Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas

This Christmas thing is complicated. The gifts, the cards, the stocking fillers, the social gatherings - that's all child's play. Individual perception is a totally different thing. Not to mention the changes in perception throughout the different stages of your life.

When I was small, as in under 10 years of age, Christmas was all about the magic of Santa Claus, his reindeer, writing letters to him and the excitement and anticipation of his arrival. Par for the course for the average Western World child.

When I was 10, tragedy struck our family. We lost my sister 4 weeks before Christmas. From then on Christmas became an emotional scam. The Christmas movies, advertisements and expectations made it seem as if my family wasn't living up to the standard of Christmas and that we were failing miserably at achieving the Christmas dream. Two years later, my parents separated and my new found hate for Christmas was alive and well. From then on it was about who had me for Christmas and who had me for New Years. And once that was sorted out, Christmas was shared with strangers who would eventually become somehow part of my family. Step this, step that, half this, half that....the future dreaded question from all new acquaintances from then on was:
- 'Do you have any brothers or sisters?'
- 'Uh, how long have you got?'

As I got older I openly stated my utter hatred for Christmas and I became quite ok with that. I would explain it away about my 'emotional scam' belief and my friends were always understanding. My expectations were so low when it came to Christmas that I was well protected from any possibility of hurt. Emotional shields up! Success!

Then I had kids. Everything changed. Christmas became magical again. I even began to love it again. Who would have ever thought? We created our traditions, and my need for making everything perfect went beyond any necessity for it to be so. Presents were bought and wrapped by November 30th, the perfect shaped tree was always found, the perfect recipe found for preparing Brussels sprouts was applied and the pressure was full-on, by no one else but me.

Over the last few years, the expectation of Christmas was so high that we were always a little let down by not watching the movie we said we would, or by coming down with strep throat or a chest infection. The only way was down instead of up. I couldn't outdo myself, no matter how hard I tried.

As I approach my 40th birthday with less than two months to go and I have celebrated my last Christmas in my thirties, I am happy to say that there was no huge expectation this year. The tree is not perfect, the lights are a little on the wild side, my youngest has an upper respiratory infection, and half the movies we said we'd watch still haven't been watched and maybe won't be at all and, it doesn't matter.

The expectation of Christmas is what your mind sets it up to be, nothing more and nothing less. Took me 39 Christmases to figure that out so take it from me and choose your expectations wisely and, if you do, you will have a great one!

Now for those New Year's resolutions....but that's a whole other blog post. Watch this space!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mid-life crisis over!

A lot of my readers have been wondering where I've been. The truth is, I've been avoiding writing as a result of some ill intent people reading my blog and it's creeping me out! Initially I found it amusing, now I just find it annoying! Do they not realise that I can see who reads my blog? Anyway, a few well placed words from my true friends and here I am again not buying into my online stalkers' drama. So off with you-lot already!

So, where was I? Oh yes, well I'm busy, busy, busy....and what does that have to do with anything? Well let me tell you - as my life gets longer (39 years, 8 months and 27 days to be exact), my 24 hours a day feels more like 4 hours! Although not the most exciting of jobs, this stay at home Mum is constantly on the go and sometimes feels like a dog, running around in circles, chasing it's tail! Ugh!

The last few months have had me intensely disliking my role - being bored with it, toying with the idea of getting back into the work place and almost feeling unhappy. The other day while talking about where my life was going, a friend of mine said to me: 'pity you didn't do a degree'. Did I mention I LIVED with this friend for two years while in college? She of course corrected herself immediately and I laughed. But it does prove a point. This is how I am now perceived: the stay-at-home-mum with no qualifications. So, let me just set the record straight, for what its worth, I have BA (Hons) Business Information Management degree.

Anyway, as you can imagine, that kind of threw me over the edge into a mini mid-life crisis. Turning 40, with what seemed like a pathetic perception out there and not pursuing my passion just seemed wrong; but how can you pursue your passion when you are not entirely sure what that passion is?

I started to look into the prospect of getting back out into the workplace. The more I dug, the more I realised how complicated life would be for me and the rest of my family. I would end up worrying about my kids, that my home life would suffer as a result of my absence and that my husband wouldn't be able to entirely focus on his career as he too would have to pick up the slack resulting from my 'career' move. Then it dawned on me. I cared more about the consequences to family than I did about some job I went to, to break the monotony. I also realised that my 14 year old would still be in her old school, had I been working 3 months ago. The time and energy it took to put her in another school wouldn't have been available to me. I also realised that taking time off would have been difficult when my 7 year old had got tonsils out. And that we would never have gotten our little canine bundle of joy, as it just wouldn't have been fair to get a dog and leave him alone all day long. I wouldn't have been able to dedicate my full time energy to any of it. Then I started wondering what the future would hold for my family if they needed me and I was in work? I soon realised that my passion is in fact my family and that I am already pursuing my passion. What a result!

When I was a teenager, all I wanted was to have a stable home life, most likely due to the fact that I lacked one growing up. That is what I wished for, and that is what I got. How lucky am I? My daughters are well mannered, confident, intelligent, trustworthy, secure and healthy girls. My husband is loving, generous, considerate and a fantastic provider for our little family. As for me, I am happy to say that I am the backbone of our home life and very proud of it.

The point? Milestone's, such as turning 40 allow us to take stock and consider changes in our lives. It's an opportunity to evaluate where we are, who we surround ourselves with and how much we've achieved thus far. I'm glad of the opportunity and I'm happy to say that my life is as it should be, and that I am living my passion with passion. 

Mini mid-life crisis over!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Live as you mean to go on.....

I know, I know, it's been ages! I kind of lost my way, or I've kind of been pulled away! Life just gets busier and busier and it's been an adjustment having the girls back in school and, more specifically, having my eldest in a new school. With her change, came a brand new routine and that can be wearing; especially when you are in the final throws of your thirties!

I am well on my way and there's no turning back. In four months, my thirties will be a thing of the past. I'm sure all you under forties are saying 'oh no, that's awful', but I'm also pretty sure that those of you that are on the other side of forty are saying 'good riddance'! Why am I so sure? Simply because I'm beginning to believe it too! Bye bye trying to make everything perfect, because nothing is. Bye bye saying YES to everyone, because NO feels so much better. Bye bye worrying about what people think, because they are no better than me, or worse - for the most part anyway. And of course bye bye to drama - never liked you anyway. Big sigh - and it feels great!

With only four months to go to the inevitable forty, I decided to buy my dress for my birthday party, or at least look for one. I walked into a very expensive and exclusive shop, tried on two dresses and bought the second one I tried on! This is not like me. I am normally a bargain hunter, a high street shopper and I almost never buy anything full price, but today I did, and it felt great! Not only did I get the dress but I also got the shoes too....and may I say, they are simply fabulous! So, time to lose that stone I've put on and make sure I look nothing like my age on the day of my fortieth birthday! 

Live as you mean to go on. I finally am!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

False Start? Who cares? Onwards and upwards we go....

Wow, I'm wiped out! Be careful of what you anticipate and dread because it could be worse than you thought! Two weeks ago, I was not looking forward to the start of the rat race but boy I had no idea what laid ahead! 

Last week my eldest went back to school, and as a result of a horrible group of girls and the poor management of her school, we decided to take her out and put her in what we hoped would be a better school. In 24 hours, she was withdrawn from one school, registered in another - new uniform, new books and a new start. Scary stuff! Would it be worth it? Would she adjust? How would we make her see it's for the best when deep down we were only 85% sure that it was for the best? Three school days on, and I can say it was worth it.  She is adjusting and it is definitely for the best. Looking back, it was meant to be. The new school only had one available place, with all her subject choices and, coincidentally, she is in the very same school her grandmother went to. Definitely worth the hassle, the money and the tears we all shed! 

Today, as I have the time to sit down and write this, I feel like a warrior Mum and that I am the mother I've always wanted to be.  The lesson I've learned and have taught my daughter is that there are horrible people and horrible situations that will walk in to your life, but you can always choose to walk away and put yourself in a better situation. It's about taking control of your life and choosing change despite human nature's urge to resist it.

It has been a dramatic week....imagine! Drama, and all this time I've been saying no to it! But do not get me wrong, that short burst of drama was the price paid to say NO to future drama. I have explained to my lovely 14 year old daughter that there will be horrible people in school, in work and every other area of her life. The point is, that negative people are rampant and, unfortunately for her, this is a lesson that she has to learn.

So my advice to her now that she can start again? First and foremost, be yourself when making new friends! When someone talks to you behind another person's back, you can be sure they will be talking behind your back too. When someone is befriending someone who you know they have viciously bitched about in the past...walk away as fast as you can and be sure that history will repeat itself. 

As for the people you leave behind? They may have had no interest when you're around but I guarantee they are itching to know everything about you now. They'll want to know how you're getting on, they will stalk you on-line (Oh, by the way, hi to all my online stalkers...I know you're out there!) and they will use any common social link they have to find out every detail of your new life and continue to be malicious when speaking of you. Sad sad little people....

This I know for sure, believe me! God bless those 39 years I have under my belt! Onwards and upwards my dear daughter and never ever look back at the rubbish you left behind!

Monday, August 22, 2011

On my marks, get set, GO!

And so the end is near.... No I'm not going to burst into Frank Sinatra's song, I'm just simply stating a fact. Less than a week to go and the kids are back to school! Was the summer good? You bet! Am I looking forward to next week.... hmm, not so sure!

We have my eldest who is in the final year of a three year secondary school program so she will be sitting very important exams in June and that's a great recipe for motherly stress! We also have my youngest's First Holy Communion and we live in Ireland so yeah, an Irish Communion!  This is no Canadian 'simplicity is the way forward' Communion where you wear the alter boy robes, make your communion, and go home. Nope!  Here we turn 7 and 8 year old girls into mini brides! By Christmas, all the mothers standing outside the school will be going on and on about their daughter's dress, whether their angel will be wearing a veil or not and how they have everything bought and can't wait for the day. 'Blah, blah, blah!'. Once January hits, everyone will be talking about the what the weather is predicted to be in May. Yes, I said MAY! And believe me, everyone is an expert! For those who haven't bought the dress by then, it will be then end of the world! Everyone will be going on about how there are NO dresses left in the country. Drama! And what do I say to drama? All together now: 'NO!'

So, am I looking forward to going back? You tell me... I mean, by next week, once we're back to school, people will be talking about their Christmas shopping (seriously, I know someone who already has two Christmas presents bought), and of course we are more than halfway to that 40th birthday mark. Yikes! Ok, I need to lie down....

There's a lot ahead and it seems like next week is the start line of a real life rat race. I better get my runners out. If you see me on my travels, cheer me on!  

Ok, on my marks, get set, GO!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

You can't teach an old dog new tricks....or can you?

Yes, yes, yes, I'm still here! Not much going on in my outside world but on the inside it's been quite incredible. A few years back, the big craze was Eckart Tolle's book A New Earth, which taught us all to let go of the ego and live in the moment. Forget the past and not to focus too much on the future. Live in the now. It was something I thought was brilliant but never really knew how to apply it in my own life. You see my mind is constantly on the go and it is always very difficult to stay focussed on what is going on in the immediate present. Whether it be the sun shining, the trees swaying or the sound of a bus flying by. Very easy to read about and understand but applying it was never very easy, and to be honest very hard work. However recently I have seen a true example of someone being in the now and doing it with such ease and grace. Yes, my little four legged friend has taught me a lot. 

-'What???' I hear you say. 'Have you lost the plot?' 
-'Well, maybe....'

What I've observed is that my dog gets excited about the smallest things. Whether it be a plane flying overhead, someone walking through the door or the simplicity of someone noticing him. Whatever it may be, his tail wags faster than the speed of light and it is a delight to see. 

Puppies can get into trouble and discipline is necessary to have them socialised. Whether it be a reprimand for biting or for sneaking off with a paper receipt that he believes would be great to eat; it's important to correct him and show him right from wrong. Does he hold it against you? Nope. Does he see you coming and think 'Oh here's that woman who told me off for biting last night! What a bitch!' Nope. He is loyal, he is forgiving, he is joy in the now and he is an example to us all. 

I heard someone say once that holding grudges, living in the past or being forever angry with someone is like drinking poison and hoping that the person you are angry with gets poisoned. They don't. They move on, they find happiness and you end up in this dark and lonely head space.  Doesn't really make any sense now, does it? Bit too deep for a Sunday afternoon? Fair enough. The point is that my dog has taught me to live in the now and enjoy every minute of it because before you know it, the moment will pass....be it good or bad.

Who knew that a dog was going to teach this 39 year old something new and profound? Apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks....


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Namaste

Ok, so there's hasn't been that much going on over the last few weeks. Life has kind of stood still since puppy has come along. I'm happy to say that we've made the necessary progress to get on with our normal everyday life, except this normal now involves a pooper scooper! This new normal has given me a new perspective on life and the joy of a having a dog that I never fully understood until this little creature came along.

So now that we are ok to get on with everyday life, it's the final Harry Potter movie for my 14 year old daughter, her friend and I tonight. This, even for this 39 year old, is HUGE! Mr. Potter and the gang have been part of our lives since my eldest was 6. My husband and I read the books with her, saw the movies in the cinema and bought all the movies at Christmas as they came out on DVD. They became a Christmas tradition in our house, and will probably always be. The final movie is the end of an era. Seems like a theme this week....

In Ireland we are behind on American television. Over the last few days, the last few Oprah's were aired on Irish television and this marks the end of an era for me. In 1986, when Oprah started, I was 14. Perfect age to be interested in watching her show. From then on, I never let go and I definitely grew up with her. What a privilege. She was there everyday like the mother I didn't have as a teenager and a growing woman. It may well be the end of an era but, in true Oprah style, I choose to view it as a new beginning. I've grown up, I've sorted through most of my issues and I have the skills to do it on my own. Thanks Oprah!

No sadness, just anticipation. If life can give us Oprah and JK Rowling and if we, as a people, strive to continuously improve, than I am happy to wait for whatever new marvels lay ahead. In the meantime, I stand still in this moment.

Namaste.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hope you're excited too!

What a week it's been! Yes, the never say never has once again been fully applied to my life. If you would have told me five months ago that I'd be getting a dog soon, I would have rolled around the floor laughing in hysterics. Ok, so now I'm not laughing but I am loving this new experience!

My little puppy boy is 8 weeks old and he is hard work, but also a little bundle of joy. It's kind of like having a baby in the house. He's smart, inquisitive and very good, for the most part. He of course has a lot to learn, but he seems to be learning quickly.

I've seen more of my 14 year old in the last week than I have in the last month. Somehow her room is not as appealing as being downstairs with us and our new edition. My 6 year old's nose is a little bit out of joint but she does loves him dearly. He's inadvertently teaching her that you can't always be the centre of attention and that has to be a good lesson to learn early on in life.

I have to say I did a lot of research before getting the dog so that I'd know what to expect and also to give him the best start in his life. It's paid off and I am really enjoying this new experience. Again, here I am at 39 years of age making this big deal about turning 40 in my head - so much so that I felt compelled to blog about it, as you well know. The surprise is that I've learnt a hell of a lot in the last 5 months, I've had a lot of new experiences that I would never have believed would be part of my life, and my understanding of life seems to come a lot easier than it ever has. If this is in fact an indication of what the future holds than I am really excited about it!

Hope you're excited too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Told you so!

Ever say something to someone and get a reaction that makes you go 'hmm, there's something not right here' but you can't put your finger on it? Then a few days later someone tells you something relevant to that person and a whole bunch of pennies drop? We all know that instance where your gut told you before your brain could process it, right? It happens all the time throughout our lives. I've always had it, just like everyone else, but never really knew how to recognise it or use it. In fact, I would go as far as saying that I was pretty dense when it came to using that 'sixth sense' and, as a result, it got me in a lot of sticky situations where blind trust was given and where my gut feeling was utterly ignored... but no more. 

Now I'm aware and I'm looking for it. This may make for a quieter me, if that's at all possible, and even a me who stands back and observes as opposed to jumping in feet first. Isn't that just amazing? It's like I've opened up a  gift that was always there but was always slightly out of my peripheral vision. It's just another thing that I marvel in now. First it was how life always works everything out and now, not only can I trust life, but I can trust my own intuition. It's like I've had eyes all my life, but only decided to open them at the age of 39.

So from now on when I get that feeling, I'll know, it's just a matter of time before all is revealed....and when it is, I'll say to myself: 'Told you so!'

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Time to face facts!

My hair has started to agree with my age and I am currently waiting to see how my patch test pans out. Yes, I bought a hair colour. In the past week I have found so many white hairs that if I pulled them all out I'd have a thinning problem. I have mentioned before that I've never really died my hair before, except during the teenage angst phase and let's face it, that's a different story! I was always happy with my own hair colour and would always get compliments about it. Even now, you need to look up close to realise that the discoloured hairs are white and not blond. I could get away with it for a while longer, but I don't want to wait until its so obvious that my hair colour is being discussed by all and sundry.

So I guess the real question is how do I feel about it? Well not as bad as I thought, but now the dying and maintenance begins. Luckily my eldest is a fashion and beauty lover and she has my back. Tomorrow is the big 'dying my hair day' and according to my beauty expert it's a great thing - the shine off my hair will be fab!

The bottom line for me is that I'm less than thrilled about having to dye my hair as it is a very real reminder that I'm ageing. On the other hand, what's the big deal? Everybody is ageing! In fact, anyone who is smug about their youth will only have a harder landing when they catch up. That's the only fair thing in life - those who are allowed to, will in fact age. What is unfair is those who don't get the opportunity to do so. In fact, in all cases, its more than unfair, it's tragic.

So with that in mind, I say 'bring it on'....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I love the way life works....

So, do any of you ever say 'that couldn't have worked out any better'? Does it amaze you every time? For me the older the get (did I mention I'm 39?) the more I'm in awe of how life works. And it really does 'work'.

Simple thing: Neighbour has a gardener in.  Neighbour tells gardener to take down wall creepers as a favour to us. Outcome? We are left with piles and piles of waste and nowhere to dispose of it. Bright idea! Lets have a neigbourhood cleanup on Saturday and then we can dispose of it with the rest of the neighbourhood rubbish, which the council will gladly take away. Off to one of the residents association officers I go. Suggest it to her and she says: 'Did you check your mailbox? A leaflet saying that we're having a cleanup on Saturday was passed around 10 minutes ago'. Coincidence? Ask and you shall receive? Whatever it may be, my gardening gloves are at the ready and I'm thrilled with how all that worked out!

So that's my gardening mess sorted, but it sorted out more than that. I have another neighbour who has children around the same age as my youngest. She has been very standoffish for years and I have racked my brains trying to figure out what we could have possibly done to be given such a cold shoulder. As it happens, her husband organised Saturday's cleanup. I bumped into her this morning while taking our children to school and I grabbed the opportunity to tell her the 'funny story' about organising the cleanup. We ended up chatting about loads of things all the way to school and said we'd carry on our conversation on Saturday. Years of weirdness gone, all as the result of my next door neighbour 'gifting' us her gardener!

The point is that this sort of thing happens all the time. It's weird, it's great, it's unexplainable and I love it. The more you take note of it happening, the more it occurs. So watch out for your next coincidence or positive opportunity and marvel in. Appreciate it. The more you do appreciate it, the more it will work for you. I really do believe that. When faced with positive opportunities, grab them and trust that life will sort the rest out.

I really do love the way life works, not to mention life itself. Hope you do too!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Poof - Gone in a puff of smoke!

Holidays are great. They make you live a different life for a short period of time. You get away from it all and you dream bigger than you do when stuck in the daily slog of your routine. No cooking, no cleaning, no timetable and nothing to worry about except ensuring that you have enough sun protection on and that you don't miss breakfast in the morning. Pure bliss.

Then it's over in what seems to be more and more like a flash. Time doesn't slow down as much as it used to and a week is nothing in the ocean that is my 39 years of life. In fact, by the time I got back and faced the washing and the terrible Irish weather, I nearly wondered was it worth it at all? The answer to that is of course absolutely YES!

It's great having something to look forward to and even better when you finally get it. But isn't that the best part of life? There's always something around the corner waiting for you to enjoy, be it a holiday, a new puppy (only 4 weeks until he arrives), a good catch up with a friend, a movie, or just an evening in with your hubby accompanied by a good bottle of wine.

No sense on focusing on what you are dreading, like your holiday ending, or even Monday mornings. Nothing's permanent  and that is the beauty of living your life. There's always something around the corner to bring you joy. Enjoy the moment while you can because before you know it...

Poof! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reality check!

An interesting thing has happened over the last few days. After my last blog entry I got some interesting feedback from both my husband and a very close friend of mine. My blog is becoming a bit of 'look what I'm up to' and maybe a little too positive and happy. Having taken on board the criticism and having thought about it properly, they are probably right. So I'm going to drop the 'my life is so wonderful and my life is so busy', because at the end of the day who cares anyway, right?

The fact is, my life is far from perfect. The fact is, my life will never be perfect. The fact is, neither will yours. So why do we all try and portray our lives as such? Well it's a control thing - I should know as I've always had a need to be in control of everything around me. A bit ridiculous when you think about it. What's more ridiculous is that I, of all people, think I can take control. My big sister died at the age of 14 when I was 10. That should have been my first clue that ultimately we have no control over what happens in our lives. Okay, maybe that's an overstatement too. We do control as much as we can but the trick is to let go where we can't. That is the ultimate and most difficult thing to do - if you are anything like me.  I have learnt to let go instead of stress over things, which is a HUGE achievement for me. When I was 19, one of my closest friends used to say that if I had nothing to worry about, I'd be worried about that. He was right then, but he's not right today. You see as I get older I seem to be more trusting of life and it's bigger picture. I don't just see my own life, but my own life in the context of the majority of other people's lives in this ever so cruel world. I'm not talking about keeping up with the Jones', I'm talking about the women in Darfur or Afghanistan. So in that context, it's easy to see where the positivity and my appreciation comes from.

I would of course be lying if I said that small things, like the front of my house needing to be painted, don't grab my attention, because they do. I'm not Buddha on the hill seeing everything in perspective all the time, and far from it! I'm not saying that I go around as Miss Positivity from morning until night, because that would be a bold face lie. I'm grumpy, I lose my temper with my children, I argue with my husband and  I even give out about people (although since those two horrible women in the cafĂ©, I am making an effort not to). 

My life is not perfect, I am not perfect, nor will it or will I ever be. What I will say is that my blog is a medium that I use to outline my life's progression, and when I'm in the space of writing my blog, I'm allowed  to reflect and put my life into a rational perspective.  The fact is, I am in the small percentage of women on this planet who can vote, who had the opportunity to get a full education, who is and never will be submissive to anyone else and who has the freedom of speech here and wherever I go. It took me a long time to realise this but it doesn't take long for me to forget it when I'm wrapped up in the minutiae of my life. I have however found a space where I can take a few minutes to reflect on my life, and for those few minutes, I see the good in it and I am grateful for it.

I can be grumpy, I do give out to my children, I do argue with my husband, I do curse at other drivers, I do have falling outs with people and I am nowhere near perfection and nor do I strive to be. If you can't say the same, well maybe we can find you a good doctor who may help you to come to terms with reality... If you can, then find a space to be grateful for everything!

Friday, June 3, 2011

So much to look forward to!

We have so many fabulous things going on that I can't stay focused! 

Tomorrow we are going to visit a litter of dogs and our girls are going to pick one! Yep, we're getting a dog. The pups are four weeks old which means we will have him in four weeks time! This is such an exciting time for my kids and I have to say, for me too. My husband on the other hand is keeping his thoughts to himself...but we all know he's going to love the dog just as much as we will! I never thought we would see the day where we would get a dog! Only three months ago I would have laughed at anyone suggesting that I would ever have one (another example of never say never!).

But before we even get our new addition to the family, we are going to Greece on holiday. Fabulously perfect timing! My tonsil-free 6 year old is fully recovered and is in the clear to travel and, as life always manages,  it slots in with perfect timing - just before we get our little pet. Not to mention that we all need a holiday as it's been an eventful and drama filled school year. I'm happy to say that I've had enough of it and lets just get it over with already! Anyone remember what I say to drama? Well here's a reminder: big fat NO!

In advance of completely flushing the school year, I still have a few duties to fulfill as part of my eldest's school's Parents Association and  I also have duties with my youngest school tour next week. Yes, I'm the Mom going on the school tour, and my daughter is delighted that I am going! I'm going to take advantage of that, because there will come a time where there will be no way in hell that she'll want me anywhere near her school, let alone on her school tour!

At the end of all these events, the summer holidays will start for my youngest (my eldest got hers yesterday) and the very next day we go get our pup. Perfect timing to keep the girls busy during their time off. Life is great that way. It manages to fall into place like pieces of a puzzle.

So who cares about being 39? Well I guess a lot of people, but I don't. The reason? My life is busy and full and I frankly don't have time to sweat the small stuff! When I get to 50, it won't be as busy and I'd say I'll miss all of this and so I embrace it all!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Well I didn't see that coming, but I'm glad it did!

Now that my darling daughter is on the mend, we went out for lunch in our local coffee shop today. She enjoyed every minute of it and didn't want to leave, so we were there for a good hour. While she coloured and nibbled on her toasted sandwich, I drank my coffee and enjoyed just being out and about. 

My daughter was oblivious to what was going on around her but I wasn't. At the table next to us were two  of the most hateful women I've ever heard in my life! They sat there tearing everyone they knew apart! From how this person dressed, that one spent her money and how another decorated her house. 'She's this, she's that, she's the other'. It was revolting! How could two people agree to be so bitchy about everyone they knew? And from what I was hearing, they were definitely talking about their so called 'friends'. 

I'm sure we all meet people like this in our lives but it really got me thinking. Have I ever been guilty of this? Well I can't say that I haven't, but after hearing these women and how ugly it made them to me as people, I will definitely be making a conscious effort not to get dragged into that sort of conversation again. As I keep telling my children, if you have nothing nice or constructive to say, say nothing at all! Bitching for the sake of it and seeing bad in people where it doesn't really exist is pathetic, not to mention born out of insecurity and sheer jealousy! If you are more concerned about how others live their lives and you sit in judgement of them, you are simply showing up the worst in yourself. 

I have to say, I am grateful to have witnessed this today in such a shockingly obvious way. I have always tried to be understanding and compassionate about other people, but now I am making a point of it being a  new way of life. Funny how life put me in a voyeur situation today that evoked real emotion for me. I am grateful for it. I get to be a better person going forward and, at the end of the day, isn't that what we should all be striving for? Looking at ourselves for self improvement and not looking at others and ripping them apart to make ourselves feel better? 

If it strikes a cord with you, you are more than welcome to join me in this shift of consciousness....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Start spreading the news....

So my daughter is on day 9 post-op tonsillectomy and she has had a fairly rough ride. She developed an infection which led to her taking antibiotics, she then developed sores in her mouth which prevented her from eating, and THEN got a stomach bug. Needless to say she has been more than fed up and my heart has been breaking for her everyday. The last week has consisted of her lying miserably on the couch and me tending to her every need. Oh, and if that makes me sound great, well don't get too excited, I'm not. I did the best I could within my non-perfect human abilities. There have been moments where I wanted to pull my hair out, where I wanted to sit on the floor and cry and other moments where my child managed to eat a quarter of a piece of toast, and all I wanted to do was dance with pure joy because of her success. It's been tough, but the good news is that today she is better, better than she has been in 10 days. I think my fabulously brave little girl  has finally turned the corner. Pure joy, what a gorgeous feeling!

I've had about 5 hours out of my house in the last week, and when I have been out, it was simply to fulfill obligations that were in no way for enjoyment purposes - bar a quick cup of coffee with my coffee buddy in the middle of it all; thanks my friend! Whatever you do though, don't get me wrong, I couldn't have been anywhere else and I wouldn't have wanted to be either!

So I sit here, mid morning, in my pyjamas - my fashion statement of the week - wanting to impart some deep revelation I've had or some meaningful lesson I've learned. The best I can come up with is this: sometimes life stops you in your tracks and you have to do the best you can without completely losing the plot. Your joys come from the smallest things, like a bite out of a piece of toast and your prayers become more frequent than they have been in the longest of times.

Finally, today is a good day. My daughter is getting better and, as I type this, she is singing in the background  for the first time since this ordeal began! Pure bliss for my ears! Tonight I am going out for some well deserved R&R with a very good friend of mine. Wine and a chat. Nothing too exciting. Just a few drinks in our local pub. For me, it will be like getting off a plane from the depths of Africa and stepping into the always exciting New York City! 

'Start spreading the news....'

Friday, May 20, 2011

So happy to be 39.....

Did you know that when I look back on my life, there's no place I'd rather be then exactly where I am now? Can you believe that? No? Neither can I. How lucky for me!

What brought all this on? Well I haven't had a full night's sleep in 5 days, that's what! Talk about throw back to the baby days. I have no intention of ever going there again, although we are talking about getting a dog next month; but that's different. Dogs take 3 to 4 weeks to train, not 3 years!  This sleep deprivation thing has helped me to appreciate the wonderful stage I'm at in my life. My kids are still kids but can, for the most part, take care of themselves when it comes to their basic needs. My fabulous, not to mention hot, husband has a thriving career which he can focus on while I focus on our home and kids - and can I just say that I am blessed to be able to do it! My friends are plentiful and each one of them is fantastic in their own way. I have said no to drama and yes to being Zen - as much as that is possible for me. Let's face it, I can be quite of animated and extrovert. So let's just say Zen in my own way...

I'm not saying that I've achieved the ultimate in my life, or that nothing will ever change. I'm well aware that life can throw you curve balls, but for now, in this exact moment, sleep deprived or not, I am content. Content might sound boring for some, but I've had my fair share of drama in my life and I'm really not interested in any more, unless its positive drama of course, like winning the Lotto. Ooooh, now that would be dramatic! That I can handle and I welcome it with open arms.

By taking the time to blog about this to you, it has really allowed me to feel and reflect on how lucky I am. And no, it's not the sleep deprivation speaking, it's definitely me. Thanks for being there, whoever or wherever you may be!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My World is Fantastic!

People can be so kind. It seems like an obvious statement to make but it's very easy to become cynical as you go though your daily life. Whether it be someone cutting you off in traffic, banging their trolley into yours in the supermarket without an apology or even the horrific stories you read in the newspapers. It all contributes to your ability to become cynical and your acceptance that we do live in a sad world. Not very upbeat on my part, eh? Well, it's realistic...

My outlook on 'reality' changed this week. My 6 year old had her tonsils out 2 days ago. 'And?' I hear you say 'What's the big deal? Thousands of people get their tonsils out every day. They've survived and they're not traumatised!' The fact is, it was and is a big deal for us! My expectation was that we were the only ones who saw it that way. Boy was I wrong! We have been my bombarded with generosity, good wishes, unbelievable consideration and kindness. 

Firstly the nurses were incredible! They were thoughtful and they really saw my child. To me, in the midst of everything going on in this country and the impact it's had on them, those nurses are true heroes! My daughter reckons only the best nurses get to work with children. I'd say she could be right! Okay, but a lot of you would say it's their job and for most of them, their vocation. Granted, but I would argue that they did go the extra mile.

Secondly, I'm beginning to wonder if my daughter got her tonsils out or is it Christmas? The amount of beautiful gifts is unreal! Books, dolls, puzzles, games, pen sets, toiletries, etc. Her friend made her a gorgeous 'get well soon' card and her whole class individually signed a card for her too! Her friends got their mothers to send her text messages on the day of the surgery, and I would say I've gone way over my monthly text allowance by simply replying to all the texts! Not to mention the ones from friends and family. When someone sends you a text and says they've been thinking of you and your daughter all day, it means a lot. Oh and lets not forget the well wishers around the world who managed to communicate with us via Facebook....even if it was them simply clicking the Like button when we updated our status with news of the surgery.

Finally, we are home now but the generosity and kindness continues. A friend of mine made a homemade three flavoured tiered jelly for our little patient. Another came to my door bearing a very strong barista coffee when I needed it the most. My daughter's pain relief needs in the middle of the night and the help she needs to get back to sleep require a lot of time and interrupted sleep; but as I said to a friend this morning, I'm happy to do it and wouldn't have it any other way.

We are surrounded by wonderful people in our community, our family and our friends The world we live in is a great one! So never mind the guy who cuts you off in traffic or the people who haven't a kind word for you. Who would want them anyway? Focus on the good in your life and keep the bad were it belongs: at arms length with no focus or wasted energy whatsoever. 

My world is fantastic and let that be a lesson to me....

Monday, May 9, 2011

No drama for us thank you...

What do we want for our daughters? We want them to be happy, right? Yeah, well that's easier said than done! With girls comes drama and drama can either be fueled or quashed. Created or not created. Its a choice. It's a choice that we as mothers have to make, and we have to make the choice wisely. If we don't, we can be sure that our children will create drama in their own lives and ultimately pay the price of being more unhappy than happy. Drama is created when you focus on others, their reactions to you and essentially how much importance you put on their perception of you. At the age of 6, it's easy to be blissfully unaware. At the age of 14, it's not so easy as I found out this morning...

My 14 year old got a raw deal. She got me as a young mother, one who was still trying to find her place in the world, whether it be as an employee in the workplace, as a wife, as a daughter or simply as her mother. She saw me struggle with created drama. She saw me get upset over other people and probably even heard me go on and on about my own drama - more than her little ears should have ever heard. 

Enter, her drama. The one where my heart breaks for her, the one where I wish I could make it all just go away. Wishing will get me nowhere, so now I am working very hard to undo all that she learnt from me. If she creates drama, I make a point of showing her that there was never any to begin with, if it is in fact the case.  Where there is drama, I advise her on how to deal with it and move on. I also enforce the: 'we do not create problems, we solve them' mantra. You see, I don't want her focusing on other people 'stuff'; I'd rather she focussed on herself. I want her to be happy and be still within herself, and most importantly to never be a victim.  Going around with the 'poor me' aura is not an option.

The truth is though, that I'm still trying to get there myself and I have made great progress over the years. So maybe this ongoing journey is one that we take together. Me leading her, and helping her skip some the hurdles I went through (as opposed to jumped over). How cool is that? My daughters make me a better person and I am so grateful for that!

As for my baby? Lucky her! She has both a continuously improved mother and a fantastic sister to take her through the maze that is female drama....but lets hope not just yet. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Never say never!

Just when you think you're too old for certain things, life turns around and shows you the exact opposite. Last week my husband and my eldest were chatting about going out to clubs and bars and socialising in general. I made a sweeping statement with the utmost conviction: 'I don't know how people can go home when the sun has already come up! I remember those days and I will NEVER do that again'.

Yes well, hmm...I did it yesterday morning. Less than a week after saying I wouldn't! The fact is that I meant what I said at the time and I believed it too. So how did I end up coming home at 5am in broad daylight? Well I was having fun, so much fun that I lost track of time and when my husband rang in a panic wondering where I was, I couldn't believe the time! Ooops, sorry Hon!

You see I have a friend, a new friend and a great friend as it turns out. We've known each other for a long time but only recently can I say that she is a friend and not an acquaintance. How wonderful! I made a new friend at the age of 39. You would think that as you get older it's harder to let people into your life and that the friends you have always had, are the only ones you will ever have. Apparently not so. 

'People come into your life at different times for different reasons' - a wise friend of mine once told me. She also told me that some people only pass through your life. Once their purpose has been served, whether it be to teach you something or to be the link to a new opportunity, they will then carry on their own journey down a different road.  BUT, some people are here to stay and that, in my opinion, is the case here.

The point? Never say never - I realised that in the early hours of yesterday morning. I also realised that you are never too old to have new friends come into your life. People that you can relate to, learn from and have genuine fun with!

Life is good, so enjoy it with loved ones & friends. Oh, and never ever say never!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

14 going on 40

So today was interesting... very interesting. While my youngest was on a play date, my eldest and I sat outside in our back garden, in the rare Irish sun, and chatted for quite a while. A rare moment of 'just us'.  It turns out, my 14 year old is quite wise for her age and has some very interesting insights. She sees things quite clearly and, from what I found out today, sees right through people. I might just have to use her as vetting instrument in future!

Seriously though, we all look back at being 14 and think 'God, they were tough times' or 'what awful years'!  The reality is that at 14 we are not clouded by political correctness, social obligations and the 'lets do what's best for everyone' attitude. When you are 14, you have strong opinions (right or wrong) and you yearn not to conform....and maybe, just maybe, that has its benefits.

People say that as you get older you become more of yourself. I wonder though? Do we not lose some of ourselves? Especially as mothers? Do we put ourselves aside and make decisions based on what is best for our children, even if its not best for ourselves? Definitely. It's inevitable....and if we don't and simply put ourselves first, regardless of the consequences, then we are judged for being failures as mothers altogether. The reality for this mum? The possible impact of her actions on her children really does come first - and for that I hold my head high.

I am 39 and I have lost some of myself for the sake of my children - but I am not sad or angry about any of it. So where does this becoming more of yourself as you get older come in? Well I guess I just have to wait and see. What I do know for absolute sure is that everything is here to teach you something, and if you can't see what it is, I recommend asking a 14 year old - if you have one lying around.

This is for you my wonderful, beautiful and oh so sensible child. Keep shooting straight from the hip and hold on to those oh so impressive instincts. They will guide you so well through your life journey. xx

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Cyber Life....

The title of this blog alone is making me LOL! I have a cyber life. Imagine that? 

When my parents were 39ish I had to set up the television, rig up the VCR, figure out how to put batteries in things and I was deemed to be a genius by all the adults around me. Ha! Now I'm 39 and not only do I have a cyber life, my parents and even my great aunt do too! I play on-line scrabble with my 89 year old great aunt everyday. My mother, who is a fantastic artist, has her art exposed on-line on a website shared by her peers. My father lives in South America and he Skypes me everyday. How cool is that?

There are of course down sides and there is also on-line etiquette. As a blogger you don't reveal people's names and you do your very best to not offend anyone. I have managed the first but, in my short time blogging, I haven't managed the latter, and as a result managed to lose two friends in the process: a virtual one and a real one. So then not only do you have to agree to disagree, you then have your online ties severed - which must really feel like closure, and perhaps even satisfaction for the angered party.

The other down side is trying to mange your teenagers cyber life too. The advice? Don't write anything on-line that you wouldn't say to someone's face (hmmm should really have followed my own advice there). Then you have the cowards who come along and use the internet to harass your children. Lovely.  Life is complicated enough.

But what I've realised and I have adopted from my friend Miss Stand-Up-On-That-Scales-In-The-Middle-Of-The-Department-Store is this: don't create problems, solve problems. I love it! I have adopted this mantra, and I have even started to impart this advice to my children. I feel empowered, I feel responsible for my actions and in no way a victim of any circumstance. 

My 20 or even 30 year old self would never have been able to say the same.....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Carpe Diem

I have a had a lovely lazy Sunday with my fabulous children and fantastic husband. We did nothing different to any other Sunday except it felt different. Sunday lunch, laundry, gardening and a leisurely coffee with a dear friend in the local coffee shop with my youngest who always enjoys her babyccino. All simple but lovely things to fill my day.... and what a difference a day makes! 

I sit here with my glass of wine and I stare at the blank screen ahead of me and it's a metaphor for how I feel today. A lot better than yesterday for sure! The possibilities are endless, the world is open and I'm ready to take it all on...whatever it may be.

Nothing to beat myself up about: no weight issues, motherly guilt or anything else we women insist on putting ourselves down about. I take a deep breathe, I take this moment to enjoy this feeling and I really try to hold on to it going forward. Today I become a little more of myself and I'm quite happy to do so. This journey to 40 really feels like a journey towards me. Bon voyage Ms 39 Candles!

I'm feeling good today, I hope you are too!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just when you think you have it all figured out....

Ah yes, life is good, life is funny and ever so sarcastic not to say somewhat on the side of: 'seriously?'. Just when you think that you no longer sweat the small stuff, that other people's actions don't affect you and that you are just too old to have to endure, or even care, about other people's crap..... Well you would be wrong!

Without going into detail, because it really is irrelevant, how do you end up in a situation you once found yourself in four years ago? I've heard that life sometimes taps you on the shoulder and if you don't listen, it whispers in your ear.  It then goes on to slap you in the face and, eventually, if you still don't get the lesson, you end up crashing into a metaphoric brick wall. This feels like that, but in reverse. I firmly believe I hit the brick wall four years ago and that I've recently been slapped in the face....and, unfortunately, I'm still not sure why.

Although the first time around I was so angry, this time I am so hurt. Yes I am vulnerable and that in itself is amazing as it is something I never allowed myself to be in the past. I thought vulnerability was a weakness, now I know that it is courageous to feel what you feel without shame. 

As a girl, I had to be strong because my sister died when I was 10, my parents split up numerous times and eventually my mother left without  me at the very tender age of 12. I was left with my very capable but alcoholic Dad. My husband calls my tales of woe the 'Angela Ashes' stories. We and our children laugh about it now because we can. I overcame and turned out to be a relatively normal, stable and decent human being. But not perfect....I never said perfect! When I make mistakes, I own up and I am gracious.

Which brings me back to the whole point of today's blog.  How is it that I am in a situation where I allowed myself to get hurt? Well maybe I've opened my heart up to people and have willingly let them in. Maybe life's lesson is allowing myself to be hurt and not react in anger. Maybe the lesson is to control the urge to retaliate and just let it be.  Maybe I'm just supposed to trust life to make its puzzle pieces fall into place, and surrender to whatever is here to teach me.

Now that would be  progress....at any age!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This blogging thing....

Well? How am I doing as a blogger? So far the feedback has been good but I have to say, I'm not blogging as often as I feel I should! Maybe I could add it to the list of things to beat myself up about? Maybe I could stuff a cream cake in my mouth to numb the guilt? Maybe I could count this as a failure? Or maybe, just maybe, I can be kind to myself and say: 'You know what? Well done you for doing it at all!' I mean what's the point in blogging something for the sake of it? What's the point in looking for quantity when all anyone wants is quality?' 

Ah the wisdom we find as we get older....That's the good part isn't it?

The not so good part is waking up in the morning with creases in your face that take hours to fade...Hmmm now where's that collagen I used to have? I'm sure I left it here somewhere! Or the panic when your €40 concealer is just about running out. Get some quick! Who wants to see my blotchy skin?

Are we beginning to see a correlation here? I am! As I type this I have I just had the realisation that the harder the maintenance you have on the outside, the easier things become on the inside. 

What a revelation! I love it! Bring on those wrinkles, dark circles and gray hair I say! 

Okay, uh, maybe not just yet though....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Yes well it was Mother's Day in Ireland on Sunday. Lucky me, I got 586g of fabulously fattening Irish handmade chocolates - by Tuesday, there were none left.

Simply put, although I might be nearly 40, sometimes the adult side of my brain switches off and the childish, no-self-control, you-still-need-to grow-up-but-not-today side of me rears its ugly head.... 

My husband, like most men, makes up his mind about something and pursues it without flinching. I mentioned once that men's peripheral vision is limited....and I believe it's to their benefit. They don't get side tracked. Women on the other hand, well everything is a distraction. How I would love to be able to say:' Look! A fabulous box of chocolates, lucky me! I'll have one a day as a treat!'. Uh, yeah, right! Instead, the monologue went more like this: 'Crap! I'm trying to be good. Okay, I'll have a good day tomorrow. After all it's mothers day...' Meanwhile for the rest of the day, I can't stop thinking of the box of chocolates and how I'm going to manage? 

Day 2 of the uninvited guest that is the box of deliciously sinful chocolates is still there. Solution? Finish them, finish them all, and start tomorrow...And so I do. Was it a solution? No! Do I feel better now that thy are gone? Kind of, but I also feel guilty for: 

1) having no self control whatsoever and,
2) eating all the chocolates (they were divine by the way)

The point I'm trying to make is that at 39, 40 and I'm even sure at 50 years old, the struggle to do what we know is best for us continues....

My maternal grand-mother died when I was 16. My grand-father is still alive today and has had two companions since her passing - they are both gone now and he is still here at 91 years of age - Ruth was his second companion and she had a motto: 'I'm in my eighties and I have desert first, then dinner....' Wise woman! I promise to adopt that way of life when I get to that age, but in the meantime, like most women my age, I'm obsessed with my weight and I beat myself up over a box of  chocolates. Sad but true. Being 39 and still harbouring self control issues doesn't say much about me except that I have along way to go. When will I grow up? Looks like I still have a hell of a lot to learn.....Am I alone?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big Fat Sigh

Well who needs to blog about nearly being 40 when they feel like they are nearly 60?  Yes, we've had that uninvited guest in our home for nearly 2 weeks and the bastard is showing no sign of leaving.  No, my years haven't made me that heartless towards people but it has towards viruses. Ugh! Cough, cough, splutter, splutter, sniff, sniff...

I'm happy to report that life does not stand still for this 39 year old. Nope. There were rehearsals for the 6 year old's show, followed by the actual show, lunches to be made, school runs to be run, shopping, washing, dealing with the 14 year old's 'fourteen-year-oldness', swimming lessons, friendship drama, and so-on and so-on.... 

The great thing is that I got rid of one thing on my daily to-do list: farming! Yes, I did say farming. I have spent the last year and a half tending a virtual farm that has had me so busy that it nearly got in the way of my daily life! My fellow farmers nearly had heart attacks wondering where they were going to get their virtual gifts from...and I understand because that was exactly me 2 months ago.

I'm taking my life back and I'm going to use the time to get rid of those sneaky 12 lbs I put on! I knew I had put on weight but 12 lbs??? How did I find out it was 12 lbs? Well let me tell you! I have one fantastic friend out there! We went shopping today. We were in a department store. She took a weighing scales off the shelf and made me stand on it! 

Ok so what are you thinking? 'What a bitch?' Not me! It takes a really good friend to make you face up to reality, shock your system and then support you by saying she's going to diet with you. 

Yes indeed, your real friends are honest with you, tell you when they're pissed off with you and never ever give you the cold shoulder just because they've got their knickers in a twist over something that has nothing to do with you! Although that sort of thing is upsetting, its not as upsetting as it might have been 5 years ago. That's the difference! As you get older you don't sweat other people's issues...and your issues, such as cough cough splutter splutter, don't become other people's issues either. 

You just get on with it! And so off I go....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

So uncool.....

And when did that happen? When did I become so uncool? I'll tell you when. Tonight. Tonight  I was the parent dropping her teenage daughter off at a local boys school for 'Battle of the Bands'. I collected her friend first and upon dropping them off, it was fairly obvious that I was to leave immediately with no goodbyes or any other civilised formalities.  I then drove off thinking 'I'd love to be going to something like that'....but the truth was that if I did, I'd be:

1) killed by my daughter 
2) sticking out like a soar thumb. 

Instead I had to go home and wait for my darling daughter to come home and tell me all about it. That conversation will consist of something along these lines:

'Did you have a good time?'
'Yeah' 
'Were the bands any good?'
'Yeah'
'Did you have fun?'
'Yeah. I'm going up to my room now....'

And voilĂ ! Not only can I not go to these things but I'm not even cool enough to be told about them....Sigh.

Did I tell you that today I told someone that I was 38? And I wasn't trying to hide my age? I had just 
forgotten what age I was. Fortunately I had my trusty husband around to set the record straight. How does that happen?? How does one forget how old they are? Yes well, it must be a sign of my age....which is clearly NOT 38. Thanks Hon!

So other than that, my back is better but now I have a cold and I'm so tired. I remember when having cold was something you hid from your parents so that you could get out of the house and carry on with your plans. Now its something that slows me down so much that all I want to do is stay horizontal for the day. Which by the way....yesterday, after dropping my youngest to a birthday party and while my eldest was still at a sleepover, I bought a paper, got back into my pj's and read the paper in bed.....the whole paper!! With no interruptions! Plus I got to listen to REM's new album playing in the background and I could hear every bit of it! No interruptions; no 'Moooom, where are my pencils? Mooom is my t-shirt dry yet? Mooom, can I have some money?'

Sweet....a glimpse into the future. I love my kids and I love my life, but that rare moment was bliss. Something I hadn't done in years! I definitely have something to look forward to while getting older. And that makes my journey to 40 a lot less painful!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rant!

Ok....so time to rant!  What is wrong with us women???? We wake up and think 'hey, excuse me while I beat myself up for not being perfect'. 

For me this morning's self loathing was about those extra few pounds that made me look like I was spilling out of my jeans. How dare I look like crap? Then there was the fuse that blew when my children argued with everything I asked or said when all I was trying to do is get them off to school warm, fed, clean and on time. How dare I lose my temper? Or how about the state of the house and the total disheartedness I felt when it took me so long to clean, only for them to come home and 1) to not notice how hard I worked and 2) to filthy the place up again! How dare my house get dirty?

Urgh...it felt like ground hog day! I was so fed up with it all, that while having coffee this morning with my trusty coffee buddies, I shed a tear or two - and this out of total frustration! Its good to have friends to talk to though. They always make you feel justified in your lows and also do a great job of making you stop being so hard on yourself!

Lucky for me I had a facial booked and after the facial I strolled into a sale and got myself a pair of jeans to see me through until those pounds are gone....slippery slope I know but the bargain softened the blow. That did cheer me up! It allowed me to take a step back and stop throwing punches at myself. I'm human, I'm not perfect and I can forgive myself.

How am I supposed to not pass these self destructive feelings onto my girls? How do I stop them from feeling so crap just because their clothes are a bit tight or because they weren't perfect in a certain situation? Its not easy! I'm going to keep telling them that no one is perfect and that trying to achieve perfection all the time is futile and soul destroying. Forgiveness goes a long way in life, especially forgiveness towards yourself. Taking a step back and doing something nice for yourself, like a facial, helps too. Be kind to yourself and get rid of the big bad bully inside your head!

Rant over....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Take it easy Mum...

So today's the first day of lent, ash Wednesday. What does it mean to a non practicing catholic? Not that much, except that I had too many pancakes yesterday.  My 6 year old was very excited about getting her ashes before school this morning and looks forward to working on her table manners during lent. Great! So it has helped me with my parenting duties and I am grateful for that. Was that a 'thank you God'?

I'm surprised that I didn't burst into flames upon entry into the church this morning while getting our ashes....yeah that's how often I go. I'm not perfect and I am a 'sinner' like the rest of us Catholics.  Soon I will be going to mass more often as my daughter will be preparing for her first communion next year. Hypocritical? Perhaps, but I believe in providing children with a religious basis so that they can question their spiritual beliefs and find their own spiritual paths as adults. 

What does this have to do with my road to 40? Well life seems a lot shorter as you approach 40 and this is because, on average, half your life is done. It makes you wonder what comes next. It makes you question your life energy and where it goes. So what do you do? You go along with what you know, such as ashes on ash Wednesday, and you take the good parts, like improved table manners for your child.  You embrace the best bits. No judgment, no hypocrisy, just the nice feeling that goes with doing something that relates to nourishing your soul. 

My 6 year old explained to me that today is a day to take it slow and easy and to reflect and pray if you can (yes she really did!) and so who am I to argue with that advice? 

I'm going to stick the kettle on....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bouncing back

Yeah....there it is again! Not bouncing back as quickly as I used to. Eight days on and my back is still at me. I am quickly finding out that most people have back problems, but I'm only finding it out when  I complain about mine. I'm hearing stories of triple cocktail medication, injections in your back, slipped discs, back surgery and some people are permanently on morphine for the pain. WOW! I'm not as bad as them, and thank God for that! It's interesting that the closer in age they are to me or if they are older than me, they're back problem shows a direct correlation with their age, ie: it becomes more and more common. Interesting...

So my back is doing pretty much the same as its peers. Hmm....funny how no one says 'Nearly 40? Take care of your back because reaching for shampoo can put you out of action for over a week!' Now there is some sound advice. Its amazing what we take for granted and how these trip ups make us more appreciative of our bodies, how they carry us and keep us going.... It's interesting that, when we are in our best form as teenagers or in our twenties, we have no concept of how lucky we really are and instead spend the whole time disliking what we see. Sad really.

For now though, I will take it as it comes and remain positive that this is temporary and that it will pass. 
In the meantime: WATCH YOUR BACK - literally!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday night

So there it is again: time flying. But in fairness, I was having fun. I won an 'afternoon of indulgence' in Harvey Nichols, which I claimed on Saturday, and it did exactly what it said on the tin! I then went out for diner and on to the laughter lounge with my friends - great friends actually.  I then topped it all off with a lovely dinner at home  today with my family and some friends from Australia. I  even  got to have my death bed meal wish: Lemon Meringue Pie. Ah the small things are great!

Tomorrow when I wake up, I have to grow up! Time to eat sensibly and get rid of those extra few pounds, clean my house and get organised for the week ahead. Funnily, it's perfectly fine with me! The great thing is that at my fantastic age of 39, you can only take so much indulgence before craving normality and routine. It might sound boring but it really is the key. You appreciate your fabulous moments when you have something a little less  outstanding to contrast  it with. Life is good that way.

Just another revelation for me as the days go by. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You are not 20 anymore!

Well of all people to remind me I am not 20 anymore! It was in fact the person I least suspected would do it! It was me!!!  Yes, there I was on Sunday morning, full of energy and motivation to start training for a 5k run in April. This was it. No more excuses. I was putting on my €110 running shoes on and I was going for it! The sun was shinning and there was no stopping me! 

But first some motherly duties. My 6 year old needed a shower. No problem. Get her sorted and out the door I go. When reaching for the shampoo I felt a little twinge in my lower back. Did I pull a muscle? Maybe. I was kind of in denial and ignored what my body was saying to me. 'Wimp! Get out there and run', my head said.

It was a fantastic run! I was delighted with how far I got before stopping to walk and starting again. What a great way to start training, I was winning! 

Fast forward 3 hours later....there I was, flat on my back on the floor of my sitting room, unable to stand up straight.  It's three days later and I'm still in pain. I don't know when my back will allow me to resume my training but in the meantime I will accept this as a lesson learned. I am not 20 anymore and my body will not let me forget it. 

Yeah, thanks very much!

Friday, February 25, 2011

OMG!

Yes...I did entitle this OMG!

So I went to a concert with my kids this week - the X-Factor no less. I screamed along with the crowd, threw in the occasional woo hoo and had an all round brilliant time. I have to say, for a split second, I felt a little ridiculous about my carry-on but I ignored it and enjoyed myself anyway! You go girl!

We met my husband later and went for a bite to eat. As we were walking down the road to the restaurant I noticed that men were checking my daughter out. That in itself freaked me out. I mean she's my baby and although she's 14, she's still a child....MY CHILD!  What struck me with amusement and maybe a little annoyance, is that I wasn't even getting a glance! Okay, okay, I know its vain but I did notice it. Funnily it didn't bother me as much as I think it should have. This is probably because I have a great husband and I'm happy with my life. But OMG! I think I have good genes and I'm sure that I'm not hideous - but I am middle aged... Ugh, I said it....and I shivered as I typed it. I can fight it, hate it and ignore it, but its the truth. Life expectancy for women in Ireland is 81.6 years so half of that is 40.8 years..... so I'm nearly there.

Little reminders here, there and everywhere and I'd be lying if I said I didn't care, so I won't. The remedy? I've signed up for Today FM's Ray D'Arcy Show 5K run and I'm going to whip my ass into shape! It's at the beginning of April, so I have just under 5 weeks to prepare

Wish me luck and make sure you wave if you see me running by!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Well now, where have YOU been?

Hmm, yes well I've been very busy!

Its mid-term break and everyday has been action-packed! Amazing how when your children are home you don't get a minute to yourself. Didn't I say that by this time this week I would be gagging for them to go back to school? Well, I'm nearly there!

What's become very apparent to me this week, and this for the first time, is that time flies when you get older - wasn't it supposed to be 'when you're having fun?'. Maybe its both. Anyway the point is that by the time you get everything you need to do done in your day, its time to make dinner and then the day is pretty much on the wind down. I remember being 14 and spending hours, upon hours doing absolutely whatever I wanted and the days were long enough to fit it all in! Now it's a race to get your to-do list done and  then, once exhausted, your faced with making dinner for your hungry lot!

Today is not that much different, although I have to say, I'm looking forward to a good girls night out tonight. It's the kind of night I love....going to a friends house, wine and some good girlie chats.  No loud pubs or clubs for me! Although I do enjoy that occasionally, but right now I'm wrecked and tonight sounds like a very easy and pleasant evening.

The point? The day flies, not to mention the week, and I have neglected my blog as a result. Tut, tut, tut! And once again I have to fly as dinner-making calls!

Time's flying but I am having fun!

Monday, February 21, 2011

One week down and 51 to go!

So.... a week already and I've manged to just about blog everyday. I'm impressed. Do I really have that much to say? Apparently so.

So, what will today's blog be? The 14 year old wrecking my head or the ever constant battle with cake, biscuits and anything else that wants to make be look overinflated? I think I'll leave my teenager out of this... and so, its time to address the 'fat and forty' thing.

Bottom line is that I don't want to be either. I have control over the fat but none over the forty so its time to deal with what I can control.

You see my weight battle has been a life long one. Last year, I finally got to where I wanted to be....and when I got there, I wanted more. I spent many a morning having coffee with a friend asking 'why do I want to loose  more?' And she just said I was screwed in the head. Probably right too! Well not to worry, it didn't happen! Okay, its not like I started piling on the pounds either but I'd say there's 10lbs that I'd like to say some a few rude words to. 

So how DO I deal with that? Well, this morning I was determined and I started off well. Then a friend of mine, who was coming for coffee (which by the way I completely forgot about- another sign of aging) arrived with the most beautiful cream cakes I've seen in ages! So in the name of beauty, I had them for lunch. Am I beating myself up about it? Not as much as I should but that's okay. Tomorrow is another day and I still have 51 weeks to 40. Besides no diet started on a Monday has ever succeeded, so it was a losing battle to start with. 

Roll on Tuesday!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pulling my hair out!

I'm not pulling my hair out metaphorically. No. Today I pulled a grey hair off my head! Okay, it's not the first. But it's not the fifth either. This is a new thing for me and it's freaking me out!

Do I care about the grey? Not at all! Okay, I'm a big fat liar! It bothers me. However what bothers me more is the advent of the day when I start to colour my hair. I'm not afraid of commitment but this commitment is fierce! The dependence on the hair dresser, on the colour mixing right and the financial burden are just more things on my list of things to think about - not to say worry. Last time I had to worry about my roots was when I thought blond highlights would suit me...of course with my natural dark hair it never even occurred to me that that would never work. Incidentally the highlights wasn't to mask any greys - it was to match my Jennifer Aniston hair cut. Remember that fad?

Before that I was 15 and my hair was black...and having roots was part of the getting rid of the black hair. You can't dye it any lighter. But the roots worked. I was alternative, and Robert Smith was a poser compared to me. My roots were something to be proud of! Well guess what?  I'm not 15 anymore!

I have been blessed thus far not to have to worry about grey hair and my new found hairdresser reckons it will be a good while yet before I do - but I can't help wondering how much longer I can pull those hostile greys out before I go beyond the point of kidding myself? And frankly, I don't think I want to know!



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Friday, February 18, 2011

So tired....

Ah that Friday feeling....not the same one you had when you  were 21 and couldn't wait to hit the pubs and clubs. No, nothing like that. More like, minimum effort diner, few glasses of wine, roaring fire and doing your best not to fall asleep in front of the TV. That's pretty much all I can handle right now.

(Just watched my 14 year old tear out the door to go to the cinema with her friends...Justin Bieber, didn't you know. Ah, the circle of life!)

The kids are on mid-term break and so am I! A little rest & relaxation, and by this time next week I'll be gagging for routine and for my mini-women to get back to school!


For now....call me lazy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Partied like it was 2011!

Yeah well, maybe I didn't party like it was 1999....ok I didn't even come close! We sat by the fire, had a meal, some nice wine, good conversation and my guests were gone by 11.30 pm and I was in bed before midnight. Phew, I didn't turn into a pumpkin! The best part is that today isn't a write off because I'm not hungover!

We all have different friends for different reasons - or so I've been told. In my case that would be true. I have college friends, life long friends, coffee drinking friends, moms from my children's school friends, younger friends, older friends, pour my heart out friends, etc. I'm sure you get the point. I was with one of my older friends last night and guess what? I learned something new about aging....

According to her aging doesn't happen around 40. Apparently physical changes for women occur around 42. I was even asked to feel the texture of my friend's skin on her forearm! Didn't really get was I was supposed to be feeling, but it didn't matter....she really believed what she was saying. I'm not sure that aging is all set in stone as I've already started to extend my arm when reading....and I'm only 39. 

Note to self: make an appointment at the opticians.

The second thing I learned was that men don't have peripheral vision! - Bet you didn't see that coming. Yes my 'feel-my-skin-texture-friend' is a nurse and it's apparently fact that although men do have peripheral vision, its not as enhanced as women's! Brilliant news! Why, you may ask? Because I now know that when hubby is standing at the fridge looking for mayo and declares: 'There's no mayo' and there is, its because he can't see it and not because he didn't look! It might seem like small change but it all helps to better understanding him - and that can only be good.

My point? We learn something new everyday. No big revelation there. I mean we've all heard that before, haven't we? But if you really think about it....learning something new everyday means you look forward to the next day. Doesn't it? And the next day means being a day older. So really, aging is a GOOD thing! Hmmm nobody ever told me that...in fact, if I turn on the television right now, I bet that within 5 minutes I'll be told the exact opposite. So, lets just call it our little secret, shall we?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feeling my age!

Wow, what a busy day! I haven't stopped and its not over yet. Just realised that I really am not 18 anymore (I'm apparently a bit slow). I watched my husband go off on business for the night with a suitcase filled with a tuxedo and brand new shoes....hmmm that's very grown up. So after fulfilling my housewife and motherly duties, I then have to get dressed up for my night ahead with friends.  Yes, I'm having two of my friends over for dinner and of course the essential bottles of wine. I am really excited about a girls night in but my body just won't follow. I've had a headache all day and my back is killing me! Wine should relax my back a bit, not to mention my mind...

So there it is another little reminder that I'm pushing 40...because I'm wrecked and its only 4.30 in the afternoon. But being the trooper that I am, I will suffer on and party like its 1999 - when I 27 years old!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can I be 39 for a while?

So yesterday was a good day...not a big birthday but another birthday - and that was okay with me. I received floods of texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, birthday cards, visitors and presents. I really am loved! 

The last text of the day was not to wish me a happy birthday but to ask me what we are doing for my 40th birthday...'because we need to start planning!' Really? It's my 39 birthday! Can we just leave it at that? Maybe not. Maybe that's what was meant yesterday by my friend who said: 'turning 39 is worse than turning 40'.

All day yesterday I wondered what I could possibly write on day 2 of my blog....and there it was on a plate: I can't just be 39 today....its all about me being 40 in a year's time! So does that mean 40 is a thunder stealer? Does it mean that I can't focus on my last year of being in my thirties and act accordingly? Fascinating!

I haven't replied to that text yet because the answer is....I don't know what we are doing for my 40th. I don't even know what I'm doing next month. And to be honest, I'm really happy with that!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy 39th Birthday To Me!

39 today....the journey to 40 begins! This is what this blog is about: my journey into the socially dreaded 40. 

It's 10.15 am and I've already been told that turning 39 is worse than turning 40. Really? Worse? Surely neither are bad? I've also heard that women heading towards 40 grow into who they are meant to be, that pretense subsides, that you accept who you are and you stop sweating the small stuff. That sounds brilliant, sign me up for some of that! I got a glimpse of that last week when I sent my 6 year old daughter to a girls birthday party bearing a present wrapped in boys wrapping paper. I was so impressed with myself! Did it matter? Nope! Did it change our lives? Nope! Up until recently, not having the proper wrapping paper could have sent me into a downward spiral! Hard to believe that you can get so wrapped up (pardon the pun) in something so trivial.

My 14 year old daughter is at the very beginning of her journey of self acceptance. I look at her and
remember my journey from there to here and I thank God that's over! Is youth really wasted on the young? I don't think so.... Experience and perspective are the blessing that provides calm as we get older, it allows us to know what's important and have perspective. Bring it on I say!