Monday, 30 June 2008

Bubble Wrap & Writing

I have been very brave and dropped my first born off at the airport at 8am this morning without shedding a single tear as he had told me that he was dreading me getting upset (I'm not really good at 'goodbyes'). I then drove to work and thankfully was so busy, as usual, that the day flew. I've written a bit, started reading a new book as I think I'm in the wrong mood for The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy and could think of nothing whatsoever to blog about.

Until I checked my emails... and found this and bizarre though it may be, it suited my miserable-though-pretending-to-be-fine mood and away I went. I now feel much better although R thinks I've gone a little more deranged than usual.

I can also tell you that I finally finished with the red pen yesterdy and now only need to make the corrections on the computer. I even have my envelope ready and waiting to send the darn thing off to NWS, so had better stop blogging and get on with it.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Secret Lives

I've just finished The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and what an incredible writer she is, and am now going to start The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neill. I've been looking forward to reading this for a while and once I've finished my 100 words, I shall poddle off to my room and start reading.

Today I had a lovely lunch with family at The Oyster Box Restaurant, a new restaurant run by the owners of the Jersey Pottery and based in St Brelade's Bay. I've been rushing around like a mad woman for days now and although I wasn't sure I could manage to fit in a lunch, it turned out to be an excellent idea and the children and I enjoyed it very much.

Later J and I spent two hours packing his rucksack. I ended up feeling like I'd done a workout at the gym. Okay, it has been years since I've actually walked into a gym so I probably don't have a clue what it really feels like but suffice to say that I'm now physically drained and relieved that we've finally managed to fit everything he needs into the damn thing. I also managed to put it on but nearly tipped over backwards and here was I bemoaning the weight of my handbag.

S and I have just watched Dr Who and I'm miserable that David Tenant is going to morph (or whatever it's called) into some other actor. Drat, I liked him too. I've set the machine to tape next week's episode in case I miss it.

Blimey, I've just seen the time and need to go and do my 100 words. Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Heaven is a Packet of Maltesers

I'm plowing my way through a packet of Maltesers, a box would have been better. They're perfectly cooled and straight from the fridge just as I like them. Why? Because I'm all stressy and trying not to be and as I don't smoke (gave up nearly six years ago) I need something to calm me. Yes, I know it isn't clever to comfort oneself with chocolate but I can't help myself today.

I've spent the afternoon going through a four page list to check off everything that J needs for his trip. I honestly thought we had everything but now find that we have several bits that still need to be bought and so J will have to race into town tomorrow morning. We have a family lunch to go to then it will be back home to pack enough equipment to cover half his floor space in his bedroom into a rucksack. No idea how this is going to happen and as I'm not Samantha from Bewitched (showing my age here) I fear it will take a bit of planning bearing in mind that they have to leave a quarter of the space in the rucksack for food? How? Nay, where is this space going to come from?

Can you tell that I've never camped before, well apart from three days at Reading Rock Festival years ago when a crowd of us went over and I was told in no uncertain terms that I wasn't allowed to join them ever again. Well, how was I supposed to know that the water in the large plastic container was for drinking only. Did they honestly expect me not to wash before getting dressed? Did no one care that it was imperative that I applied my makeup before trotting out into a crowd of over 80,000people? Obviously not.

I've not done any editing at all today. Tomorrow, when I've collected S at 11 from a sleep-over, family at 12.20 to go to lunch, packed, then dropped J at his dad's, maybe, just maybe I'll have a second to get through a couple of pages. R is off to Guernsey for the day with m-i-l as they are going to visit her relatives and take a bonnet and bloomers (don't ask) to the museum. Oh, I feel a need for more chocolate and I don't have any left.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Happy Birthday J xxx

It's J's 17th birthday today. "Oh no," I hear the populus of the island cry. "Not another lunatic driving on our roads." He has been in the UK for the past three days looking at universities and so far when I asked him if he had thought of any that he might prefer, he replied that yes he had. Not a little surprised at him having thought of something before he had to, I asked how he had come to that conclusion. "It was easy. Apparently at ??? they have a ratio of four female students to every bloke." I give up.

I have to collect him in a short while from the airport, race back home to open gifts/cards and then take him to his dad's house where he and S are staying the night. I can't believe my baby boy is 17 already. When did I blink and miss him growing up. He's taller than me and knows so much, but he's lovely and funny.

Finally, I'm moving along with the editing and only have another 80-odd pages to go, which is a relief because I'm completely loving writing S&S, thanks to Helen and her brilliant 100 words a day.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A Meme (Editing Next - I Promise)

This Meme is from the lovely Helen

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Still living in the same house as my ex-husband and going through a divorce…(so glad that's over with).

Five things on your to-do list for today:
Buy J birthday cake
Do more editing (I promise, after this).
Write my Hundred Words A Day (Ditto)
Cook tuna & pasta for S and self
Fold yet more washing

What are three of your bad habits?
Eating too much chocolate
Talking too much

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Write and adopt lots of animals that no one wants.

What are some snacks you enjoy?
Midget Gems

What were the last five books you read?
The Secret Life of Beas - Sue Monk Kidd
Nothing is Forever - June Tate
Burning Bright Tracy Chevalier
An Offer You Can't Refuse - Jill Mansell
The Outcast - Sadie Jones

What are five jobs you have had?
Client Officer, Trust Company
Commercial/Private Cleaning Company
Landscape Gardening Company
The most useless waitress in the universe

Five places that you have lived?
Jersey (several places but it's so small that they were all nearby)
South Africa (several places, not so close to each other)
How dull, I don't have any more to add

I tag anyone who fancies a go at doing this and I'm going straight to the shed to get on with my editing.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Displacement Activities

Guess who couldn't put off being clipped any longer? Having dropped S at the bus and J at the airport, I then had the traumatic job of taking Grumpy for his clip. By the time he had dug in his heels and cried and I had picked him up, soothed him and let him wee all over the poor woman's herbacius (sp?) border, I left him to his fate and raced like a demon to work - 1 hour late.

At work the lovely filing ladies asked me how I was - I'm not known for my chirpy disposition on a Monday morning - and I surprised them by cheerfully telling them that I was in a good mood. After approximately half an hour, which was the time it took for my mood to blacken, they saw me once more and nodded in a sage-like way. "Never mind, love," said T. "You were happy for a bit." The work day worsened and after an exhausting day, I was able to go home.

Thank you for all the good wishes to R. He had his dentist appointment and is now on antibiotics too. My house is beginning to resemble a small chemist. He's still in pain and apparently if this doesn't sort it out the dentist will probably have to remove the tooth. R said he would rather not have teeth than the pain he's had over the past few days.

Since I've been home, I've done two loads of washing, completed my 100 words for the day, blogged for ages and emailed a few friends. I have yet to force myself to get on with this endless editing although I did forge ahead a bit over the weekend. Oh heck, here comes S wanting to know what's for supper. Oh well, another thing I can do to put it off for a bit longer.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Toothache, Tiresome Toes & Yet More Editing

Poor R is suffering horribly with a sore tooth. He's being brave and soldiering on despite having to wait until Monday afternoon for his appointment at the dentist. I hate pain of any sort (I say this as if anyone relishes it. Well, I suppose some people do but they are a little kooky to my way of thinking. Anyway I digress). I have dosed him up with pills, as I don't believe in suffering if you don't have to (never let it be said that I'm a martyr) and despite almost rattling whenever he moves, he's still in dreadful pain. Let's put it this way, he even said that he didn't hear me speak the other day when I was chattering away. He must be in a lot of pain if he can't hear my voice.

J goes away a week tomorrow and his toe is still not completely better, so he was forced (why do they think they can win over a mother who is in an anxious state) to go once more to the doctor. £30.50 per appointment, so expensive but at least the prescriptions are now free, unless you want maleria tablets or something out of the ordinary. So J is on another course of antibiotics. I don't mind painkillers but hate the thought of antibiotics and usually wouldn't send him twice but when J is going to spend a month in the heat and trekking 125kms whilst he's there, I feel that I have no choice. He also has a pain in his hip, but did he mention this whilst he was there? Of course not.

Well, if nothing else, this editing is helping me take my mind of the fact that J is about to set off, which is a relief because whenever I do think about it, I feel a bit of a panic rearing up inside. So at least I can be sure that I will be working on this damn editing to keep me occupied.

BTW m-i-l said she had a wonderful day yesterday, which was good to hear. I'm glad she enjoyed herself so much. She had phone calls from so many friends and said, "People kept phoning me and singing Happy Birthday down the phone but I had no idea who they were." She received beautiful flower arrangements and various gifts and loved the flags that R put up for her birthday.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Birthdays & Breeze Blocks

It's m-i-l's 80th birthday tomorrow and as she had dinner with friends the other night (a surprise arranged by one of her friends) and is going to Guernsey (where she's from) with R next Saturday to lunch with family and other friends, R and I are bringing her to our house tomorrow afternoon for cake and pink champagne. He asked her what she wanted for her birthday as she already seems to have everything and she said that all she wants is pink champagne.

Naturally, as I can't have her coming to the house without making sure it's clean before her arrival, I decided to vacuum. Now I hate hoovering especially as I have to do it with a 9kg fluffy breeze block attached to the hose. I usually time this ordeal for when R can take Grumpy out for a walk but unfortunately today he was working and I had no choice but to spend 3/4 hour fighting with the dog. Despite his determination to kill the hoover, I did manage to finally get the carpets to a reasonable state in readiness although by the end of it I looked like I'd done the Itex walk. (This is a 48? mile walk that brave souls take part in over here, starting from 3pm tomorrow afternoon and walking through the night).

I've managed to use up a fair amount of red ink today and am now going to get on with my 100 words. Opps, is that the children's pizzas burning? Again!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Books, 100 Words a day & inspiration

I'm loving this book by June Tate, although to be honest I've enjoyed all the books that I've read of hers. I'll have to make sure that I get some editing done today though before I open it up again otherwise there'll be no hope for any progress at all.

I'm loving being part of One Hundred Words a Day , thanks Helen and find that as it's only 100 words, I'm eager to start writing. I soon get flowing and end up doing more than I set out to. I've started Novel 4 doing this and am loving it. Yes, I know, I have to finish editing No 3 first and this weekend I intend getting as much done as possible (famous last words).

Talking of words, I think it was Tracey Emin (though I could be wrong) who said "Success means that you were right all along". I love that saying, as well as my all time favourite, "It's never to late to be what you might have been", by George Elliot. I've posted about it before but it really does inspire me and give me hope that I still have time to write something publishable.

What quotes inspire you?

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Two Editing Speeds - Slow & Stop

Did any of you read the article in the Guardian today by Joanna Trollope, Why I Love Chick Lit. You'll find it here if you want a peek. I'm an avid Chick Lit fan and find it the perfect antidote to a bad mood, irritating day or just life in general, so it was a pleasure to read something positive for once about this much maligned genre.

My editing is going painfully slowly and maybe if I could wisk myself away to a parallel universe for a few days I could get it finished once and for all. Unfortunately though the last few days have been filled with the usual racing around.

I had to drop J off with full rucksack that I couldn't even lift at 8am in the morning for a five hour training trek. I was up in time of course but J had to be called at 7.45 and still hadn't packed the damn bag or filled three 1 litre water bottles etc. Thankfully, we only had to get to Grosnez (I recently posted a pic of the castle ruins) so were only a couple of minutes late. S has been doing rounders and that is always the other side of the island and never finishes when it is supposed to but always finishes in time (but not before) the rush-hour traffic.

Soon I have the pleasure of S's Activity Week when she has to be dropped off at 10am and collected at 3pm at various places in the Island. 10am! That's going to be fun, I start work at 8.30. I'm sure I'll figure out a way round it but sometimes wonder why these things can't be arranged with working parents in mind.

I'm obviously in a ranting mood as this morning we had a team meeting at work and my new Senior Manager (who obviously doesn't know me very well) asked what I thought of a really stupid new system that we have recently been told to follow. Poor woman.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Awards, Partying & Missing Appointments

Thank you to the lovely Carol for my Beautiful Heart Award. I would like to pass this award on to Motherx, Yvonne, Tom Foolery and Helen.

Yesterday morning, I braced myself to take Grumpy to be clipped and as soon as we turned into the driveway he began the usual shaking and crying. I parked my car and put on his lead then turned to speak to the lady who has the grim task of grooming this pathetic furry chap only for her to tell me that the appointment was for last Friday! Needless to say G had snuck in between the two seats and was hiding in the back of the car. She is a perfectly nice lady who looks after rescued greyhounds, although that doesn't make G like her any better.

Later, having cooked some beetroots from the greenhouse (heavenly), R and I went for an evening as guests of Citigroup Quilter to the races. It was the usual drama of me not being able to find anything to wear and not wanting to go and then J phoning from the airport saying that he'd missed his bus home and had taken one there instead and could someone please pick him up. Well naturally I couldn't have gone as I was busily throwing discarded outfits around my bedroom and having a temper tantrum. So once again, R came to the rescue and collected J so that I had no excuse not to go to the event.

Having affixed our badges we entered the elaborate marquee with it's own tote and excellent bar. Each table had a beautiful decoration and a wonderful selection of food was waiting to be eaten. French doors opened onto our own area right next to the racecourse. As it was a warm sunny evening the view of the other islands was superb and despite the occasional loss, I ended up coming home (via specially organised coaches) £10 better off. Yes, I know it's not a fortune but I'm not that brave a gambler.

Hope you all have a relaxing weekend. I'm off to continue colouring in my manuscript with a red pen - yes, it's getting pretty colourful.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Red Pens, Apple Sponge & Sore Toes

I've finished working through RP and tomorrow I'm going to print it off and go through it with a red pen and then after the final check, hopefully have it in the post early next week to the RNA New Writer's Scheme.

S has brought home a gorgeous sponge cake with apple, which we're going to have with hot cups of tea in peace and quiet until J arrives home from his forth round of injections needed for his Cambodia/Thailand trek.

Talking of J (rolls eyes in exasperation) I noticed that he had a swollen toe that had gone purple and despite the irritated request for me to 'chill' I phoned the doctor from work the following morning and booked him an appointment. After at least thirty-seven phone calls to both the house phone and his mobile (well, it felt like that many) with me whispering into the answer phone getting more furious by the minute, he eventually woke up enough to answer the phone. I told him to make sure that the doctor knew that he would be trekking in a humid climate for a month and to let me know what happened.

J phoned me back and said that he had been given some 'red stuff' to wash his toe with but I was surprised when he assured me that the Doctor hadn't given him antibiotics of any sort. Arriving home after work, I noticed a piece of paper on the kitchen table and called J over.

Me: J I thought you said the doctor didn't give you a prescription.
J: What? No, he didnt.
Me (pointing to piece of paper): Well what's that then?
J: Dunno
D (taking a deep breath): It's a prescription.
J: Well how was I to know.
D: Because someone who has taken Alevel English should be able to read the word 'prescription' on the top of the page.
J: Oh

Needless to say, he was immediately sent off with 20 minutes to spare before the chemist closed. Since then S and I have had to remind him practically every time he is supposed to take a damn pill - and I'm letting him go travelling for a month! Thankfully he has a leader (a young girl who the boys were thrilled to meet), a teacher from school and there are ten boys altogether, all of whom appear to be as switched off as my son. I shall not panic. I shall not panic. I shall not panic.

Monday, 9 June 2008

War Child - You're Not The Only One

I'm so excited because I've found out that my contribution has been included in this book, You're Not The Only One with all profits going to the charity War Child, an international charity that works with children affected by war.

Did you know that one child dies as a result of war every three minutes? Neither did I. That's 480 children per day and over 175,000 per year.

You can buy You're Not The Only One here and you'll also be able to preview the front and back cover, the contents, the introduction and even the first story.

If you want to read more about the book or see a list of the contributors then why not pop over to Sarah Peach's blog (she's the clever one who compiled and edited the book).

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Race For Life & the Skin Tight T-Shirt

Best of luck to everyone taking part in this years Race for Life. Our local one is this morning at 11.30 after the men's Run For Moore in memory of the late great Bobby Moore, which is at 10am.

There are 26 women taking part in the run from my office and although we've raised our own sponsorship the company paid for us all to be registered into the race and also supplied us with t-shirts. Naturally these tops are pink and have our company name emblazoned on the front and back.

On Thursday I was given my t-shirt. Now as I am not exactly flat-chested in the boob department and because I prefer a slightly baggier top I ordered an XL just to be safe. I tried this on when I got home and horror of horrors looked like a plump Jordan (I'm being kind to myself here). It's positively obscene. They are also fairly see-through. R's eyes were out on stalks and that's all well and good but not exactly what I would choose to wear to run (okay, walk as quickly as I can).

So I have a dilemma. Do I wear this teeny tiny tee or do I prepare myself for the wrath of the company and wear the baggy one I had for last year's Cancer Research event that I entered in October? After all, both events are to raise money for the same thing. I have a sneaking suspicion that the baggy top will win.

Have a great day.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Scenery, Socializing & Solace

This was my view one year ago today, Vesuvius from my balcony in Sorrento, ahh bliss. Today my view will be of the inside of the shed staring at an eclectic mix of photos/pictures/strange artifacts whilst I ponder changes to my book. (I'm determined to finish my edit this weekend).

However, it could be worse. How you may ask? Read on and I shall tell you. I've just returned from being made blonde again by my talented and very lovely hairdresser and whilst I sat amidst foils (although they aren't foils any more but plastic things) I listened to the various clients. There were the older ladies coming in for their weekly wash and set and one younger woman who was jetting off somewhere. Then there were various others who, it seemed were all going to the same luncheon party being held at one of the more costly restaurants in the island.

One woman with glorious dark tresses half way down her back, wearing the most exquisite LBD, perfect tan, nail extensions and enviable emerald cut diamond arrived simply to have her already dried hair blow dried once more whilst she sipped a latte. Another had the full works and as I left one of the mothers from school was parking her Aston Martin and about to follow suit.

My hairdresser said wistfully, "Don't you wish you were joining them too?" I nodded as I felt that was what she had expected me to do but in all honesty, between you, me and the gatepost, I couldn't think of anything worse and was thrilled to be coming home for an afternoon in the shed with just me, my laptop and the dog, oh and of course a jar of Midget Gems.

I think I must be getting old or something, either way they've given me inspiration for a character I was mentally developing for my next book. Mental note to self: Get on and finish this one first and stop getting ahead of yourself.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

You're Fired

This morning after being woken at 4.15 by the dog being sick, breaking one of my shoes, finding that my best black jacket (well, my only one if I'm honest) was lying in a heap on the floor of the car due to S knocking it down there with her cookery basket last night, S missed the bus. This meant that I had to take her to school and sat for what seemed like days in the immobile traffic.

I arrived late at my parking space, which just happens to be near to a shop where practically every working man stops for his morning bacon roll/coffee/paper and this morning the lorry that had been there prior to my arrival had dropped a bag of cement off the back and left it there in all its split glory. Someone had called 'the slowest man in the entire sodding universe' who parked his cleaning vehicle (???) part way across my space and leant against his broom and a spade and stared at the mess.

When I dared to ask how long he may be (to clear up what I could have shifted in mere moments and would have done if I wasn't wearing black and having to attend a meeting at 10.30) he scratched his head and said, "Listen, I don't need this in the morning (as if I did?). I've no idea how long it will take. I need to find boxes." With that he disappeared around the corner of the building for about five minutes. I phoned R (in mid hissy fit) who told me that someone was on his way to help. I said, "If its the man in the blue van, he's just gone into the shop."

Eventually, man from shop noticed hysterical, mad woman with steam emanating from both ears and said. "Want some help?" to the slowest man in the universe and thanks to him I only had to wait 30 minutes before being able to park my damn car. I work on flexi-time, so what with the school run and cement incident I now have to make up about an hour at work.

Face like thunder, I raced into the office and one coffee later and an email from a colleague telling us that it was her birthday and that cakes were awaiting attention in the kitchen, I managed to cheer up. The rest of the day passed in a frenzied blurr but I arrived home to salmon fillets and new potatoes from the garden thanks to R.

I am now calm. Long may it last. Tonight I'm watching Sir Alan Sugar firing people.

So, how was your day?

Monday, 2 June 2008

First Prize, Meetings & Slip Ups

Judging by the picture, I'm sure you'll guess, I'm a little confused. Or maybe I just can't spell. Anyhow, I digress. R phoned me at work today to tell me that my hairdresser had phoned and said that I'd won a tv. Now I don't know about you but I go the hairdressers to be made blonde (ok so sometimes nature needs a little persuasion when it comes to hair colour). I do not usually go to take part in raffles. I'd forgotten all about it and so phoned my hairdresser to check that R hadn't had too much soya milk this morning on his disgustingly healthy cereal. It turns out that I had bought a few tickets (my hairdresser does a lot to raise money for Jersey Hospice) and guess what, I won first prize.

I excitedly asked the receptionist what it was and typed in the name I thought she said (hence the picture). I also asked if I would be able to carry my prize or would I need help and I'm sure I detected a snigger when she replied, "Don't worry I think you'll be okay. A 15" tv doesn't weigh that much." Cheek. R was a little disappointed as I think he was hoping for a 52" one. R isn't so full of himself now that he's seen my little gem. It may be fairly small but sits beautifully on my dressing table and gives me far more room than before for more 'bits and pieces'.

Work was okay. Let's face it, it could have been far worse. I have meetings every day this week and probably will need to go to London in July sometime for the day to meet a lovely client who will be visiting from distant shores. I survived, so until tomorrow...

Talking of tv's (oh, did you think I'd moved on?) well, I was sitting in the lounge watching Sky and as I flicked through the movie channels, I stumbled on something that looked interesting and pressed in the PIN number. Mere seconds later, a heard of baby elephants (well, S) came rampaging down the stairs. "Hah," she shouted, happier than I've seen her for weeks. "So you DO know the PIN number after all." Bugger! I'd forgotten that I had told her and J that only R knew it (this is because I'm a pushover and he isn't when it comes to keeping secrets). "Tell me what it is, pleeeaaaaseee," she said looking as adorable as possible. However, R will be proud when I tell him that I've stood my ground and refused point blank to tell her. (I know Andrea is reading this and thinking, I wonder how many minutes this will last).

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Lightbulb Moments & Back to the Grindstone

Thanks to Tom Foolery for this great picture.

Well I've had a wonderful ten days off work and spent a satisfying amount of hours in the shed in my own little world as well as being relatively sociable with a house full of teenagers.

The boys have now returned home to the more northern parts of England and I'm preparing myself mentally to the thought of having to dress in my work clothes (yuck), wear makeup (double yuck) and sit in an office for far too many hours a day (yuck, yuck and thrice yuck). Not thrilled but at least it should take a fair bit of time tomorrow morning to get through the mountain of emails whilst bringing myself to some sort of consciousness with copious cups of coffee. Urgh.

(Have given self a mental slap and am determined not to think about work until I simply have no choice, ie tomorrow morning.)

I was coming round from a lousy nights sleep yesterday morning when I had one of those lightbulb moments and realized what RP was missing. I say 'realized' I could be completely wrong of course, either way I spent several hours having to go through my book and amend it accordingly and now I think it reads far better, or a part of it that I felt lacking does anyway.

We've spent most of today working in the garden, even planting hedging and it's looking far better than of late. I do sometimes wish though that I was married to a man who knew how to sit down for more than two minutes at a time and enjoyed reading as much as I do. Mind you, I suppose the fact that I can't sit and watch him work without feeling like I should be helping, at least for a bit, can only be a good thing for someone who likes nothing better than sitting on her bottom for hours at a time.