Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day five in the big flu house

And Claire is starting to hallucinate with boredom. She can't even spend time with her children for fear of smiting them. (Is that a word? Claire no longer knows which words are real and which she is just randomly making up).
Claire has been trying to sleep. But can't. She can't breathe through her nose and her throat is swollen like a balloon. Upshot is she has to sleep with her gob hanging open which leads to manky drool situation. And there is snoring. LOTS of snoring. Kind of even when she is awake.
And she's moaning a lot (too much according to the husband). And by moaning we mean actual moaning as in "ooooh, ooooww, aaaaah" as opposed to her bog standard "Did ye see the state of that" moaning.
She has not written.
Probably a good thing given the propensity to make up words at the moment.
She is grateful to not be at work. Her sub would be having a field day (Sorry Mary, but you would be ashamed of me. My it's and its have all gone to hell....)
She had forgotten just how crappy a flu feels.
And it's the summer. And her wee man wants to go swimming.

Oh it is officially flu. But not swine flu. Just ordinary flu. No one she knows is posh enough to have gone to Mexico.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Paddling pools and sexy ladies

As I am languishing "in me pit" with some weird Derry version of Swine Flu (Doherty's Sausages Flu?) I am today directing your attention elsewhere for a wee giggle.

Go on, treat yourself.


In the fickle world of bookselling...

colour changes sometimes happen.

I happen to love it. It has extra sparkle and oomph.

What do you think?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

She put it better than I did

Heather B Armstrong, at Dooce, has recently become a mummy for the second time.
Her first child - a little girl called Leta - was born on the same day as Joseph.
Anyway, here she blogs about her new arrival and she says everything I've beent trying to say for the last four months and failing miserably at.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Can you tell what it is yet?

Here are lines from the last five songs I've listened to on Spotify --- a bit random.

Can you name the songs without the aid of Google??

  • Close your eyes and rest your weary mind. I promise I will stay right here beside you...
  • You spoke to me with another tongue but I understood alright, Cause I believe in feeling. But that's not all, there's something else.
  • And I can't do this by myself. All of these problems, they're all in your head .
  • Everybody's got opinions girl,their own versions of a good idea. But the best one I can think of now, is to make sure that I keep you near.
  • You must not know 'bout me, You must not know 'bout me, I could have another you in a minute. Matter fact he'll be here in a minute, baby

Sorry for the quietness

My wee sister (the duck) gets married in three weeks. I have become a human taxi. Seriously... it's wee runs here and wee runs there and dressmakers and fabric shops and the hunt for shoes and all that carry on. It's tres exciting (even if I can't quite come to terms with the fact 'Our Duck' is getting married. She's only a wain... okay 28, with 2.5 kiddies... but a wain...)
Cara has been in hospital again (she's fine). I think she is going to be high maintenance. She is very pleasant when not scaring the bejaysus out of us but the rest of the time....
The boy has been demanding to make the most of the sunshine in the evenings with trips to the park. There is a "silver slide park" he likes to visit and he throws himself down the exceptionally slidey slides with not so much as a concern about the inevitable scrapes and bruises he will garner. It's fab and I'm kind of jealous. If I wasn't so sure I would get stuck half way down I would give it a whirl myself.
I'm also entering official edit on Jumping in Puddles with Gaye from the lovely people at Poolbeg. I am scared. Very ascared.... what if she hates it? Eep!

What I will say is this much... if you are buying a book next week please buy 'Beyond Sin' by Emma Louise Jordan - which is published by the lovely Poolbeg (and is from their Crimson range which is a bit meatier and scarier and all that oul stuff).
Emma is a CPF (close personal friend) and a disgustingly talented and prolific writer so buy it. You won't regret it.

And in other fabulous news for Norn Iron book lovers I heard yesterday that Anne Dunlop is writing a series of books carrying on from her wondering Pineapple Tart trilogy. I'm so excited I could pee - which I would if I could find the time betweenst all the wains and the like.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's my birthday..

And I'll cry if I want to...

Yes, I'm getting old.
I have wrinkles. My wrinkles have wrinkles.
My hair is greying.
And falling out.
My hands are starting to look like proper old lady hands.
And my feet? Let's not talk about my feet.
Same goes for my stomach and its stretch marks.

And, in the words of Sally from my all time favourite movie..
"I'm gonna be 40". (Okay, it's a few years off, but still....)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Wall...

I think there comes a time when every parent of a new infant hits "the wall".
Translation for the wall?
"I love you with every fibre of my being and I would die in an instant for you but I no longer remember who I am. I have become a winding, burping, feeding, nappy changing, laundry washing drudge. I have given up on trying to lose weight and my rubbery tummy is actually quite comforting. Sleep? I no longer remember the concept and even when I do sleep it is NEVER enough. I am always tired. ALWAYS. I hate going to sleep because I know I will wake up and when I wake up it will be the same again... the same nappy/feeding/ changing/ talking rubbish routine until bedtime. I have developed a love/hate relationship with the steriliser and while bath times are fun, I wish I could have one myself.
"I wish I could have a soak and not listen out for you. I wish that you would still be there and will always be here and don't get me wrong, I would crawl into the ground and die if anything ever happened to you... but this is hard work. Damn hard work. And I want to be again - even just a little."

And this is all worse second time around because I knew what I was getting myself in for anyway and still did it. SUCKER!

Can you tell i have hit the wall? This is the longest marathon of my life filled with worry, stress, drudgery and so much more.
But it is wonderful too. I love her. I love her so much it catches in my throat and I want to scream about her wonderfulness.
It doesn't take away the drudgery however.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Random Conversations with the Boy - continued

This one was from a few days ago, but it's so good, I have to share...

J: "Mammy, what did you call the wee boy who used to live with you before I was born?"
Me: "We didn't have a wee boy live with us. You are our first wee boy."
J: (exasperated) "Yes you did. The wee boy who ran out in front of a car and got knocked down and went to heaven."
Me: (Slightly freaked out at possible Sixth Sense moment in our house) "No, Joseph. Honest. We didn't have a wee boy before you."
J: "Yes you did and he was called Alan." (Think about it... with our surname???)

A few days later, J's grandad tells him how a little boy was knocked down close to where he works and needed to go to hospital.
J: "That happened to Alan Allan too. But he died."

I'm starting to wonder should I google Alan Allan.... just in case... Maybe Pyschic Joe is striking again and we could do a cracker line in mediumship?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random Conversations with the Boy - continued

So today the boy was home sick. You know one of those sick days which seem to magically get better around 9.30 only to have the sickness reappear at around bedtime?
(In fairness he has a bad aul bark on him and was warm this morning and with all this swine flu hysteria it's best not to take a chance).
Anyway - because he was off I had to miss out on taking Miss Boo to our weekly baby massage class. (Which usually I go to with my sister and her 9 month old Ethan - who does not like massage. In her words "He gets one oily leg and spends the rest of the session trying to eat the other babies..." - he goes for the feet - the boy is all about the feet....)
I was lamenting this fact (missing the class - not Ethan's foot fetish) to my other sister this evening when J pipes up: "Mammy did you not go to the baby moustache class then?"

I like the idea of a baby moustache class. It made me laugh in a very undignified manner.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

oooooh and another thing

Jumping in Puddles is now on pre-order at Amazon!


Me and Tom Hanks - who'd a thunk it?

Watch for the very last frame... there's me, beside proper authors!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Aaaaaah choo!


It's a fecker.

I'm sneezing and wheezing like a good 'un. I've also a really sore throat which may or may not be related to the aforementioned hayfever. Oh and my neck is fecked too - which makes reverse parking a joy (not that is is never not a joy. I was not designed for the reverse park. We are not friends...).

Anyway - quiet on here as I'm being uber productive on book 4 and writing loads. Better still I'm enjoying it.

All that, and dealing with a teething baby, writing my column for the Journal, trying to write a preface for a charity booklet and preparing for a writing class which I'm guest speaker at next week.

I'll try and write more soon, honest.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

One more day

The story of five year old Samuel Puttick and his parents Neil and Kazumi has made me shed more than my fair share of tears this week.
Samuel, paralysed from the neck down at just 18 months old died last week of meningitis. But the tragedy doesn’t end there. His parents were so consumed with grief at their loss that they took their precious son’s body, bundled it into a rucksack along with some of his favourite toys and jumped – along with it – off Beachy Head.
The parents were, by all reports, completely devoted to each other and simply could not imagine life without their only child.
They are a family who endured more tragedy in their time together than most of us do in a life time and my heart broke thinking of what they must have been through and what prompted these two people to take their own lives.
As a parent the loss of a child is, without a doubt, my biggest fear. (Of course if I’m ever asked in an interview I answer that my biggest fear is fish. I prefer to keep things light hearted and I don’t like, even for a second, to contemplate the loss of either of my children).
If I’m honest I don’t like to contemplate the loss of anyone I love – but for some reason the loss of a child is the worst fear imaginable. From the minute they enter your life they grab your heart and hold on tight and you can’t imagine them being gone from your existence even for one second.
The Putticks found out last week what it was like to experience that unimaginable loss and for me the scariest thing is that for any of us, life can change in a heartbeat.
Last week we had a health scare with the baby. She’d had a bad dose and was generally unwell – but amazingly still quite smiley, unlike me who adopts a Mother of Sorrows approach to even the common cold. But on Wednesday she got worse. Her high pitched screaming set off alarm bells in my head and when I noticed a purplish rash on her legs, I did fear the absolute worst.
Like a screaming harpee I called to my husband to bring me a glass and when the marks on her leg did not fade under the pressure of the glass I felt the relative peace and calm of our last 12 weeks fall away from under me. My baby was sick. Potentially she was seriously ill. Potentially we could lose her.
I have never felt so scared.
Thankfully, and here I must commend the medical staff at Cityview Medical, we were seen within half and hour and dispatched to hospital. Cara underwent blood tests and was put on a high dose antibiotic for three days. I spent my nights sleeping in a small and uncomfortable bed checking her every 3 minutes for signs of the rash spreading, or her temperature rising again and just making sure she was still breathing.
We were incredibly lucky. She didn’t have meningitis, as it turns out. It was a viral infection – but for those three days I sailed close to where no parent should ever have to go. I felt lost. I felt terrified and yet at the same time I felt lucky. My daughter was receiving superb medical attention. Our concerns were being taken exceptionally seriously. We may not have wanted to be in hospital in the first place but we knew we were in the best place possible for a sick child.
While there, and in isolation, I watched countless parents walk up and down the corridor with their babies and children. I wondered were they all as scared as I was? Where they having the same fears? Where they also realising just how lucky they were?
When I was pregnant with Cara a friend sent me a copy of a book called ‘Waiting for Birdy’ by Catherine Newman which, to simplify it, is the true life story of one woman’s second foray into parenthood.
At one stage in the book her son develops a viral infection – one which makes him quite seriously ill. As she writes about his recovery she muses that she is lucky in that she has so much to lose. I have to say I understand where she was coming from.
The whole experience – and indeed the story of the Putticks – has reminded me of an old poem that I bring out to read when the “joys” of parenthood become too much.
“Just for Today” by Sally Meyer says what all parents should remember – especially when the wains have been driving us to distraction and making us want to reach for the vodka and/or a king sized chocolate bar.
It seems apt that I share it a passage from it with you, today.

And tonight when you are sleeping safe and warm in your bed,
I will think of the mothers and fatherswho mourn for the children they have lost.
I will remember the parents who sit by hospital beds,
watching over the little ones they love.
I will weep for those parents whose children are cold,
hungry and suffering,
and .... this evening,when I kneel down to pray,
I will simply be grateful for all that I have
and not ask for anything...
except just one more day.

Gratuitous Sunday baby picture

I know, I know... but she's so darn cute...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Random conversations with the boy # Chris Moyles

So the boy loves Chris Moyles, especially that Nana Window song. So this morning we are driving to school listening to the show when Joseph pipes up to his cousin..

"Abby, I know what Chris Moyles looks like. He has spikey things all round his face. And he has grey hair and brown eyes. He has a good big tummy and a nose like us. He has nice long legs."

The spikey things are stubble, I hope.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

You know last week when I said I looked like Frank from Shameless...

Well it has come to my attention that my hair seems to be falling out, in rather large clumps.
They say it's a post pregnancy thing, but to be completely honest I'm now rather worried I'm going to end up looking like Andy from Little Britain.

Does anyone have any good comb over styles for an almost 33 year old woman??? I could just try the basic sweep over the top, or be adventurous and go for a walnut whip effect.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

This made me laugh so hard I almost choked...

It gets better as it goes on, honest. Wait for the possessed choir boys.

Monday, June 01, 2009

I wrote today!

..and yesterday.
And I'm loving it.
I was thinking earlier how I should sit and plot things out methodically but what I like about writing is how my characters and their actions can sometimes surprise even me.
The last time I got so excited about a surprise was when writing Rainy Days as Grace really came into her own. Now Annie is coming into her own and it's fabulous.
She's a ridiculously flawed character - but then I write flawed characters so well because I'm a big one myself (in every sense of the word).
I get a buzz when I think about this book - and I like that. I like that a lot.
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