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When Absent Fathers Die.

Yesterday I should have been celebrating. I published my second book. Emilee. However at 7:20 am, I got a text from my step-sister asking me to call her, telling me it was important. I’m sure I must’ve known what she was going to say, we never speak on the phone, and yet nothing went through my head at the time.

 

No one wants to hear the words “I’m sorry to have to tell you but …”. 

 

The majority of us (I believe) spend most of our adult life actively avoiding any thoughts of our parents dying, it being too big an emotional deal for us to cope with. For me, it was the opposite. I’ve spent years imagining how I would react, how I would cope, knowing that the first solid contact I would have, would be because of this. In recent months, my thoughts have crescendoed to the point where it became part of the story I wrote. As the words fell out of my fingers, it wasn’t Emilee who was stood in front of the casket as it disappeared behind the velvet curtain, it was me. It wasn’t her who flashed back to her early childhood, it was me.

And now it’s happened. Did I know? Did I have an inexplicable sense of what was about to take place? Even my dreams about him have escalated in recent times.

The messages of sympathy and condolences have poured in. I should find them comforting but I don’t. I feel guilty. Like a fraud. Because I didn’t go and see my dad. Because I couldn’t get over (or around) the person that he was. … A good person at heart but someone who just wasn’t that great at parenting. Someone who communicated at his best by shouting, and bullying. Someone who liked his whiskey too much even if it meant the rest of his family suffered. The person who gave up trying and let me go.

I’m jealous, of the people who got to see another side to him. A better side.  Was I just not good enough to be allowed that?

I’M SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW.

This is supposed to be the time when I look back and see our time together through rose-tinted glasses and I can’t! My brain is scrambling to find enough memories to assemble just something that didn’t involve me being screamed at, or being told I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t trying hard enough. I’m glad you found those better times eventually, I just wish …. some of them could have been with me.

I’m feeling everything and nothing, all at the same time, the result is a weird numb paralysis. I don’t know what else to do but write.

I DON’T WANT TO LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS I DO. ALWAYS HAVE.

I want to go back to being 5 years old and I want you to make it all ok Dad! But you can’t. And now you never will.

I DON’T WANT TO MISS YOU LIKE I DO. ALWAYS HAVE DONE.

I don’t even have any proper photos of him. Nothing tangible to hold, or smell, or feel. It’s almost like you didn’t exist, and you did because there is this massive dark black hole in my heart that I have been trying to fill since the age of 15. And it never goes away.

I really want to run away right now … to anywhere, to everywhere, to nowhere … away from myself.

Maybe I’ll bring you back. I’m a writer. I can create any world I want to. I just would rather not be in the real one right now.  I need someone to stop the ride so I can get off.

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Feeling Just A Little Bit Smug …

I actually managed to drive  to Nottingham this morning without getting screamed at, honked at , flashed at ( I’m talking lights not lack of clothes, although, to be honest, I’m so freaking tired I doubt I would notice that anyway); no one swore at me; I didn’t accidently cut anyone else up;the kids didn’t need trauma-therapy and I had no use for any valium by the end of the journey. It was like the Waltons in a car … The Smug Waltons …

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… and all it took to make it happen was practically leaving in the middle of the bloody night in order to avoid the traffic. 

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I don’t know if it’s just Nottingham, but I was always taught by my driving instructor, that if you are effectively  turning right at a roundabout then you need to be in the right-hand lane. At the very least, the middle. But apparently not here. Here it’s the left lane … of which there are often two. Confused? Yup! Me too! Hence the need to drive stealth. In the dark. I think the root issue here is that I’m simply not rich enough. I was born into the wrong tier of the class system because am obviously nature’s choice for someone destined to have a chauffeur. Bad call natural selection process, bad call!

We still have to make it home this afternoon in the middle of rush hour.  I rather suspect we will be back to

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and

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So I’ll make my apologies now Nottingham.

If you see a woman with a look of the devil  in her eye, switching lanes every 15 seconds, possibly crying, hair like Einstein, using the international hand signal for ‘WTF you arsehole’, with two boys in the back looking like they are trying to pick the locks and escape .. then it’s probably me.

And I’m sorry.

I think I ought to set up a donation button or a crowdfund so I can raise the money for the chauffeur. It’s for the good of the nation. 

Anna J     xXx

 

 

I Love You

I Love You

 

I got tagged this morning by a friend on Facebook in this ‘upload 3 pics of yourself, let’s promote the beautiful woman that you are’ kinda thing. (I’m sure it’s open to you guys too in this world of equality) I’ve already uploaded any photos of me so I won’t be joining in directly, but I really support the sentiment of the project. … but it got me thinking ( as I was sat on the loo, which is where I do most of my best thinking) about where our sense of beauty comes from. How it’s reinforced, or not. And for all the ‘self-love’ in the world, it’s (humanly) very difficult to keep that self-belief going without some kind of signal from the outside world that it’s true. And then I started to think back about when was the last time that I had a guy ( as in fella, in a relationship), look me in the eyes and say with all of his heart that to him, I was beautiful. Or to pen a love letter ( not email or text) to say similar. There’s been a fair few bf’s although not for a lot of years as a singleton for 5 years ….. but I had to go all the way back to the age of 16.

16!!!!!

And yet I could honestly say that to each of them, I have said it. Because if I’ve chosen to share myself with someone at that level, it’s because I think that person is. Beautiful.
That speaks volumes about what I’ve been prepared to settle for over the years.

Volumes!!!

Always being ‘okay’ with being someone else’s 2nd best. Someone else’s entertainment when they were bored.

Boom! Big wake up call.

My point of this post is not a call for compliments. Words on a screen mean very little to me especially in this world of disconnect between the living and breathing. My point was, how often do WE look at the person /people we love and tell them,

‘ You are the most beautiful person in the world to me and I love you’ ?

I mean REALLY tell them. Heart stopping, breath stopping, world stopping, eye contact and really tell them. And make sure they hear, feel… every word we say?

 

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We should do it! Every day! And if you are with someone whom you find it impossible to muster up those words for, because the emotions don’t exist behind them, you should question why?

Why?!?

Why you can’t? Why are you with them?  They deserve to have someone who does feel those things and who can say it.

As do you.
We all do.
I rarely say ‘I love you’. I’ve had my emotions abused and taken advantage of so much in the past that those 3 little words get stuck in my throat and won’t come out. The gamble is generally too high. So I (try) to go out of my way to show ppl. The chosen few. And hope and pray that it won’t get thrown back in my face.
It’s always a risk but it’s one we should take. No matter how teeny the ‘safety-window’ gap of opportunity is.

“You are the most beautiful thing in my world and I love you.”

Feel it. Say it. Feel it.

Anna J xXx

 

Cooking With Anna J #2

 

I’m not in the best of moods today, nor was I yesterday. After making the grand declaration about a month ago that ‘I was never EVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER dieting again’,   I decided to step on the scales to see if there was any damage. I already knew things were a bit off. Once the initial excitement of being able to eat whatever the hell I wanted for the first time in 40+ years, life then quickly disintegrated into

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I could feel myself getting heavier. Energy levels dropping. Mobility dropping. My face started to feel puffier and just kind of

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I’ve had to admit defeat and get back with the programme. Being the Princess-Fad that I am, I’ll be lucky if I make it past the weekend. I’ve got the sticking power of sellotape that’s been left in a moist and dusty atmosphere. I know there are some incredible women out there, breaking down barriers and squishing fat-shamers; I take my hat off to them. I support their cause and mission whole-heartedly. But for me, being this over weight is just horrid. I hate it. I don’t fit my skin … or rather my skin doesn’t fit  me. I don’t recognise the person I see in the mirror, so, here we go again.

I’ve jumped back on the Ketogenic waggon. Having tried everything else in my many years, it is the only thing that has any impact on me. And the only one that doesn’t leave me ready to eat my own arm although that adaption period can be somewhat ‘testing’.

Yesterday was actually fine. I expected the worst ( ravenously hungry as my brain started screaming out for glucose) but it was fine. I planned my meals,drank freakin’ gallons of water and got through the day without too much drama. Today I’m hoping  for the same. I’ve currently got some cauliflower cheese crusts in the oven. No clue how well they are going to turn out. I did my usual trick – looked at the instructions then ignored the instructions. If anyone wants a go:-

 

  1. Take one head of cauliflower. Grate or chop super fine in a food processor.
  2. First, create dish with raw cauliflower.
  3. Go back and read instructions, realise it should have been cooked. Microwave if you have a microwave, if not put into boiling water and murder it until it reaches a consistency of ‘meh, that should do’.
  4. Totally ignore instructions about squeezing out as much moisture as possible from the cooked cauli and plough on ahead.
  5. Place cauli mush in a bowl and add a cup or two of mozzarella cheese ( grated, obviously!).
  6. Add one egg.
  7. Mix
  8. Attempt to scoop up liquidy mess whilst swearing profusely and wondering what the hell you did wrong.
  9. Read instructions again and go back to #4. Repeat entire process again. This time squeezing.
  10. Preheat oven to  ‘hot as hell’ because you don’t have enough patience to cook it properly. Check intermittently ( as and when you remember basically) and turn down once the edges resemble charcoal.
  11. Pray
  12. Wander off and start blogging on the internet. Forget everything you’ve been doing.
  13. Suddenly wonder what on earth that burning smell is, and run screeching to the oven. Whip out Cheesy Cauli Crusts, preferably using the end of  the oven glove that does not have the gaping big hole in it.
  14. Remove from the non-stick pan ( oh how I am  laughing … and they are still stuck in the none stick pan).

Et voila.

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Yeah, I know ….

And here is what they should have looked like.

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Photo credits to The Iron You, where you can go and learn how to do them properly!

I’m going off to eat my burnt  cheesey lumps now.

Have a great one.

Anna J xXx

I SPAT ON THE MAN FROM TESCO!!!

I SPAT ON THE MAN FROM TESCO!!!

I’m not a woman of many words today, and considering what just happened, this is probably a good thing. 

All I wanted was a ham and cheese toastie. Not a difficult request, and yet today, apparently it was.

What I meant to say: “A ham and cheese toastie good man and loyal Tesco member of staff!”

What I actually said:

 

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How the fuck did that happen?!

When did I reach the age where I could no longer control either my mouth or the amount of saliva that exited ( and entered, in somewhat more dubious and  frivolous younger days) it?

A moment of confusion and disorientation followed as we both processed what reaction would be appropriate.

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My options were limited.

I still hadn’t got out the order for the toastie, so at that moment in time, I was nothing more than a strange ‘lady’ who had walked up to the cafe counter and essentially gobbed over a bloke who was simply trying to do his job. Did I casually saunter off without so much as another murmur, leaving him nothing other than a mental scar and an exaggerated fear of women in Lindy Bop dresses? Or did I do the terribly British thing and pretend it never happened?

There were a few seconds of highly uncomfortable eye contact. A brief ‘telepathic’ conversation and then we both decided.

The British Thing. Every time.

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With more gallantry than the Milk Tray Man, he grabbed the sandwich I was  pointing to through the glass front of the counter and gestured at me to sit down. At the table. Far far away on the other side of the room whilst he prepared my feast. In all fairness, he could have slapped the bread onto my cheeks and got them cooked much quicker, such was the fire and flame that my total shame was burning with.

For the record, it was a great toastie.

I’ve decided not to return to that particular branch of Tesco for a wee while. At least not until I’ve had  the chance to change my hair colour and invest in some dark glasses, and some sort of permanent perspex safety surround.

My tween is speaking in ‘joined up writing’!

My tween is speaking in ‘joined up writing’!

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Hand on heart, I have no sodding clue what my child has said to me since he woke up this morning. Not. A. Clue.

Officially he is still in the Tween-Zone but the teens are approaching quickly, far too quickly, and I can see the changes kicking in as the minute’s tick by. About a year ago the greasy hair arrived. Like some sort of monster from the deep lagoon, it was disgusting! As a former hairdresser, I strode into the situation with confidence that things would soon be under control. There was nothing I hadn’t seen or dealt with during that fifteen year period of my life. I was so confident that I would go so far as to say that I was cocky. It was with my chest  puffed out and a glint in my eye that I doused his head in clarifying shampoo and began to scrub.

Five minutes passed; I was dousing again.

Another five minutes; repeating the process for the third time.

Fifteen minutes later; my former glory had left me and I was rocking in a corner, banging my head on the wall, muttering in tongues ‘It won’t go!It won’t go!’

Eventually, it did go but not until we’d called in the  big boys. Sand-blaster, acid bath, sheep-dip, and so far we’ve managed to keep the  beast tamed and under control.

And then came the spots. Overnight, my beautiful boys’ baby soft skin erupted. I don’t know what was worse; the fact that I was totally unprepared and went into a mini-melt down or the fact that he didn’t care. When I tried to casually introduce an element of skin care to his morning routine, it was brushed aside. Apparently, he’d rather have the spots and the extra five minutes in bed. Maybe, this is simply the difference between girl teens and boy teens? Or  the difference between the (healthier ) state of his self-esteem versus the (unhealthy) state of mine at a similar age. I hope the latter. A few ‘You-Did-Great-Mom Gold Stars’ would be nice at this testing time.

After the spots came the B.O. Seriously, we don’t even want to go there. It’s early. Some people are still eating breakfast.

And so, back to this morning, we have finally arrived at the ‘speaking in joined  up writing’ phase. It’s probably pushing the legal boundaries, referring to it as ‘speaking’. It’s a sort of low, continuous noise without a break. Somewhere between the subsonic rumble of an earthquake and the call of a whale in distress. I’m quite in awe. I can only assume that he’s breathing in through his arse because no proper exchange of oxygen appears to be taking place either through his nasal or oral cavity. I have of course checked his vital signs, just  to satisfy myself that what we have got happening is ‘Tween-itus’ and not some kind of nasty bacteria or alien bodily takeover. It’s definitely not bacterial. the alien take over  I’ve not ruled out completely.

The most astounding thing ( to me) about this situation is that he doesn’t seem to realise what he’s doing. The sounds that are coming out of his mouth, to his ears, obviously still sound normal! 

Joint frustrations are mounting!

I think I may go shopping once I’ve finished my coffee, sat here in Nero’s. With all standard methods of communication failing between The Colonel and myself, post-it notes and biro’s are the future. Aside from that, I guess I just have to make sure he is fed and watered at regular intervals until such time that he evolves beyond the grunting stage and rejoins us back in the land of the living.

I don’t know if there is enough cake in the world to get me through this.

City driving … What I’ve learned so far.

And so the commute continues. The Captain is still irritatingly upbeat and buoyant about his new college venture so it pretty much looks like we are in for the long haul. 

I keep telling myself that I will adjust; that the roads will become more familiar, more comfortable and that one day I shall believe my own lies too.

I hate city driving! I hate it!

I’m not in any way a ditherer, but I like to potter. And tootle. City driving neither accomodates nor welcomes individuals like moi. I am, very slowly, beginning to recognise and understand some of the rules and conditions that are obligatory. 

  • Be angry. It’s the perfect state of mind for city driving and will ensure you reach your destination in the required ‘fraught & on the verge of a heart attack’ presentation.
  • Sit in the outside lane on the duel carriageway for as long as you damm well please.
  • If you need to get by me, (almost) tap my boot with your front bumper whilst glaring through the front window.
  • If you drive a BMW/Mercedes/Aston Martin, there are no rules. You can do what ever the fuck you like (and you do.)
  • Ignore all highway regulations about giving way to the right. In fact, feel free to stop in the middle of a main road to allow a car to pull out from the left. Particularly if it’s a friend you’ve spotted. 
  • When approaching a multi lane junction or roundabout, just pick a lane. Any fucking lane. It doesn’t matter. You will either fall into the ‘I don’t know where the hell I’m going’, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing,’ or ‘I don’t give a shit,’ catergory. All three are equally correct. 
  • Driving should always be under taken either at 80mph or 5mph. Anything between is not acceptable. A packed lunch is recommended for journeys mostly consisting of the 5mph shuffle.
  • Feel free to use phone / eat whilst driving. You will be surprised how well you can multi task with coffee/ sandwich/ packet of crisps / radio/ fags/ phone. However we aren’t super-human so lets be realistic. If you need to let one of your balls drop, make sure it’s your driving, god forbid it be your breakfast. 
  • When you are visiting somewhere new, don’t listen to the Bitch-Nav. She’s trying to kill you… Or divert you to Narnia.

So that brings today’s driving lesson to a close. I shall be at home licking valium-lollies until it’s time to leave and do it all over again. And then again. And again. For a year!!

<sobs quietly> 

Anna F-Bomb J

‘… I’m quite stressed … does it show…?’