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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

 

 

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’m too old for this …

I’m too old for this …

“It’s your birthday soon,” they said. “Let’s have a girls night in and make it an early celebration,” they said.

And so we did.

And then wine happened.

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There was something in the middle that involved roasted vegetables,a birthday cake being licked by a vegan, hummus and putting the world to rights …

And then morning

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And the moral of this story is (at nearly 45 years old) JUST FUCKING DON’T!!

I shall mostly be hanging for what remains of my weekend.

Hanging. And moaning.

A lot.

Feel free to send recovery / early birthday gifts of money, diamonds, fast cars, and pizza.

Mostly pizza.

Lots of love

Anna (piss head) J    *hic*

 

High Maintenance or Self Care?

High Maintenance or Self Care?

In no way shape or form could I ever be described as ‘high-maintenance’. Not even in my younger, thinner, prettier days. The bottom line is I’m just too damn lazy. The second to bottom line is I couldn’t afford it (or justify spending that amount of money on myself). Having children and being married (or as good as without the dress and piece of paper), meant that the bit of time I did spend on myself, kinda went out of  the window. It wasn’t helped by living with a partner who would regularly throw around accusations of affairs every time  I put on some slap and high heels. However, that was then and this is  now. Yesterday I talked about the mirror. So insignificant to most but a huge step for me. My mindset has definitely  shifted recently. A need to self-care again has risen from the ashes. When I look in the mirror I no longer see someone who is beyond help. Not worthy of help. I see a woman with potential; to be better and greater than she was the day before.

My world is beginning to feel quite alien. It’s scary but exciting.

So with this new perspective on life,  and myself, I thought the time had come to try and go a bit more high-maintenance. I awoke this morning full of the joys of spring and with many many plans for today. A transformation from a dowdy 44-year-old to middle-aged glamour puss (*Miranda style turn to camera* “…no sniggering … we all need dreams…”) was on the cards. I have a birthday coming up and it seemed as good a time to start as any.

It hasn’t gone  to plan  and it’s only eleven.

It turns out this high maintenance stuff isn’t as simple as I’d imagined. First disappointment was remembering I wasn’t going to be able to lose 60 pounds between breakfast  and dinner. The second disappointment was remembering that to lose even a single pound there could be no breakfast or dinner. Unperturbed, I whipped out my pencil and paper and commenced creating my to-do list whilst munching away on my fat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast.

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  1. Dye Eyebrows -Kids have thrown away the box of dye I’d secretly stashed in the bathroom cabinet.
  2. Make hair look lush (Hair colour) -I can’t find the gloves, and no one applies Sebastion Cellophane without gloves. No one.
  3. Tidy up eyebrows – “… ya tweezers fell down the plug hole last week mum…”
  4. Nails –  No nails!! Probably should have stopped biting them last week in preparation
  5. Legs – I still have a pair. Possibly an orangutan sanctuary existing in ‘undergrowth’. (Half way through my shower I remembered new packet of disposables is still downstairs.)
  6. Face mask – Do Avon still do those peely ones? A bit like the glue we all painted on the back of our hands as kids but smelled of lemon. (Remembered I was supposed to do one an hour after my shower.)
  7. Exfoliation of entire body! (I remembered two hours after my shower. Fitness levels probably aren’t ready for this yet anyway. There  is a lot of body and a lot of exfoliation.)
  8. Feet – Urgh, I’m not ready to go there yet.
  9. Yoga work out on the Bastard-Ball –  The day isn’t over yet. It’s still a possibility. *Crosses fingers behind back.*

And so it goes on …

How do you girls do it?!!!

There is so much to think about and plan! It’s like having another full-time job on top of the full-time work that most of us already do! I’m going to need extra pages and columns in my diary if this has a cat in hells chance of working. I probably would also benefit  from a sugar-daddy / crowd-fund / Swiss bank account (full) / trust fund / lottery win. I’m thinking this high-maintenance would be so much less stressful if I could afford to hire a housekeeper to do my chores and look after the kids, whilst I pottered off to see a ‘lady wot does’ to get all the beauty stuff done.

I need to reassess how I can make this happen. Or bits of it at least.

Current High Maintenance Level Achieved: I’ve washed my hair. 😀

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The Morning After The Night Before. ( The Indian Chronicles.)

I don’t have many words to share with you this morning, but I felt it only polite to follow up on yesterday’s blog. I shall do this using the medium of giphys.

So first this happened ….

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This of course, is an actual photo of me and is pretty much how I both look, and start all my mornings. Flower changes depending on seasonal availability. Prince changes depending on kidnapping availability.

All was good in the world as I set to, commencing what was to be a glorious day.

Time for morning ablutions.

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I obviously don’t get paid to poop. There are many things I am happy to do for money but pooping isn’t one of them. Nor is making my own giphys.

 

And then this happened.

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At first, I thought the rumblings were some kind of earth movement,but I soon realised that my soul was trying to remove itself from my body.

 

It got messy.

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I googled quickly whilst loo-bound … ‘upset tummy after eating Indian food’ … 

The news wasn’t good. It looks like I could be here for the foreseeable future. ‘Here‘, being on the loo. Still. My legs went numb about 30 minutes ago and I can no longer feel my face.

Please send gifts and donations. Money and diamonds are renown for their healing properties.

Until tomorrow. If I make it.

Anna J xxx

 

Cooking With Anna J

We’ve all got one of those friends on Facebook. The one who casually whips up food porn for their meals and then posts photos. I’ve got one and he’s called Mr. P.  Him and his lovely wife Mrs. P ( who always reminds me of a beautiful exotic Asian Helena Bonham Carter) have  been responsible for my screen-licking activities on many occasions. Today I was blessed with a visit from them. Our meet-ups are always far and few between. Work, commitments, life etc. gets in the way, but the time I do get with them is always a joy for which I am grateful. No matter how our conversations begin, they follow a road that always leads back to food – and what a great place to end up! The by-product of this, is me, without fail, being left , after they’ve departed, with cravings that only a telephone call to the local Indian restaurant can cure, especially as my cookery skills don’t stretch out much further than oven chips and fish fingers.

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As I was feeling in such a good mood this evening, the sun was shining in through the French windows, the birds were singing and life felt generally good, I thought I’d be brave and try something new off the menu. It’s so important that we step out of our comfort zones whenever we can. I’m generally not a huge fan of Indian food. If I’m honest it scares me a bit because I don’t know what things are, or what is in them, but after a couple of hours talking about it, it was a bullet that had to be bitten.

I closed my eyes, pointed my finger and trusted in the Goddess of Lovely Food.

Jhinga Satay!

 I made the call. Placed the order. And twenty minutes later – Bish Bash Bosh. ( Don’t you just love living in the 21st century? )

It was with much excitement that I plated up and took my first couple of mouthfuls. Spicy but delicious. So delicious  in fact that I set to on Our Lord God Google to see if I could find the recipe. It took me a few minutes to track it down on a cookery site, mainly because I was also still filling my face … which was starting to feel a tad warmer …

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By the time I got to copying the ingredients down, although still with no regrets, I had officially concluded that this probably wasn’t a ‘novice curry’; but being the brave and courageous soul that I am, I ploughed on.

So if anyone wants to try this recipe at home, here are the ingredients.

I have made some slight adjustments using what little culinary knowledge I have, to ensure that the version I am sharing is as authentic as possible and also accounts for the build up of heat I experienced by the end of eating.

 

Ingredients.

1 lb – tiger prawns. Peeled if desired.

2 cups – Fresh volcanic lava. ( If you can’t get fresh, dried is acceptable however it should be widely available when in season.)

3 cups – Breath of a dragon ( flaming) If you can’t find this in your local store, we recommend checking out your local farmer market.

1/4 lb of the sun. It essential that you use a lump of the core. We’ve tried outer layers and it simply doesn’t burn through your oesophagus

Mixed chopped salad for dressing.

And apparently some sort of Asian plum sauce

Method.

Fry off the tiger prawns and arrange on plate. Don’t worry about presentation too much. In five minutes your sauce will have melted the crockery anyway.

Mix all the ‘spices’ together ( we recommend wearing protective equipment whilst doing so. Safety, Safety, Safety! That’s the motto in the Anna J kitchen.) 

You can either pour the mix directly from the bowl, over your seafood, or simply hold the bowl above the prawns and wait for it to corrode through and drop down anyway.

Arrange salad as desired.

Put the Asian plum sauce back in the cupboard and save for another time because I have no clue when it’s supposed to be used.

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And there we have it. My new favourite Indian dish. Next week I shall be blogging about my visit to the plastic surgeon to have my princess-mouth rebuilt.It seems I have taste buds that are grown from fairy wings and dew drops. And the next time I decide to get all brave with things I have absolutely no knowledge of, I shall ensure I have an expert to hand. And probably a fireman. And a plastic surgeon.

Enjoy xx Anna J xx