Category Archives: Life

A cute birthday tale

IMG_0107 LROkay, let me tell you a cute story:

One of my Mum’s best mates turned 60 recently.

Like most people who turn 60 (or me when I turned 30), she didn’t like the idea one bit. She refused to have a big party, and her husband had booked a table for two at their local restaurant.

When the actual day arrived, she felt pretty gloomy. (Which reminds me of the day my Mum turned 60 – although she’s usually the most upbeat person I know, she was pretty low. She half-joked she would go down to the market to “see if they sell some magic powder to make you look and feel younger”. I still laugh to imagine what powders she might have been offered…)

Anyway.

As every woman knows, just because you say “I don’t want any presents” doesn’t mean you actually meant it. For all the wanting not to make a fuss, my Mum’s friend felt a bit deflated and lonely. Especially as her husband had some business to attend that day, and my Mum had things to sort out in town, so no one was around for company; her only plan was to lunch with her elderly mother.

The dreaded day was turning out to be just another day.

I’m not sure if she felt a bit wronged by the entire universe, but she sure felt wronged by her husband. Self-pity can make the best of us a little bitchy sometimes, so she phoned my Mum to complain about him – had he cared a little more, he’d have arranged to make her day more special that going to the stupid local for dinner!

Meanwhile, said husband spent his day “away” smuggling food and drinks into my parents’ kitchen down the road, in order to cook a big party meal unnoticed.

He planned the whole stealth operation so well that she didn’t suspect any of it.

So when the evening came and she was ready for dinner at the local (coat, scarf, had and gloves, checking her watch as they were going to be late), she grew increasingly annoyed that he wasn’t ready yet. What too him so bloody long? “What shirt shall I wear? Does it go with this tie?” he asked, as if he usually even noticed.

Of course she didn’t know he was just playing for time, because the guests had been delayed.

It wasn’t until they were finally ready to lock the front door – by now in full grumpy mode – that she heard someone call out greetings from the garden.

She turned round to see familiar faces, a handful of loved ones inexplicably smiling to her, bearing bottles of wine and dishes in casseroles… including her children who looked like they had just dropped by for dinner, even though they live hours away.

 

 

I’m back (with no vengeance)

downloadI’ve been away from this blog for a while, partly due to medical reasons.

Back in November I had open surgery at my local hospital to remove a huge fibroid. (apologies if this is TMI but for the sake of women who haven’t heard: uterine fibroids are a bummer, and they affect 40% of the female population. Get yourselves checked, just sayin’).

I was scheduled to spend three days in hospital followed by a month off, which ended up turning into ten days and two months off. I spent those two months at home, largely unable to go out (we live on a 3rd floor with no lift) just sleeping, eating and resting.

Looking back, it was kind of nice.

I feel quite bad saying this, with regards to my family and friends who worried (specially while I was in hospital), my boyfriend who had to play housewife (he discovered some things don’t auto-clean) and my co-workers, who did all my work (to the intern who did it for free: you have my eternal gratitude).

But it’s true, once I was released from the hospital and out of harm’s way, the forced rest felt good. I had nothing to do but relax – doctor’s orders.

Before the operation I’d had the misguided idea that recovery would be some sort of holiday (like women who save big projects for maternity leave) – I would finally read, write, tidy our shit around the flat.

But in all this time, I did almost nothing. When I wasn’t high on painkillers, I was just plain exhausted. And let’s face it, no matter how much time I have on my hands, I just hate tidying.

I discovered something rather precious though. It’s something every nonagenarian probably knows: if you only have two hours in the day when you’re not too tired to contemplate doing anything, you save your energy for what matters.

When life slows down to snail pace, you soon figure out what your priorities are.

For me, I found resting mattered, rushing didn’t. Phoning relatives mattered, keeping up with Facebook didn’t. Watering plants mattered, reading the news didn’t.

I drank herbal tea and watched enough Netflix for a lifetime (or so I thought then, until they released the new Good Wife season). I didn’t write or read. I sometimes picked up crayons and sketched daily life, just for fun.

I don’t think I’d felt such calm and contentment since childhood. 

Needless to say, it was only good while it lasted because I knew it wouldn’t.

In due course normal life resumed. I felt a little more energetic every day, so after spending Christmas in France I went back to work. I hooked up with friends again, I finished a few books that had been gathering (metaphorical) dust in my kindle.

Eventually, I even felt like writing again.

So, here I am. It’s good to be back.