boyle a makeover. One national newspaper even mocked up a computer generated image of what she could like with some plastic surgery, a good hair cut and some make up. But I don't think we need to change her. Surely the most important thing is how she sounds – which has absolutely nothing to do with how she looks.
Hopefully now more and more people will be given a chance to show off just how talented they are and we will have all learned that looks can very much be

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mixed blessings

I went to visit my granny yesterday. She's in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's and hadn't met Cara yet. As Cara's middle name - Anna - is in her honour I so wanted them to meet even though I knew my granny wouldn't know her, or me for that matter and that whatever time she spent with her newest great-grandchild would be forgotten within seconds.
So I went and introduced my daughter to her and she held her so tenderly in her arms that I had to fight the urge to cry. She hushed her and instinctively her loving motherly instinct soared right in and while I knew the connection was broken - she would never know who this child was - it was a lovely moment.
And then it was over. She was distracted and my daddy handed me my baby back while granny was lost back in her own world.
It was gone and done and over and I wish with all my heart it wasn't.

So if you have a spare moment and a spare couple of quid please please visit the Alzheimer's Society and read more, or donate some. For granny's everywhere.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I can't figure out how to upload Twitter here..

So today's update

ClaireA is editing - a lot.
She is not blogging.
She wishes she had time for blogging as she rather misses it.
But she is editing instead, and you know what it's a good book. And funny.

Normal service will resume presently.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Silly little things which make me happy

Okay, I'm going through a mildly OCD/ Robomum phase at the present so forgive the increased amount of references to house work in this post... but still, silly little things which are currently making me happy

  • The ability to hang clothes out on the line - I hate winter and Chinese laundry/damp kitchen syndrome. I also now completely believe and am impressed with the sun's abilities to bleach out poop stains (the baby's... for the record) from reusable wipes and baby gros after impressive baby poo-splosions.
  • The fact that a lot of the stuff on my line is small and pink. (Not the actual baby... although I have heard newborns can be hung from washing lines and their grip means they are perfectly safe...)
  • The smell of a room after it has been hoovered. I know that is a very sad thing to make a person happy but it makes me feel all clean and lovely. I think it reminds me of the smell of my granny's house or something.
  • Scented candles - especially Yankee Candles which make my house smell even lovelier than just freshly hoovered house.
  • Driving on a sunny day - especially towards the Donegal coast.
  • The smell of the baby. Or the smell of the boy after a bath.
  • My nephew's smiles and the fact he now gives you a cuddle when you ask. (He's seven months.. incredibly advanced if you ask me).
  • My friends and family.
  • A clean bathroom and the smell of bleach.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The World According to Mom

This is an interesting blogging experiment - 80 moms from as many countries as possible, all being asked to talk about the five things they like most about being a mom (or mammy, as is my case...)

I was tagged by David Wescott, who I think was tagged by Catherine Connors and I think I'm the first Northern Irish participant to share my mom-ly thoughts, so here goes...

1) The feeling of my son's hand in mine.
He has squishy five year old gorgeous hands which fit perfectly in mine. As we cross the road, or just snuggle on the sofa I will hold his precious, still a little babyish, hand in mind and feel a surge of love so strong it will almost take my breath away. I know one day they will grow to big old man hands and if I think about that too much, I sob.
For Mother's Day he presented me with a poem about handprints and his own little hand prints laminated - the whole thing bearing the phrase "These are the hands you used to hold, when I was five years old". I can't wait to see the man he will become but boy will I miss the little hands.

2) How children can make you laugh until you are almost sick.
My son has a fabulous laugh. Seriously, it should be bottled. It's the kind of laugh you get on ads with cool kids on the telly. It truly is infectious. When he laughs, I cannot help but laugh too. And he does so many funny things that have us both creased up. Recently though the introduction of our little lady has increased the laugh factor greatly. Joseph finds everything she does (even pooping) hilarious so that laughter is ringing through our house all the time. Sometimes it's a little manic (that'll be me, then) but mostly it is just exceptionally joyous.

3) The way a newborn fits against their mammy perfectly.
I think she was made to fit each curve and crease of my torso. She lies there, curled in and even though she is no longer in my stomach she feels just as much a part of me as she ever did. Except now I can kiss her.

4) Pushing a pram
I know this sounds a bit basic. But I love pushing my pram. I love feeling all mammy-ish and grown up and having people coo into it and look at her and exclaim what a gorgeous baby she is. And I don't care that's probably some throw back to being a child and having a doll and pram because sometimes she feels just like my little doll - she even looks like a (non-scary) cabbage patch doll when she smiles.

5) The person being a mammy has made me become
I'm not perfect, but I am different. I am complete now. I am blessed. I am very tired and rather overweight also, but I wouldn't swap my life. (Tweak it slightly, maybe....). Being a mum has made me the person I always wanted to be.

ooooh, and here's the thing I've got to tag some mammies - so here goes Keris, Emily, Stickhead and Fionnuala

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

oh...smiley face

I know - baby bores are us, but is this just not too, too cute?

Tomorrow I shall be mostly editing...

... if you see me anywhere near here then shout at me... loudly.
But before you do, if anyone can come up with a one line shoutline for Jumping in Puddles, I'd appreciate it.

It's the story of four lone parents in a small village in Donegal, which makes Stepford look like Metropolis. Each has a very different story and very different background but find they forge amazing friendships which help them cope with the good and bad in their lives.
Oh, and it's all made possible through a lone parent support group run by the formidable Bernie - who might just have a story of her own to tell.

At the moment - while having a crisis of confidence about my writing - the current shoutline in my head is "Please buy it and say you like it" but I'm thinking that's not what the publishers are after. I'm thinking they want something a bit more....

"In a wee village in Donegal, no one can hear you scream..." (Not quite representative of the book)

"Four friends, four stories and a whole heap of wine..." (The wine was consumed by the author...)

"Friendship comes in the most unexpected of places" (Too twee????)


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter bunny

Here she is, one month, one week and one day old...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things I have to had to stop myself saying in the last five weeks...

In reply to "Are you feeding her yourself?"-
"No I have a team of robot nannies who do it for me".

No, I'm not breastfeeding but yes, I am actually still managing to feed her myself the majority of times. It does not mean I love her any less or care any less for her future thank you. And she is thriving - so while I appreciate your concern for the welfare of my child - trust me she is just bloody fine so butt bloody out.

And secondly... in response to "Are you using real nappies?"
"No, I prefer the imaginary ones."

I don't use cloth nappies because they don't suit me. That does not mean disposables are not "real". I do use reusable baby wipes however (which grosses my sister out...) so I'm not totally un-eco aware.

Parenthood and the competitiveness which comes with it really, really sucks.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pretending to be intelligent

Part of being a published writer/ publicity whore is that from time to time you get requests to do certain press things. Sometimes these are about your book. Some times they are fairly random and just fill a line a wider article about something topical. Recent short one liner interviews have included pondering on who I would hate to be stuck in a lift with, what I think of two-timer dirt bags (clue in how I've worded that one...), what my favourite Abba song is and, today, what my favourite Seamus Heaney poem is.
For those who don't know (which is my husband), Seamus Heaney is a vay famous County Derry born poet. His works are standard fair here at GCSE and many's a young local person will have studied the poem of horror that is 'Digging'.
So when I was asked what my favourite Seamus Heaney poem was my initial response was "Well, not fecking Digging, anyway".
I did remember that I found 'Mid Term Break' - a poem about the death of a four year old - very moving so I opted for that. But when I was asked what other Heaney poems I liked I struggled. I cast my mind back to those long hours studying for my GCSEs but my mind was a blank.
I no longer remember award winning poetry. The only poems circling through my head on a regular basis are nursery rhymes and I'm pretty sure Heaney didn't write 'Pat-A-Cake'.
Thank crunchy for Google and the ability to type while chatting on the phone however. I hope I managed to sound at least a little bit intelligent.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Some blogs of note

If you are wanting a wee look around blog land and fancy something new and interesting... and vay funny... then please stop by
Slightly South of Sanity - it is quite possible you will laugh til you pee. The thing is, it's all true. I know the lady is question and she has the ability to turn the more serious of things into laugh out loud moments and believe me she has been through some serious crap. (Two bouts of post natal psychosis for a start...).
Anyway, please read and if there is a God out there can someone give her a publishing deal?

And if you want something really very new then stop by the blog of Deborah Riccio - a writer friend who also the ability to make every situation funny.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Book 4 - the sex scene dilemma

So when I attended a recent writers' event in the Central Library in Derry two of my fellow authors commented that my work is a wee bit racy.

I never thought it to be so, to be honest. Yes, there is a fair smattering of swearing and in Feels Like Maybe there is the odd bonk - after all it is a novel about baby making and all it entails. But none of it is graphic.

Now book 4 is something a little different (and no, it's not a Jackie Collins bonkbuster type thing... fear not). It is essentially a romantic comedy - the story of a woman so determined to have the happy ending she imagined in her childhood that she would do anything to find "the one" before her self imposed deadline.

That involves kissing (and, well, shagging) a few frogs. Now I'm not comfortable writing sex scenes. To quote Eliza Doolittle, I'm a good girl I am.
But I can't really write a modern romantic comedy without a fair smattering of sexy stuff. But at the same time I know my granny will read it - so it has to be fairly clean.
Today I wrote a big date scene - one of the pivotal moments in the novel - and yes, it did end with the two characters getting intimate. And I'm blushing already at the thought of my agent and my publisher reading it - even though it's really not graphic at all.
You would think two babies in, I would have no qualms with talking about intimate human relations - it would seem I'm wrong.

Madonna and Child

*NB written before the decision of the Malawi court yesterday.

So Madonna wants to adopt another baby – this time an absolutely gorgeous four year old girl from Malawi called Mercy James.
The wee tot is a picture of beauty, with huge innocent eyes and gorgeously chubby wee legs. Heck, if I wasn’t all babied out myself at the moment I’d want to take her home with me.
But the thing is Mercy James has a family – a grandmother who desperately wants to keep her and uncles who do not want the child to leave the country of her birth to live in America.
This is not about, for them, the fact that Madonna is a megastar and may or may not be a bad influence on their beloved Mercy.
It is not the case that they are so blind-sighted they do not want the child to have the best of everything. It’s just that they know something that a lot of really should – that having everything money can buy is far from the same thing as having everything a child wants or needs.
Madonna used to be a hero of mine. In fact in the first album I ever owned was ‘True Blue’ and I’d prance around our house having a good old sing song to myself about someone’s love fitting me like a glove. I thought her songs innocent.
(Although I admit I never felt comfortable singing ‘Like a Virgin’ in front of anyone. I hadn’t a baldy notion what a virgin was – apart from some vague notion of Our Lady – but I knew it was not the kind of song my parents would appreciate their eight year old singing as her party piece either).
I spent many a night swirling around to ‘La Isla Bonita’ or singing about getting myself into the groove. I even stood by my hero during her controversial ‘Like a Prayer’ days when she got into all sorts of hot water for cavorting with a Jesus figure in the video.
But then, you see, she got a bit, well, sluttish. And it all appeared a little desperate. It no longer seemed like she was a woman championing equality and the power of the female sex. It just seemed like increasingly she was a sad old baggage stripping off to sell records. It seemed as if she was causing controversy for the sake of causing controversy. And while she still had the occasional good record, she certainly wasn’t the kind of person who would look at and automatically point out as good mother material.
She has not slowed down on her career path one jot – and while, of course, I’m all for working mothers there has to be a time when any of us with responsibility for young children makes certain sacrifices. Oh yes, still work. Oh yes, still bring out records. Oh no, please do not strip off to your scanties and talk graphically about your personal sexual preferences.
And please, while your babies are young, put them first – don’t run around the world promoting your music like a single woman with no commitments. Your children need you more than your fan base does. And if you can’t be there for your children then why have more?
It feels, at the moment, if her bid to adopt Mercy James is just one more attempt to court controversy – one more dramatic, headline grabbing plot to increase her profile.
I’m not for one second saying she should not adopt children. I’m not for one second saying that to take on someone else’s child is not a great and noble thing but you have to question Madonna’s methods and motives.
She is asking that, for the second time, the laws and practices of a country be bent and changed to suit her needs and wants. She is expecting to be handed a child – and seems to have no regard for what that child’s birth family want. In short she is running rough shod over the feelings not only of a family but of a nation and I have to say the whole thing smacks of an unprecedented level of arrogance.
We have to ask ourselves why this child? Why, when there are hundreds of orphans with no birth families in Malawi does Mercy James fit the Madonna profile? Why, when there are indeed many young children in the UK and America in need of adoptive homes does Madonna seemed determined to have this child, and only this child? Is it that she is approaching the whole thing like you would a shopping trip?
Is that she is so used to getting her own way, she can’t imagine anyone ever saying no to her? Not even a whole country?
That in itself marks her out as not great parent material – not to this little girl anyway. I hope Mercy James finds happiness. I hope that if Madonna does adopt her she is loved and cherished as all four year olds should be. I hope that Madonna proves me wrong – even if I’m certain she doesn’t give a flying fig what I or anyone else thinks.
But I hope, more so, that the wants and needs of Mercy’s family are taken into consideration as indeed are the laws of Malawi and that this superstar doesn’t get what she wants just because she makes a big enough fuss and throws around enough money.
Children are not commodities to be bought and sold. They are precious gifts – whether you give birth to them yourself or adopt them. Madonna would do well to remember that.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

It's a sunny day

The baby is wearing a vay cute romper with a frilly bottom. Better still she is asleep.
My house is clean and smelling of vanilla candles. Washing is drying on the line while the new washing machine spins exceptionally quietly in the background. (Should have realised our other one was fecked by the fact it sounded like it was taking off on every spin cycle... funny how you get used to something...)
I'm planning to go for a walk later. I might even write a little.
And tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer! I may just take to sitting out in the garden and soaking up some sunshine while I can.
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