Just do it... (writing as therapy)

>> Wednesday, 3 May 2017

I've always been a firm believer in the truism that 'A writer writes'.  Except, I've not been doing very much of that recently - either here on the blog or elsewhere - which begs the question; am I still a writer?

I'm not sure.

Life has got in the way recently.  It's drained the energy from me; any creative spark I have is easily snuffed out.  I get inspiration for a post, or a story, get excited about it, start to plan, maybe even begin to write, and then bam!  Out of left-field it comes; another metaphorical body blow knocking me sideways.  Just like that the idea - and the impetus to put pen to paper - is gone.  A brief flare of the match and then, before the flame has even had the chance to take hold, nothing. I know I had it, I could almost touch it, see the words on the page, feel the satisfaction of having written and created something just for myself but now... it's gone.

I'm not sure if it's the life-stage I'm at (that pesky menopause is knocking on the door at the very time I need all my wits about me), or the external influences surrounding me, but for the last few months I've felt about as creative as a worn-out floor mop.

It occurred to me recently that perhaps I should just let this blog go.  I've been writing The Potty Diaries for ten years now, perhaps it's time to move on.  Other bloggers I started this activity with have - perhaps I should follow suit.

But then, why should I?  It's not that my life has become less eventful or that I have nothing to record.  In the last two years I've moved countries, re-assimilated to my home country (or at least, have tried to.  If' I'm honest that's still something of a work in progress), moved house - twice - excavated and sifted through 20 years of the detritus and leaf litter that's accumulated as the result of modern living, coped (yet again) as a week-day widow whilst Husband continues his work abroad, and kept the family more or less intact as we deal with the short-term impact and long-term ramifications of understanding newly diagnosed learning difficulties in one of our children.  That last one's still a work in progress too, actually.

Frankly, I'm exhausted - never a good state to be in if you want to be creative.  But I've been here before, years ago, when I started this blog to - literally - make shit funny, and back then it helped enormously.

Maybe it will again - watch this space.

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The difference between...

>> Sunday, 30 April 2017

... Men & Women trying to eat healthily, #1550

Me: 'I think I'll skip dinner tonight.  After a late lunch out this afternoon when we split the sharing plate 4 ways and then followed that with the Salad Nicoise, a couple of chips from Boy #1, and two forkfuls of Boy#2's fish pie, I'm really not hungry.'

Makes a cup of tea and eats two squares of Lindt 70% chocolate.

Husband:  'I think I'll skip dinner tonight.  After a late lunch this afternoon when we split the sharing plate 4 ways and then I ate that really healthy beetroot and avocado salad along with some bread, a handful of stolen chips from Boy #1, and a glass of sauvignon blanc, I'm really not hungry.'

Opens fridge and helps self to half a pizza left over from Friday night, and follows it up with 75g milk chocolate.

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Pushing water uphill

>> Wednesday, 11 January 2017

It was Boy #2's birthday recently (he was eleven.  ELEVEN.  How did that happen?)  He loves the fact that it's so early in the year as he sees it as an opportunity to mop up the items on his Christmas list that didn't turn up under the tree.

One of those was a laptop (we try to keep Christmas presents relatively modest, so there was no way this was going to make the cut), and another a game he's long been lusting after, to play on it.  Lucky boy, he scored both for his birthday.

However...

Neither OH or I are computer wizards.  I would, in fact, go so far as to call us complete dimwits in this respect.  OH has been carting around 2 laptops for a month now; his old, barely functioning one, and a brand spanking new shiny-shiny that he has not got around to setting up yet.  I'm no better;  I've been having problems with my own 4 year old model recently, and have my suspicions that this is due in large part to the fact that I probably never set it up properly in the first place.  Not that I would admit that to my beloved, obviously.  Not when there is the chance of a new laptop for me as a result (my own birthday is not too far away, so... ).

Despite our technical shortcomings Boy #2 is now - understandably - desperate to get his new laptop operational and to get said game installed, so OH 'took control' of the job at the weekend.  Much frustration ensued, and when he left the house on Tuesday he hadn't managed to finish the job; he would, he informed us, install the game on his return at the weekend.

The issue, however, is that Boy #2 needs motivation at the moment.  (OK; bribes, essentially).  He's coming to the end of a long road with school tests etc, so it seemed to me that completing the installation earlier than that would be a good reward for all his hard work.

It should be easy, right?

In the last 2 days I have spent over 3 hours trying to get the bloody game set up, and have got precisely nowhere.  This afternoon I thought I might have made a breakthrough when it looked as if our anti-virus software might be the roadblock, but to circumvent that I needed the serial number of our account.

Which led to the following conversation...

Me:  'So, I can't set up that game on Boy#2's laptop.  I think the anti-virus software is blocking it - can you send me the serial number?'

OH:  'What anti-virus software?'

Me:  'The one you set up on his new laptop.'  silence.  'You did set it up, didn't you?'

OH:  'Well - no.  I didn't set anything up.  Because I couldn't even get Windows to work - that was what I was muttering about on Monday evening.  God knows what the problem was but other than registering Boy #2's name on the laptop, nothing's been done.  Were you not listening to me?'

Me (carefully ignoring the last question - of course I was listening to him...): 'Which is probably why I can't get this game set up.'

OH: 'Correct.'

Me:  'So I've been wasting my time.  All 3+ hours of it.'

OH. 'Uh-huh...'

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Thanks for the memories

>> Thursday, 5 January 2017

So Carrie Fisher is gone.

Hard to believe that the woman who managed to rock that ridiculous hairstyle as Princess Leia - and still look gorgeous - is no longer with us.  I have lots of wonderful memories of her movies, but the one I'm going to share with you does not directly involve her.  It was, rather, inspired by her.  I hope that had she known of it, it would have made her laugh.

It's the summer of 2014, and the Moscow summer party season is in full swing.  Husband and I have been invited to one with a theme inspired by the first names of the joint hosts, the letter 'S', and I have no idea what to wear.

In desperation, I ask friends for helpful ideas.  One offers me a loan of a Princess Leia costume that might do - the link to the theme being the title of the movie franchise - and I quickly accept her offer.  (It's the white number with the headphone hairdo wig, from Episode IV, by the way.  Not the Return of the Jedi bikini outfit.  I may be foolhardy, but not completely insane...)

The costume arrives and I try it on, much to the amusement of my children who are intrigued by the sight of their mother prancing around in a polyester-based white dress and want to try on the wig themselves.  It goes without saying that they look far better in it than I do.   Meanwhile, I mention to one of the hosts what I'll be wearing.  She gets very excited; her husband and a friend are both going as Stormtroopers.  'Perfect!  You can get changed in the house next door and then they can come and fetch you, so you can all make an entrance as they escort you into the party!'

I say yes, reflecting that since I'm as tall as both the men involved, Princess Leia's initial exchange with Luke Skywalker will at least be relevant....

The big day arrives, and I realise that I've not discussed with Husband his plans for an S-inspired costume.   He has, of course, given the matter much thought.   'I don't know.  A shirt?' Which, if I'm honest, doesn't seem to be in the spirit of things.

So I hatch a plan, and after some fast talking (OK, some very fast talking) manage to persuade my husband to buy into it.

A couple of hours later two 5' 7"-ish stormtroopers arrive to escort Princess Leia to the party and are confused when I open the door wearing a silver sequinned dress (see what I did there?).  All is made clear, however, when my 6' 4" husband, dressed in a white dress and headphone wig, delivers Carrie Fisher's immortal line;

'Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?'



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