Bitch on the Blog

May 17, 2018

Coincidence?

This post is dedicated to Ramana who is a great fan of synchronicity, mentioning it often. Call it synchronicity, call it coincidence, call it what you like … but here, dearest Ramana, is one to trump them all. Spooky …

A few weeks ago we had a spot of flash flooding at midnight coming through the ceiling.  I don’t want to relive the experience. Let’s just say there was a lot of water – not least in my study. A frog and a goldfish would have been very happy.

Water and paper only mix in as far as they bond like glue. My idea of a marriage made in hell. I did what I do best: Limit the damage. I even managed (don’t be sad) to avoid electrocuting myself as water trickling into extensions leads and their sockets sizzled, giving off ominous smoke signals. If there is one thing I am proud of  in myself it’s how I manage a crisis, any crisis. Methodically. Stay calm now, go into (after) shock, if necessary, later. So, yes, switched off the electrics at the mains, did my salvage work in the romantic glow of an industrial strength torch.

So where does synchronicity come into it? Simple. In the aftermaths of Noah’s Ark I have been reorganizing my study, boxes of photos, all my papers, not least letters. Letters which I have kept from the day dot. All sorted by sender/addressee. Yesterday afternoon I re-read those written by my father. I nearly didn’t because they were strong tobacco at the time (twenty/thirty years ago), nothing to revisit in a hurry unless you want to upset yourself. I don’t know what came over me. I steeled myself and read. Holy shit.

And here it is: My father and I haven’t had any contact for about nine months. None. And I wasn’t going to ever instigate any again till he bloody well himself picks up the phone or writes or something. Which,  my mother once said to me, “he won’t”. Well, fine. So be it. Why is it always me doing the running? Enough.

Remember, I re-read his correspondence yesterday afternoon. Four hours later, as if by magic, my father sends me a tentative email asking for renewed contact. If that isn’t synchronicity then I don’t know what is. And the only reason I didn’t fall off my chair in wonderment is because a) my sense of balance is superb and b) I was standing.

Awaiting a round of awe and applause,

U

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April 8, 2018

Lullaby

Sometimes, when lost in the sea of many possible perspectives, I seek advice. Seek advice with hope in my heart that if I don’t follow it [the advice] the advice giver is wise and kind enough to not take it personally, as a rebuff. That’s why there are some people in my life whose advice I do NOT seek. It’s enough to grapple with the problem that makes you seek advice in the first place, without then having to play nurse maid to someone’s hurt feelings. People like that don’t seem to understand that they should be glad to be asked in the first place as it implies trust, and that the purpose of advice givers is that of a midwife: Helping with the delivery, not claiming the end result.

Before I pursue the above line of thought, a subject dear to my heart, I’ll stick with the original purpose of this post.

Sleep has always been important to my mother. As she got older she started sleeping rather a lot. Now she sleeps, more or less, round the clock. Every time I phone her I can bet my bottom currency that I have either woken her or that she was just about to go BACK to sleep. This is during the day – not at midnight. So enter increasing irritation and exasperation (neither of which I ever voice to her) on my part. Who wants to see their once active mother wilting? I take it almost as an affront – of nature/biology. Once resentment starts creeping into any relationship you need to regroup, and/or seek ADVICE in order to restore perspective and balance. So, this morning, I took to the experts. Yes, really. Google.

Peace has once more returned to the part of my heart that is troubled by my mother’s (as perceived by me, excessive) need for sleep. A few clicks and links later it’s so simple I wonder why it hadn’t occurred to me in the first place:

“There is no law, indeed no need, why someone (particularly in their old age) should conform to our idea of being active. If it makes someone happy to sleep let them sleep.”  That insight, so obvious yet obscure in its simplicity, was all I need, in future, to not be endlessly frustrated by my mother’s sleepiness AND her blatant, if gentle, refusal to engage any longer with anything that clouds her days, and I quote the same source:

“Discussing a point is no longer important for her. It’s like all she wants is hearing our voices, smiling back, hugs.” Peace, I suppose. Peace at the end of a long life. A peace I will contribute to as best I can. Doesn’t come easy to me to put myself onto the back burner – yet, since when haven’t I been able to will myself to do almost anything for the greater good.

The hard part (for my mother), wait for it, that she is fully aware of her increasing frailty and laments vehemently the physical restrictions in its wake(!). Hardly the time I can make one of those, meant to be assuring, throw away remarks: “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.” Though, most likely, in the end, emphasis on END, everything will be fine.

U

March 12, 2018

Martyr to the Cause

Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Sounds grand, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t grand. There is nothing remotely difficult about it just because a philosopher put words to a concept.

In fact one may accuse Kant (his name is pronounced – English readers – Cunt not Can’t) of plagiarism. The Bible said as much as his Categorical Imperative spelling it out in so many words: Don’t do onto others as you don’t want to be done by.

My inkling that Kant was inspired by the Bible’s scriptures an idea that I’d love to run past my father. Alas, him, the great advocate of the Categorical Imperative, hasn’t spoken to me since 1 August last year (his birthday). It’s not that he doesn’t want to speak to me. It’s just that unless I call him he can’t (Kant) be arsed to pick up the phone himself. A virgin on her wedding night has nothing on my father. Anyway, as I have no interest in playing his game I am now in the unenviable position of not benefiting from his various morsels of insights into an original mind. What use is his original mind if it closes down lines of communication?

U

December 9, 2017

Ambition

Filed under: Family,Future,History — bitchontheblog @ 21:46
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Here is one to set a carnivore among the pigeons. You may weep.

What were your parents’ and other relatives’ plans for you?

U

June 19, 2017

Mum is the word

The moment someone says “You remind me of my mother” is the moment my heart sinks. It’s one of the few black and white situations in life. Grey doesn’t enter the rainbow.

Rarely will anyone say “You remind me of my mother” and glow with the delight of that memory. Because, if you had a wonderful (grand) mother no one compares. No one. So it’s usually said as the ultimate put down. Because, after all, who in life is more important than your mother? Particularly one that didn’t live up to expectation?

It’s a line used in the negative, as a defense and an attack rolled into one. Why? I don’t know. Don’t ask Freud. He’ll give you shit.

The first time it was said to me I was only nine or so – said to me by a grown up man. Don’t ask. Grown ups are not all they think they crook themselves up to be. Still, and grateful to this day, it was one of those enlightening moments as to what to expect from both life and the future.

Today John told me that I remind him of his mother. The blow “You remind me of my mother. She was critical and self righteous” he softened by adding “And her valid points were often lost in those behaviours”. Let’s leave aside that being critical and self righteous are not “behaviours”, they are attitudes. John paid me a compliment – if in a backhanded, yet subtle, manner. “Mother” clearly being some gold standard by which women are measured.

Please do tell me about your mothers. Adopted or otherwise. Those you had, adored or loathed, those you would have liked to be the one and only in your life and those who were just that – your mother. The one you adored. The one who amused you. The one who exasperated you. Maybe all three for the prize of one. Before anyone tells me how “price” is spelled – I meant to say prize.

U

 

 

April 9, 2017

Not Trump – MY father

Filed under: Family — bitchontheblog @ 16:07
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This is pretty raw stuff since it only happened a few minutes ago.

Most of you, obviously, will have/had parents.  My father drives me to despair. I am trying, hard. The expenditure of energy when talking to him (on the phone) bears no relation to how terrible I feel afterwards. For ages.

The man doesn’t let me finish one thought, not even one sentence. If I make it to a comma I count myself lucky. Talking over me. Shouting down the line. Am I deaf? It’s awful.  

Bloody hell. It’s a Sunday afternoon, the sun is shining, I tried to phone my mother (she was out) served with my father answering the phone. Now I am sitting here, not exactly five years old any longer, crying. And yes, I did put the phone down on him, eventually. There are limits. And mine stretch far,

Leaving aside that he has always been overbearing, are we now entering that land of the lost old? The land where they are so obtuse they don’t know what they are doing? For heavens sake, I am the one of his children who loyally holds out. The one who is always at the end of the telephone line.  I can’t do this any more.

Anyway, any of you, please let me know what you think.

The odd thing is, my mother being four years older than my father (he will be eighty later this year) is who she always was (albeit physically wilting as roses do) – but fully compos mentis. My father? I hate to think of him like that but I think he becoming more of what he always was. And maybe – unlike his wife, my mother – not with it that much any longer. Or maybe, likely, he is just frustrated how his life has panned out.

I don’t know.

Pretty distraught,

U

April 8, 2017

Sins of our fathers

Filed under: Amusement,Family,High Finance — bitchontheblog @ 13:44
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To paraphrase the philosopher: That which breaks us breaks us.

If I were Trump’s child I’d get myself adopted by Bill Gates. Or anyone. Putin.

Yes, Sweethearts, shame by affiliation. You can’t beat it.

U

March 24, 2017

Hop Scotch

What of the theory that certain character traits and talents do tend to skip a generation? Do you think it bollocks or can you cement the above with examples of your own life’s experience?

U

March 16, 2017

Appearances

Filed under: Accuracy,Bureaucracy,Errors,Family,Future,Psychology — bitchontheblog @ 20:39
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Let me bore you, and ask you as, no doubt, have done so before: What’s in a name?

I don’t mean surnames. From a woman’s point of view and/or if you were born out of wedlock, your father later marrying your mother, you may have had as many surnames as me, namely a few. I will not beat Liz Taylor’s record as I am not the marrying kind.

So, first names. How did you come by your first name? If any of you have already told me, that’s fine. I am more than happy to be told the same story many a time. Repetition is what anchors an anecdote in one’s mind.

Myself? I am rather in love with the story how I became an Ursula. All down to my beloved grandmother who registered my birth. My mother’s preferred choice would have caused me no end of pain. She registered her second daughter under the name she wanted to give me. Which is why I am a little bear and my sister is a rock. Not as in reliable, but as in immovable. Stone. Hard as nails. She was followed by our brother, named after “The Great”, and Cornelia, our youngest, who feels short changed to this day. What Cornelia doesn’t understand that someone does have to be the youngest – even if you were part of quadruplets. Perish the thought.

So, please do indulge me and tell me, if you know or at least have an inkling, how you came by your first name. Why you love it, hate it, are indifferent to it. What you’d name yourself if you could be arsed to apply for a name change. What was your name shortened to if at all? No guess what our very own Nick’s of “here and now” fame complete name is. And, last but, not least: Were you given a nickname? By whom? And why?

U

 

 

February 12, 2017

Hell, water and drowning

Just when you think yourself as snug as a bug in a hug with, more or less, all questions of ethics and their answers under the belt one sneaks up on you.

Holy cannoli – the noose tightens.

This, drawn to my attention a few minutes ago, is so awful I am in knots.

For sake of argument you have to assume you have more than one child. You find yourself at the mercy of the elements and you can only save ONE of your children. Which one would you save? This is so awful I can barely get my head round it. Naturally, as one does, I cast my eye back to my family of origin. Who would either of my parents of four have saved? I dare say, being quite a bit older than my siblings and therefore stronger, both my mother and my father would have left me to fend for myself. But that still leaves them with three to choose from. I’d rather not pursue this line of thought. It’s unsettling beyond belief. At least that’s tonight’s nightmare guaranteed. Not that members of my family normally play much of a role in my dreams.

Any crutches of your own thoughts on this truly horrendous scenario welcome.

U

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