Bitch on the Blog

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

 

 

May 25, 2017

Spoilt for choice

There is a regular program on Radio Four (BBC, Sunday morning) called Desert Island Disks. Someone of relative public interest is invited to talk about their life and, intermittently, ten pieces of music of their choice are played.  They’ll then be asked to choose one of them to take with them – don’t say the BBC isn’t generous – before being shipped away and with little hope to return. You are given the Bible. You may choose one other book and one (in numbers 1) luxury item. No, not me. I am not a luxury item. I am cheap.

It’s amazing what people will choose as their luxury item. For heaven’s sake – who needs silk sheets in the middle of nowhere? Take a Swiss Army Pen Knife instead. What would I take? I don’t know. It’s not likely to be allowed within in the parameters of the programme but most likely a never ending supply of my favourite fruit/vegetable. Which is … What? Trying to come to a decision will take some time – a most welcome interval to delay the evil departure.

So, what about you? What’s your luxury item, food or otherwise, to take to the desert island? Please don’t say a harpoon. Life doesn’t work like that.

Tom Hanks greetings, and don’t forget to squirrel away some matches and don’t let them get wet during your voyage,

U

May 15, 2017

Reflection

Filed under: Human condition — bitchontheblog @ 05:26
Tags: ,

With her last reply Rachel has put forward an interesting observation. Namely, that she sees blogging, sometimes, as being in a “lonely” place.

Though I hope I know what she means I see blogging mainly as putting myself in an open and not at all safe place. Not easy for a person as private as I am.  To understand: None of my posts are plotted. They are, being self employed and working in the unadulterated company of my amusing self, what I call my “water cooler” moments. I take a break, throw something on the page and press “publish”. Brill. I feel fantastic. Till later. When I re-read what I wrote. If it was highly personal  I console myself that people’s attention span is barely greater than a goldfish’s and anyway, to use my father’s voice, him the investigative journalist: “No one is interested in yesterday’s news”. Or “old snow”. As consolations go it’s good. And not so good.

We put ourselves on the page. To do so means that we put a lot of trust and have faith in our readers. I won’t mention that marvellous British “benefit of the doubt” as I usually do. Nevertheless, I think we should employ that maxim more often than not. In my experience few people are after each others’ hide.

However, if there is one thing I have learned in blogland, and is what I believe Rachel touches on, that good will is hard to come by. Some say that it is the lack of, say, body language, facial expression, inflection in written conversation. Maybe. I’d say it’s lack of good will. I’d also say, and it’s a fact, that a lot of people are sensitive to anything perceived as the slightest hint of criticism. I use the word “perceived” advisedly. It’s a bit like family dynamics. Mainly mysterious. Though if you are the outsider looking in – oh my gosh, if only they’d let you, you could join all the dots and pinpoint everyone’s individual Achilles heel.

Before you tell me that the above is conceited – as is my wont – I too do have Achilles heels. Admittedly not many as my upbringing (and possibly my innate character) mean that a lot directed at me is water off a duck’s back. Which is not saying that I am impervious to slights. I am not. If I were I wouldn’t be human.

As an aside, and little to do with the above: I can’t remember the context this minute but some time ago Rachel mentioned being tearful. Despite my sunny disposition I am, potentially, on the verge of tears all the time. It takes nothing to make me well up. There you go. The human condition. Happy and sorrowful. Two sides of one coin. But then the world is full of both: Sunshine and Shit.

U

April 24, 2017

And then some

To keep you from your more urgent tasks in hand here is another one of those questions on ethics which plague me. And if I have mentioned this before (not that you’ll remember)  please put it down to my willingness to repeat myself.

So there you are. At the fresh fish counter. It’s all glistening, enticing, a cook’s dream. However, enter the unfortunate shopper (that’s me) who is also well informed about decimating stocks of various species in the oceans. Great. Now what?

I am not proud of myself which is, most likely, why I seek your thoughts yet fact is, I think to myself: “That particular fish is already DEAD. Why should I let it go to waste?” Yes, I say to the fish monger, pointing to my bounty, that’ll be lovely. Thank you. Have I just proven the law of supply and demand? Sugar. Nevertheless, the fish was ALREADY dead. Someone has to eat it.

Of course, one could spin this idea to the less savoury. Think Moby Dick, indeed any prolonged adventure at sea when the Vasco da Gamas and Columbuses of this world set sail to discover new lands and spices. There you are at sea. Since you are all already on the brink of death why prolong the agony by not eating your past-his-live-by mate? And what if you were vegetarian or vegan at sea? Yet hungry? Would you toss your principles overboard to stay alive? Actually, come to think of it – and I am a connoisseur of seafaring factual and fictional accounts – why do those who do resort to eat their own always go for the weedy first instead of the meatiest? Such a waste.

U

PS Please do note that I posed TWO questions/dilemmas (for the price of one post). No need to keep it short. Just pour yourself on this page. I will gnaw on any bone you throw me.

April 6, 2017

Pensive

Filed under: grief,Human condition — bitchontheblog @ 14:54
Tags: , , ,

It’s a fine spring day. Doesn’t stop a grave thought.

The mystery (to me) that normally grief kicks in pretty quickly after the event. When I say “event” I don’t necessarily mean that which most people associate with “grief”, namely death. Not at all. Could be anything.

I am familiar with loss, indeed it has been said that my life is “one of loss” which, frankly, I find ludicrous. All of us “lose” stuff, people, ourselves, along the way. Occasionally.

Yes, so grief over a grievance normally kicks in pretty quickly after the event. However, and this is my puzzle and I’d be more than grateful if any of you have any ideas on this, there is a peculiar type of grief which overcomes you ages, a long long time, after the event. Evoked by, maybe, a sound, a song, a smell, a piece of music, the touch and feel of a piece of cloth, and, not least that most dastardly ambushing you, a thought.

Yes, so am melancholic this minute. Not in a bad way. In a slightly tearful way. If nothing else it’s a sign I am alive.

Hope the sun shines wherever you are – unless of course it’s night on your side of the globe in which case you have something to look forward to.

U

March 31, 2017

Whimsy

One of the less palatable facts of life (apart from death, obviously) how, at times, to cope with the whole caboodle. I have found myself at points which didn’t bring me so much to breaking as having to take some deep breaths, thank my lucky stars that it’s too far and damp to walk to the next cliff, and then regroup. It pays to have shoulders. And brings to mind camels and backs, and straws that break the camel’s back, and taking water from the well till the vessel cracks, you name it there will be an image for it.

Which reminds me, apropos of nothing, and one Looney may have the patience to answer: What’s it with camels, wells and donkeys? And going through the eye of a needle? That camels feature large is, geographically speaking, not a surprise. Still. Wait till a Llama spits at you, not out of spite – just because that is what Llamas do, and you look at life, as only a five year old can, through a heightened lens.

That’s how animosity starts. One moment you are meandering through your own overgrown backyard, the next someone offers you to borrow their lawn mower. Obviously the latter never happens but as an idea it works.

So, what do you do? Accept that your neighbour lends you their lawn mower not because you don’t have one but because they don’t want to be seen living to someone who is perfectly happy to walk among daisies? Or do you mow that meadow of yours to keep the peace?

Let me know. Not that I do have any land, overgrown or mowed, at the moment.

U

March 21, 2017

Why, oh why, oh why

As I currently appear to be in questioning (if not questionable) mode here is another one to make you, my dear Readers, blush:

What do you remember as one of the more embarrassing moments of your life? Obviously, all of us are spoiled for choice, and some episodes best taken to the grave, never to see the light of day. Others? Other embarrassments may make (some time in a far away future) a passable anecdote.

And yes, before you scroll back, I DID say that ALL of us (no use denying it) are spoiled for choice – and I say this as someone who is NOT easily embarrassed. As they say “Shit happens”, so, and being conceited as I am, I am reconciled to the human condition. However, when I do embarrass myself, boy oh boy, no half measures taken, no hole to swallow me in the near vicinity, I do wonder why this mortal coil of a life is peppered with snares to get trapped in.

It also makes for a rather interesting exercise in time travel, not least when you learn that some people were elephants in a previous life; they never forget, and have amazing ability to cut you down shorter than to size by casually mentioning something that happened ages ago.

In the short space it took me to type the above, my life of embarrassing episodes has flashed past me and I feel a little hot under the collar. It’s why the prospect of someone writing your biography once you are dead and therefore unable to put the record straight is pretty daunting. OH MY GOD. Actually tempts me, rarely – but it does, to put it all down on paper myself. Except, of course, who wants to relive that which is best forgotten?

Please don’t be shy. As so often, I will reveal myself in reply to you. If that sounds like a trade off – it isn’t. It’s my ingenious way of hiding my tree among bushes, in the hope no one notices.

U

December 31, 2016

Caution and the wind

This entry is inspired by Cro Magnon. He is an Englishman. No, not in New York; in France. If you are into growing your own food, dogs and questionable political views please do visit his blog. He is, unlike some, also a gentleman. One may say “refined”, with a, as yet small, dose of “ennui” thrown in.

Yes, so in one of his recent posts he brought to my attention a bit of folklore. Namely that when eating your first mince pie of the season you should  make a wish. This was news to me. But felt immediate relief that I hadn’t yet had THAT mince pie. If I’d had  I’d have wasted a good opportunity. He also, more or less, guarantees that that wish will come true. Marvellous. If I were five years old I couldn’t have been more excited.

Now the crux sets in – and when the Angel took me on a magical walk in the New Forest and to one of his favourite spots, on Boxing Day, I related one of his mother’s shortcomings to him. Remember Boxing Day is on the twenty sixth of December. I still hadn’t had my FIRST mince pie. Why? Sweethearts, it’s simple. There are times in life when I will dither. Whilst once upon a time (BC – Before Cro) I would have eaten mince pies with abandon, his innocent piece of information made me enter dangerous territory. What should I wish for?  I am spoilt for choice. Will I, by accident, wish for something idiotic (think of the fisherman, his wife – and they had THREE wishes – and how that ended up a bit of a disaster and a massive disappointment)?

I wouldn’t call myself indecisive but when it comes to wishes one can’t be too careful. So, naturally, and being risk averse, I keep postponing the moment. As I was relating to him this new found anxiety the Angel smiled. Ok, I said. I’ll take my life into my hands – bury me later -, on our return home we’ll have the first mince pies of the season. In separate rooms if need be.

Imagine my surprise when, back at the ranch, I rifled through the cupboards and couldn’t find any. I “knew” I’d bought them. Not least because they were on my shopping list. Nope. No mince pies. I even checked all my receipts. No mince pies. One wonders how the subconscious plays little practical jokes on us. Don’t quite know what to make of it. Should I be glad that I didn’t tempt fate? Should I curse fate that I missed a chance? Obviously I could just curse myself. In which case I’d need a mince pie to undo my curse. Where to go from here?

31st December greetings,

U

December 22, 2016

Jesus Christ

Filed under: Atmosphere,Exasperation,Human condition — bitchontheblog @ 14:59
Tags: , ,

Naturally I consider myself the epitome. Don’t ask of what. Or you’ll all hate me. For ever and ever and ever. It would be disingenuous of me to say I don’t care whether I am liked or not. On the whole I don’t but – on account of being human – will make exceptions.

Yes, insert heart felt sigh, earlier today I came across a fine example of stupidity. Not mine. That would be forgivable. Others’ stupidity? Nah. Forget it. Not that I am easily disappointed. But then I am.

When I say “stupid” I don’t mean people like myself who don’t understand theorems, maths and stuff. I mean people who are so stupid they’d light a match to see if there is a fire. Who light a match to see if they have switched off the light. People who look at you blankly. People who are so stupid all you can do is keep your temper in check and remember that it’s not their fault. If ever there was something to test my humanity it’s stupidity. The other being “inconsiderate”. Don’t get me started on the latter. There is not enough foam within me to cover the contempt I do have for the inconsiderate. My only consolation that I try and remember they aren’t inconsiderate DELIBERATELY. Thus saints are made. You forgive everything and everyone.

Yes, so today I was what can only be called “on a wild goose chase”. The goose wasn’t wild. It was dead. And nowhere to be found despite a delivery address.

Still, what would life be like without an injection of drama and associated adrenaline? Peaceful. That’s what. Who wants peace? In the season of peace and good will. Am on vigil of the next instalment.

In the meantime, light a match to light a candle. I love candles. As soon as winter’s daytime darkness sets in (think Finland) candles will be lit in this house. So soothing.

And yes, before your condolences flood in, it took me all but twenty minutes to locate the temporarily missing goose. No thanks to imbeciles involved but my own brilliance of powers of deduction. And what a beauty it [the goose] is.

U

December 19, 2016

Keeping a foothold

If I had to define one aspect of (my) life I’d say: Happy go lucky.

Happy GO lucky? Literally? Come again.

In all our lives there are “themes”. Bits that repeat themselves. One of mine is stumbling, falling over. I’d like to say: “No shit”, but that’s not the sort of language I employ outside my own hearing.

My headmistress and my English and German teacher told me that I was the only pupil they’d ever known to fly UP the stairs and do herself an injury. And thus my feet slowed me down – not often, but at measurable intervals.

I won’t bore you with an episode, in my late twenties, when one of my legs gave way often enough for me to even more lose my footing. Never has anyone curtsied as graciously and as often as I did – even in an ice cream parlour. People fell in love with me thinking I was Cinderella. To the rescue here they came. Which was sweet. One can only love so many (romantically that is, otherwise the heart is wide). And I was already in love with the future father of my future son. Unfortunately FOS had, and probably still does, tendency to see multiple sclerosis and other dreads where there are none. Anyway, so that went away on its own account. And, years later, when runner’s shin was not a diagnosis, acupuncture miraculously cured a pain never to return.

Remember we are talking walking. And losing your footing. For years everything was fine. I’d carry the Angel, even at age four and of corresponding weight, running down a hill in pouring rain without so much as one ankle giving way. Now?

Now? Don’t ask. One time I faltered – right at the doorstep of our front door – the Angel said, and never shall words ring more in my ears: “MAMA, you ARE a liability”.

That’s nothing. I could be dead or demented. Then I’d really be a liability.

Since, and in the last few months, I keep falling. Nothing broken. So that’s good. What is not so good – and the point of this post – that I have recognized the law of being conditioned. Yes, conditioned. Not flummoxed. Not fixated. Conditioned. Thus, or so my theory goes, phobias develop. Where, once upon a time, my nose was up in the air admiring the clouds, now my eyes are fixed on the ground. Trying to locate pot holes in the pavement before they trip me up. Negotiating decaying damp leaves before I can slip on them as if they were a discarded banana skin.

I wouldn’t say it’s depressing since it gives you a different perspective, one you didn’t have before. Nevertheless, I now find it daunting to set a foot outside. And, remember “conditioning”, I can barely bear dare to do so after darkness falls. Because then, guess what, I can’t see where I am going.

I am sure there is a life lesson in there somewhere, one of my beloved metaphors. But what is it?

U

 

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