Monday, 29 December 2014

Last post for 2014

It's come around so quickly. The end of yet another year.

I have been blogging for nearly a year, averaging on one blog a week. Not bad for a newbie. Sure the content has been snooze-worthy at times (ok most times).

On a rare occasion I have managed to crack a smile from some readers, and some comments!

This year has been the toughest yet greatest year of my life.



My immediate family has bought me joy and laughter. I treasure them each and every second of the day. I wake up each morning and can't wait to see the smile, giggle and scream with laughter.

I have been met with challenges I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Challenges that have changed the way I view people and relationships and life in general. I have fought battles I never imagined possible. I haven't won.  I have come out wounded but hopefully wiser. The sort of wars I have had to take part in never result in a winner.

I have said goodbye to people, hello to new friends and family and have prepared for new experiences.

I have removed the invisible chains around my legs and despite my need (still) to get fitter and healthier, I am free and more alive than ever.

Mid life crisis or mid life awakening, 2014 has been a diamond, with clear, beautiful reflections and clarity - other times with sharp edges that cut glass.

Next year promises new adventures, moves, careers, cities, perhaps countries.

I am sorry to see this year end.  While only a date in time, 2014 has largely been a learning curve of emotions, experiences and perceptions.  I hope the leanings continue - but hope that they are positive.

Thank you for reading my dribble. Wishing you all positive closure to 2014, and a successful exciting 2015.

Image:  "Bye Key Shows Departing Or Leaving " by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos

Monday, 22 December 2014

Supermarket sweep

Last week I was at my local supermarket, a well known Greek chain.  I picked up a few items that were discounted if I produced my loyalty card. I had left my card at home.

The sales person promptly asked the lady behind me for her card. She used her card to give me the discount, and handed the card back.

Other than  'Oh, I don't have my card' I uttered no other words, and the above transaction took place in a matter of moments.

Gobsmacked, I turned and thanked the behind me, and also the sales assistant,

They both looked at me as though I was thanking them for jumping on my feet.

I left feeling as though I lived in a nice area.

Mr. Lucky came home yesterday with an extra carton of milk.  He explained that the day before he forget to pack the milk when he picked up an armload of groceries.

The sales assistant remembered him, and told him when he was at the checkout.  She left the till, got the carton of milk, and packed it for him explaining why.

Today, after completing the first of my big 'Christmas supermarket shop' the sales assistant left her post, walked over to the Christmas tree Little Miss and The Baby were admiring, and took down a Santa and Frosty decoration. She gave the decorations to the girls and wished them a Merry Christmas.

In other countries this act of generosity would have been viewed by management as shop lifting. Shocked,  I explained this to the shop assistant, she laughed and said, 'those rules don't apply to children, regular customers and loyal staff. We put people before profit.'

Crisis or not, this country constantly amazes me. It's often during mundane chores like supermarket shopping that I am exposed to little acts of kindness, that to the average Greek, is just part of their DNA.

Image: "Piggy Bank And Shopping Basket" by Mister GC courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos





Monday, 15 December 2014

Fight on a flight

Last week we flew from Thessaloniki to Athens. It is a one hour flight. We thought it would be a good way to see if Little Miss had overcome her inability to fly with ease. A short trial flight would be ok.

Well. We are optimists afterall.

It was on hour of hell for all the surrounding passengers. Fortunately it was ten minutes of sheer terror for Little Miss. So, while we didn't win any prizes in the fabulous family stakes, I was somewhat relieved that she freaked out for only ten minutes, rather than the entire flight.

Little Miss has largely lost her 'Port a Volcano' status. It has been replaced with a 'Meltdown on anything that moves' title.

We sat her in her own seat near the window. She turned pale and started hyperventilating. We hadn't yet put on our belts so we swapped seats thinking she would be happier between mum and dad.

This made it worse. She absolutely freaked out. The air hostess came over to help. I asked if she could sit on my lap with a belt. The air hostess refused.  Little Miss continued to scream, kick, hyperventilate. Snot, tears and sweat were airborne.

We tried to calm her down. We tried to bribe her. We tried to tell her off. Nothing worked. She was possessed. Other travellers looked on in pity, fear - thankfully I was too busy trying to calm Little Miss to notice if anyone looked on in disguist.


The screams were awful. All I could hear was 'Mummy hold me.'

Another hostess came over and gave me a belt.  Little Miss was prompty put on my lap. The exorcism sorry, baby belt worked.

Little Miss was all smiles. The hostess told us she would have to report the incident, and suggested we not fly again until Little Miss overcame her fear.


We sighed with relief, thankful that we had not been thrown off the flight. The passengers also sighed hoping the rest of the flight would be peaceful. Then, Little Miss started singing. For the entire flight.

We still are not sure whether Little Miss was fighting sitting on her own, or fighting because she was scared.

Eitherway, I am not game to find out again.  We caught the train back to Thessaloniki.  Five and a half hours of happy child for me, beats even ten minutes of distraught unhappy Little Miss.

Is she spoilt? Perhaps.

Image "Aircraft Silhouette" by satit_srihin courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.




Monday, 8 December 2014

There were three in the bed

Bedtime. We three pile into Little Miss' single bed.

I pull out three stories. We argue over which to read first.

At the end of story time, it's lights out. No moving The Baby into her cot. No, mama does not give her cherubs a kiss goodnight, and confidently walks out the door.

Mama balances on the edge of the single bed until Little Miss and The Baby fall asleep. The trundle is pulled out. There is a good chance Little Miss or The Baby will end up sleeping on it at some point in the night.

Little Miss and The Baby insist on sleeping together. They hold hands until they fall asleep.  It's lovely.

What isn't lovely is that they want me to lie with them and cuddle both of them equally. If I so much as move, they stir. At any time of the night.
 
A toilet break is a luxury.  A good night's sleep is a dream.

Last night both fell asleep quickly.  I moved The Baby to the trundle successfully and tip toed out. I was so ecstatic that I went to bed, my bed, immediately. I didn't bother telling Mr Lucky. I was too excited to be reacquainted with my own bed and pillow.

It didn't last long. I tossed and turned. Something was wrong. I peaked into their room to find Little Miss and moved to the trundle and was cuddling the baby.  I crept out and back to my bed.

At about three, I heard The Baby crying out for me.  I ran (read my previous blog entitled Jealousy to understand why).  I swiftly picked her up and we lay down on Little Miss' bed.

At five I felt Little Miss pulling at me.  We were back to position one, Little Miss against the wall, The Baby in the middle, and mama hanging on for dear life on the edge.

I sighed and the nursery rhyme came to mind 'There were three in the bed and the little one said roll over!'

Patience is what I am told. Two more years and they won't want you...that's a long time.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Doll camp.

As a child, I don 't remember being scared of my toys. Except the time my aunt gave me a clown, and my sisters and cousins would dangle it in front of my face when I slept - reenacting a scene from Poltergeist the movie.

Their giggling would wake me up and I would scream in terror as the clown grinned at me.

It wasn't an evil looking clown. It was kind of cute.  But the movie, and my sisters actions made me hide it in the cupboard and one day, I threw it out. Nobody noticed the clown went missing.

As I often lie awake in my daughters' room, I look around and watch as dusk turns to dawn my daughters toys gradually morph in my mind from innocent dolls to a gang of undesirables. There are three dolls I  pay attention to. They are on my watch.



They are like the rough kids in the playground.  I stare, I watch, I wait, I observe. I am ready. If they make one wrong move and even hint at hurting my cherubs, like a panther I am ready to attack.

One is a Minstrel doll, handmade.  If you lift it's dress, it has my mothers name sewn into it's belly, like an amateur tattoo after a drunk night out. Scary and weird.

The other two are little girls, that have curly hair, hats and are in eighteen century dresses. When they have batteries, they sing American skipping (or jump) rope nursery rhymes.

I haven't been able to make out the rhyme, but am convinced one is from the 1940's (Charlie Chaplin went to France).  Read the lyrics, and you will understand why the dolls do not have batteries. I am not ready to talk to my 1.5 and 3.5 year olds asking me about World War 11.

The girls don't play with the Minstrel doll. They get the two girls down, and play with them for about two minutes.  One has lost an arm in battle. And still, I don't pity it.  I am suspicious. They look like they're going to attack, like  possessed dolls in a horror movie.

I have decided that when we move (in a few weeks), we're sending these three dolls on holiday to the same camp the clown went to. One far far away, never to return (and if they do, we won't be here).

I feel a shudder as I make my decision. Paranoia? Yes, Overacting exhausted mind? Absolutely.  I wonder if the girls will notice.

Image: "Crying Doll" by Theeradech Sanin. Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net


Monday, 24 November 2014

Fear of the smiling blob

The children are playing independently, I have an opportunity to meet my personal deadline for a blog.

I am stuck for what to write.

The last two weeks I have been lying awake between 1 am and 6 am, my mind swirling with ideas, funny anecdotes, plans for adventures. And today, now that I have time and space to think.. nothing.

This state of paralysis has to to with the fact that last night, for the first time in a long time, I fell into such a deep slumber, despite sharing a single bed with Little Miss that the back of my nose and throat are sore after a deep heartfelt and continuous snore.

I silently breathe a sigh of relief. I am currently sporting a Madonna 80's hairstyle. The no longer subtle regrowth, hair in desperate need of a cut and treatment, combined with a constant snore can't be attractive. Mr Lucky hasn't noticed (rather commented - that is why he is Mr Lucky).  The sigh has slowly turned from relief to worry.



Having had a good night sleep means my mind has finally had time to rest. Switch off, relax. This makes me uncomfortable.

How is it that I am more organised, creative and composed when I am absolutely exhausted and sleep deprived?  I get excited when I wake up and challenge the day with a multiple of tasks (menial and sometimes fun) and feel satisfied when all are achieved.

I blog, keep house (well try to), cook (again, I spend time in the kitchen, what I produce is edible but certainly not dinner party appropriate). I play with the children, I work, I do coffee with friends, I take the children to parks, activities, museums. I confuse Mr Lucky by complaining I am tired but can't seem to stand still for a second.  All on about three hours sleep a day.

I have a new worry.  When I have had a good night's sleep I am a walking relaxed zombie with little ability to do anything constructive.  I worry - what will happen when my body and mind finally wake up one day and say - enough.  We are tired. We can't keep up with this grueling exhausting lifestyle?

Will I become a relaxed, mindless, smiling person, with good hair, who doesn't snore, but who is unproductive and who is (my greatest fear)... just a blob?

Image: Smiling Girl Face, courtesy of ClipArtBest.com

Monday, 17 November 2014

Soundtrack to silence?

I wonder how I would feel having a screen shoved up against my face while the world whirls by backwards? I would probably scream uncontrollably too. And not for fun.

No, I am not talking about being on a ride at a show.

Last night I saw a woman pushing her Stoke pushchair with determination.  Facing her was her baby, howling at the top of his lungs.  I have been there. I don't own a Stoke, but have had that look of determination on my face.

That, please don't approach me or give me a look of pity - I have things that need to get done and baby howling combined with a compassionate face may very much result in me wanting to get into a corner, curl up and cry.

But then she did something that threw me.  She stopped, sighed, grabbed something that was hiding the baby's face, touched it a few times.  During this time, the baby had stopped crying.

I had a sneaky peak into the pushchair and saw the baby was about 9 months old. He was also very cute.

Curious, I continued watching, expecting her to go through the process of elimination drill I normally follow when dealing with a howling child.   Cold? Wet? Hungry? Tired? Bored?

After fiddling with the thing that had been hiding the baby's face, she put it back on the pushchair, dangling in front of the baby.  The baby starting howling again.  She sighed and walked on.

I was left gob smacked. The baby had it's own tablet.  The unmistakable opening soundtrack for 'Cars' the movie was heard as she walked passed.



I didn't know what to feel or  think.  I try not to judge other parents parenting style, as I am a walking contradiction.  I had and hold views that are interchangeable depending on a range of elements I am faced with. I am not one to judge.

You never know what goes on behind closed doors. You never know the temperament of a child, the stress the parents or child is under, let alone the background to what you've just walked into or witnessed.

In spite of this, what I witnessed just didn't connect well with me.  What about you?

Image: "Connected Tablet Touch Screen Shows Communications And Connecti" by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.


Monday, 10 November 2014

Eventless but full.

Last week Mr Lucky and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.

We didn't do anything remarkable to mark the occasion.  We went out to our favorite restaurant for dinner with the kids. It was nice but nothing to rave about.

We generally break tradition - rarely giving each other gifts appropriate for the number of years we are married. Thankfully. Buying lace for Mr Lucky would have been interesting.

As a side note, I only know we should have exchanged a lace gift - as I researched it for this particular blog. Otherwise I would have remained in the dark.

Thirteen years have flown. In those years we have moved three countries, produced two beautiful children, have each fought illnesses we probably both wondered quietly if we would ever get healthy again,

So here we are. Certainly not at the end of our separate and combined adventures in life.



I can't remember what we did or how we celebrated each and every anniversary.

Last year we had both kids so sick - we stayed in. One year we went to a fancy restaurant. Another year we planned to go to a nice hotel for the weekend but had to cancel last minute when an uncle passed suddenly. The other anniversaries have merged and morphed into forgotten experiences.

This is not to say it has been boring! We have grown together and separately, clashed, met individual goals and achievements, and we have had some colossal failures too. Throw in some boring times, quiet times and stressful times - our life together has been a cocktail of experiences, emotions and adventures.

Of course I wouldn't have it any other way.

But now I can't stop thinking perhaps I should have bought Mr Lucky some lace, to whether this introduced an interesting new chapter in our book of combined adventure.

Image: "Heart Character Means Valentine's Day And Affection" by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigital Photos.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Jealousy

I have a serious case of green eyed monster. I can't shake it. It's getting bigger, uglier and hungrier by the second.

Try as I might to rationalise, calm it down, and tell it to go away, it won't. Like a raging bull, this monster is out of control. OUT OF CONTROL I say!

The Baby has an obvious preference for Mr Lucky.  She falls over, she runs to Mr. Lucky. She wakes up in the middle of night howling, only Mr.Lucky can calm her down. She wants to play, it's Mr Lucky.

I know I sound like Jan Brady but I can't help but say  'Mr Lucky, Mr Lucky, Mr Lucky!'

The clever little bugger comes to me for feeding, nappy changes, baths and when absolutely desperate for a sleep and Mr Lucky isn't around for wind down. That is it.

I feel used, useless and a little embarrassed / ashamed to admit I have been doing Jan Brady for weeks - am mortified (particularly as I would have preferred to be cool, hip, well liked and popular Marcia).

Little Miss is slowly starting to break the Velcro strip and become independent. I almost have one leg free. I expected that, she is getting older and realises I am there when she wants me, I am not going away. But my hip and leg is bare, waiting for The Baby to occupy it, wanting 'Mummy only'.

Sure she loves me, of course she is happy to see me and wants cuddles and kisses sometimes, but Mr Lucky is definitely the favorite.

'Oh Mr Lucky, Mr Lucky, Mr Lucky' I groan, and not in a nice way.

Enjoy it! friends say when I moan. It's so much more difficult when both kids want your attention.

That makes absolute sense doesn't it?  And Mr Lucky deserves a bit of affection. Little Miss shoots her love arrows mostly my way so it's only right.

Hang on. Wait. Did I hear The Baby call for 'Mama?'

I think she did. I have to go shake the green eyed monster off and swap it for my 'Super Mama' outfit (a Marcia Brady outfit wouldn't cut it for this scene).

The Baby is crying and Mr Lucky is sleeping through her tears (how, I will never know.  She has a seriously loud cry).

Off to save the day and win her over (hopefully) and with each stomp, I hope to shake off the green and the monster for good.


Image: "A Cartoon Frankenstein Monster" by Mister GC.  Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net




Monday, 27 October 2014

Moving on

I never thought I would witness my fingers typing this sentence.

It's cold and very wet. Each time I go out - I have to try to make myself as waterproof as possible. And I hate it. There, I typed it and it's true.

I normally celebrate the cold. It means wearing lovely warm jackets, skivvies, warm socks (no need to paint my toe nails), sleeping with a duvet, drinking port... the list goes on.

I used to love the fact I could cover up bumps and lumps for a good season. I didn't mind that my European skin would turn off white (OK, fleuro).

Where has this grumpy woman come from? Close to a decade in cold, wet, dark, lovely London and I rarely complained about the weather (well, only London's summers, which I found unbearable).

What is this sudden change? Is it age? Is it because of the children?

It's not because it gets dark early.  Greece is an 'any time' city.  Children's activities begin at 6 pm. Doctor appointments can be at 8 pm.  Going out at night with your children is normal (its not normal to be out and about between 3-5 siesta time though!).

It's the rain and the cold. I can manage the cold by layering up. But I really, honestly can't stand being wet and cold. I become a sulky two year old when this happens. So much so that I put myself in the naughty corner for some much needed time out.

I never found this a problem in London (not the naughty corner, the wet and cold). Why? Because as much we Londoners like to complain, and complain about the weather, I rarely found myself ankle high in water.



I am not a short person, but this gal of almost average height is sick of jumping impossibly big puddles, running a mile the minute a car is about to drive through a puddle that is threatening to become a lake.

Unlike many here, we prefer to walk to most places. It's the only exercise we get, it's free, and it means I don't have to pack a suitcase of clothes for Little Miss (aka Port a Volcano).

So, rather than spend an entire season in time out, we're taking action. We are moving. It's been decided.  The wet is too much for this walking family.  We going to higher ground, a city and area with a better drainage system (can't wait to communicate that criteria to the real estate agent).

It's time to get some boxes, de clutter, and prep the girls for a new adventure. I am sorry to leave this sleepy beach side suburb. I have made some lovely friends, the girls are happy and we have a very nice home.

Another chapter of our European adventure is almost written. We're catching the next wave out, and are hoping we'll be dumped on higher, warmer, dryer ground.

Image: "Wet Shoes" by Apolonia courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Monday, 20 October 2014

Fine dining

There are lots of things I love about Greece.

One thing is the food. There is only one word to describe it, delicious.

Another is how child friendly it is.  Greeks absolutely love children, and children that receive their love and adoration are happy little campers.  My cherubs suck up the attention like a sponge does water.

Before moving to Greece, eating out would be a stressful initiative (for me mostly).   Sensing my anxiety, my cherubs would turn ‘Chucky’ throwing food and morphing cutlery, glasses and plates into deadly weapons.

In Greece it’s a more relaxed affair.  Staff and patrons are used to children wondering around restaurants and tavernas.  A broken glass is a problem only because staff worry that the bits of glass are dangerous, not because it was broken in the first place.

We recently were in Athens and dined at the Hotel Grande Bretagne’s GB Roof Garden Restaurant.

My old stress levels returned.  I couldn't shake my old mantra ‘dining out and children don’t mix.’

The first twenty minutes went well.  Cherub one and two sat quietly drawing and chomping on the bread. We ordered.  Drinks came. Nothing broken, nothing spilt. I started to relax.


Little Miss announced she wanted to do a number two.  In a nappy.  Little Miss has been out of nappies for nearly a year.

Mr Lucky sagely advised to let her win this one. Child friendly restaurant aside, we didn't want an epic meltdown and one was brewing.   Little Miss, The Baby (who views any toilet visit like a treat in a candy shop) and I wondered over to the toilet.

Thirty minutes later, Little Miss couldn't decide between toilet or a number two in a nappy.  There were tears (mostly mine). There were sighs (mostly mine). There were low ‘I am serious stop this’ messages  ( mine,  all being ignored). The toilet was nice, clean and upmarket but I didn't want to be there anymore. I was close to a tantrum myself.

The upside was the Baby was happy playing with the toilet paper and in the 30 minutes we had been hiding in the toilet, Mr Lucky ate his meal in peace – a first since we had the children.

No dirty nappy and no number two to flush away, we returned to the restaurant hungry and exhausted.  The chef, not wanting us to eat a cold meal  prepared three fresh ones (no, there was no reheating!)

The Baby, Little Miss and I had lovely meals. We had all worked up an appetite for this one and it was worth the wait.

After thanking the chef (profusely) for an absolutely lovely meal, he came out with the saying commonly heard in Greece. ‘They are children, you need strength, but enjoy them.’

Have I mentioned how much I love living in Greece?

Image: "Dining Table" by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, 17 October 2014

Chompers and coffee.

Little Miss had all her teeth very early on.  She can tolerate pain. I don't ever remember hearing her grizzle or complain.

The application of gels and administering pain relief to help her through teething was irregular. So much so that when The Baby gets a new tooth or is in pain, it takes me a while to figure out just what is going on. 

Like an crazed dog she hooks on to anything she can sink her teeth or gums into and she does not let go.  

We went out for coffee yesterday at a seaside cafe. She refused to get out of the pushchair.  She sat, head down with a scowl for what felt like an hour. 

There was quiet. There was solitude. I was able to look out at the sea, breathe and let my shoulders relax for a while.  It was like having a massage without needing to shower to wash off the oil.  Bliss.

I drank my coffee in peace. And then, a nagging something started to flush out any feelings of peace and calm. 

Was I having a reaction to the coffee? I couldn't remember if I asked for decaf (yes, sadly I have to drink decaf otherwise I have a reaction and act as though I haven some illegal drug to get me in the mood to go dancing all night. It's scary - and not just for me).

Then it hit me. The Baby was in pain. Serious debilitating pain. She was so miserable (but seriously cute) sitting there, sulking, head down, bottom lip pouting.

A rub of gel on her gums, combined with some teething powder and pain relief made the scowl disappear in twenty minutes and she became happy smiley giggly baby.

The transformation was amazing. Coffee cup  overturned (but not broken). Biscuits thrown all over the floor. Giggling noisy baby was back.  

And so was my guilt.  All mums have heard the saying. If it's quiet and they're not sleeping, and not doing something naughty, something is wrong.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Jabbing good time.

I confess quite easily to having a few phobias.  They're nothing to be proud of, they're things that need to be worked through.

  • I am a germaphobiac.. If I was a more confident person, I would happily wear surgical gloves and masks on public transport, I would have all public toilets cleaned before my use. Anti bacterial hand gel and wipes are in my close circle of friends.
  • I suffer from TOTPAS (you will need to read a previous blog entitled TOTPAS and Balloons  to learn more about this serious ailment).
  • I would prefer to be under anesthetic when visiting the dentist (so much so that I obsessively clean my teeth to avoid ever needing to visit.
  • I hate taking my cherubs to the doctor to be immunised. I find it incredibly stressful so much so that Mr Lucy normally does the honors and I sit in reception my arms open wide waiting to console and cuddle.
It was The Baby and Little Miss' immunisation day yesterday.  I was so worked up about this double whammy that Little Miss sniffed the tension the moment she woke up.  She decided to make the day even more difficult by having a tantrum every three minutes throughout the day.



We went to the surgery. The Baby had fallen asleep on the way so I felt even worse  when we woke her for the jab.

I had briefed Little Miss, and after an initial 'No, that will not happen' she was calm and happy.  

It was The Baby's turn first.  I asked to sit outside,  but The Baby wanted me!  A first, she normally prefers Mr Lucky. I consented, teared (the doctor laughed) and then it happened.  The jab. The Baby howled.  Oh how she howled, and then....she didn't want me she turned to Mr Lucky. I teared some more. 

I pulled myself together. Little Miss was next.  I was waiting for Little Miss to kick off. Together the howls of The Baby and Little Miss make even the world's most dedicated loud music heavy metal lover request for a moment of silence.

She sat calmly, the jab went in, she didn't flinch. She didn't cry I almost passed out in surprise.
.
We went to the children's cafe (that serves alcohol) for a celebratory drink and play.

It's all over now, until next month. We have more jabs scheduled. (Sigh).


Image: 3d Doctor And Patient" by jscreationzs, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 13 October 2014

Comfort blogging

Last week was unusual. Filled with genuine highs and laughs and a very big punch in face low.

The impact of the low made me feel like a flat tyre rotating on a long steady road. The sound of a dead thump repeating itself over and over again.

The extreme high of reconnecting with people, experiences, love and the promise of a new adventure pumped some air into the tyre and the sound of the dead thump wasn't as deafening.


A serious ‘one to one prep talk to myself’ combined with a few laughs with my two cherubs and Mr Lucky normally snaps me out of the low but for the first time in a long time, I haven't been able to shake it.  

This low has made me want to run it out get my heart pumping, start sweating it out, return home to shower it all away. Of course I visualise the running thing.

Being a role model (note, the emphasis on role and not model) to my children, an individual that can deal with anything thrown my way - my comfort eating technique stopped a long time ago. Truth is, my metabolism can't take that form of punishment anymore, but importantly I don't want the cherubs to think that stuffing your face for comfort is the answer.

So, this week, I opted to give my fingers a work out and blog to purge the low in a new way.

Great news for me, perhaps not so great for my few readers.  A few potential 'woe is me' blogs to read through. Apologies in advance.

I have heard of comfort eaters before but never have I heard of comfort bloggers. Have I started something new?


Image: Flat Tire Of Old Car by Toa55 courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Monday, 6 October 2014

Jackpot

Mr Lucky and I met and fell in love in Greece nearly nineteen years ago.  We hold a village in Thrace responsible.

It is a small friendly village largely untouched by the outside world.  A few nature lovers looking for an eco friendly holiday come here to relax, fall in love with the countryside or take ride bikes, go horse riding or trek.

Called Tychero, a direct translation means lucky but mix it up a little as a turn of phrase it also means fate.

We returned to Tychero with our two mini me’s (my girls) to find Tychero largely unchanged. Sure, the  financial crisis has hit it hard, empty shops and a few residents appearing a little frazzled. But this current look is reminiscent of any Greek village, town or city. The village and it’s inhabitants continue to retain it’s beauty, warmth, and charm.



We decided last minute to drive to Tychero.  We booked the hotel the night before. We hadn't had contact with anyone in the village for close to twenty years.

We went to the hotel and asked after some old friends. We went to our room and relaxed for a few hours. Refreshed we walked into the foyer of the hotel to find an old friend waiting for us.

From that second onward our visit to this lovely town was filled with good food, great company and a whole host of new experiences that made us form new fond memories.   We became further entrenched in the footprint of the village. And we were ecstatic to be able to do it.

It was here I gave my heart away and took a leap of fate. I decided to throw caution to the wind and see where it took me.

Nineteen years later I blew back into town, a little rounder, older, greyer and a definitely happier risk taker. I have had a whole host of experiences, adventures and laughs in the years between the time I left and returned.

There are certainties in life like death and taxes.  Love, experience and good fortune are like the lottery.  You win some, you lose some.  But I have hit the jackpot.

The heart I gave away continues to be nurtured, cared for and filled by the person I gave it to. Together we laugh and go on adventures and continue to be in love. Like the town, I have been Lucky.

Monday, 29 September 2014

The boys and girls in blue.

I have talked about my uniform fetish in an earlier blogs entitled ‘A call out’. I can’t help but raise it again.  

I am often fascinated by people in uniform. They are so perfectly groomed. Shoes shiny, shirts tucked in. Hair in place.  In my mind there is an air of mystery around somebody in uniform.

You just can’t tell what type of person is under the cloth.  Are they kind, approachable, funny, strict, creative?

Are they as clean cut as their uniform suggests? If I visited them at home, would I enter a home so pristine and in such order that even I the germaphobiac would think the sterile environment was a bit suss?

I always want to crack and unravel the mystique. 

Police officers fascinate me largely because these law enforcers require a combination I think of humor, empathy, strength, bravery and importantly intellectual and emotional maturity.  



Requirements that I think are missing from the list of essentials on a police officer’s job description.

By way of testing my theory – I approach as many police officers as possible with questions (real questions that require an answer, I am not a law enforcer time distract-er). I have done this in each and every country I have lived in and traveled to.

To date, police officers in the UK are winning Mummyfried’s 'Police Officer Capability' tally.  They consistently and constantly amaze me with their patience, empathy humor, and approach-ability, bravery (they don’t carry guns and go up against armed bandits constantly).

I often think that police officers in Australia and in the US should spend a minimum of three months in countries like the UK to deal with diversity at its peak.

This one incident however has put the Greek officers in serious running for the winning country.

We were in a traffic jam during peak hour and we were fast approaching dinner time. There was little way of getting out. We were in a taxi.  Mr Lucky and I were mentally willing the meter to slow down.

Going the opposite way but nearly parallel to us was a police van.  It too was stuck in traffic.  Little Miss was about to kick off and have an absolute meltdown. We must have looked terrified.

For the next half hour the officers pulled faces, played games, turned the sirens on and off and eventually got out of the van and gave Little Miss a lolly.

The meter didn't stop. The tantrum was averted. We drove out of that jam with a smiley Little Miss, the police officers got a genuine thank you, the taxi driver a hefty fare without a headache and Mr Lucky and I sighed with relief.

What’s your feel good uniform story (keep it clean!) ?

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Monday, 22 September 2014

Born Again

A friend and I recently exchanged war stories about our families.  We slowly, tentatively revealed our scars.  I think she showed me all of hers. I couldn’t. Mine are far too deep, too many to show all at once.

I glossed over some recent incidences, the last ones that prompted me to yell ‘Enough’ for that final time. She didn’t say much. She is a great believer that people come into and out of our lives for a reason.  So too do all experiences, good and bad.

Sometimes I think she is an earth angel. Here to bring support, guidance and honesty.  Other times I think she is just a good new friend. Either way, I am happy she is in my life.

 ‘You were simply born into the wrong family’ she said.

What a revelation. Honestly. I had never thought about it that way.

I agreed and realised that is the simplest, nicest and most honest way to describe my relationship with my family.

I don’t share their life values. I don’t agree with their rules, judgments and lifestyle. Their behavior, treatment and value systems are out of whack with mine.

Having read thousands of books, talked to many, wasted years of my life agonizing and wondering ‘what the hell?’ – this simple sentence sums up my entire family life experience neatly.

I don’t talk about them or the situation often, but some are curious and ask. Knowing somebody’s background gives a person depth. Knowing mine gives a person insight into those occasional dark moments, momentary sad silences and hopefully rare odd behavior.

I used to struggle to describe my family without attracting pity or strange looks. I would either lie and say they were great or I would say the truth…. a second with my family is like being in a real live version of the movie Saw, and each and every sequel.  Of late, they started to affect me physically. My body reacted badly each time we spoke or communicated.

‘Born into the wrong family’ says the above in a nicer, simpler less dramatic way.

Having found the right description, I also say a sad goodbye to the family I was born into. There were some, very few, good times.  Somewhere in that darkness, when in the public eye there was a sense of unity and of course love.  That is why my experience is hard to believe for some. Regardless, those few times I cherish.  I still love you but in all honesty, I really seriously don’t want to and can’t be a part of you anymore.  My physical and emotional well being is just too important.

I am embracing the family I created. The family not just limited to my beautiful happy wholesome naughty cheeky children.  My children and I have grandma’s and grand pa’s aunts’ and uncles, some that have no blood or marriage ties but are bonded and blended together with laughter, love and life.

A family that argues but forgives, a family with faults, but tries to improve them, a family that has different opinions, lifestyles and views  and celebrates these rather than frown on them in disapproval.

Farewell wrong family, hello positive bright future and family! I am born again.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Ying and Ying?

‘Even after so many years, you’re all loved up’ a friend once yelled at me.

Her accusation resonated for some time. Should I feel guilty? Happy? What prompted her to say such a thing with such contempt?  When I asked, she said she could just tell that we got along well and she wanted the same thing.  I didn’t know how to answer that.

Mr Lucky and I are loved up. We are very different in many ways, and at the same time quite similar. We still are individuals in our own right.  And yes, of course it’s not always a  given, we work at it. Well, Mr Lucky is truly a patient man.  He often waits for me to remove my foot from my mouth, only to shake his head in disbelief as I replace it with the other.   He is not perfect either. He shakes his head when I swap feet. That is wrong.

Because we arrived in Greece as an already made family as opposed to a growing one (which is what we were in the UK), not many ask how long we’ve been together, or where we met etc. Perhaps we’re not that interesting, or it’s a question nobody asks because frankly – who cares?

You can imagine my surprise when the technician installing our internet turned to me and said ‘ You and your husband really get along don’t you?’  I smiled, thinking, you have just met me. You know nothing about me or Mr Lucky.  I could be a husband beater and he could be living here at home in absolute terror, or I could be his girlfriend visiting while his wife popped out.

When he left, I asked Mr Lucky why he thought the technician said what he said.  Mr Lucky and he had had a little conversation when I was not in the room. It wasn’t at all similar to what we had discussed when he was installing the internet – so his comment left us baffled.

Perhaps he has seen us out? We pondered. Perhaps he knows people that know us.  We reasoned. We let it go and let the afternoon pass.

Little Miss came home from nursery and pointed to Mr Lucky’s t-shirt and said ‘What does that say?’

‘Ramones, it’s a band’ Mr Lucky replied. Little Miss ran off to play satisfied.

The afternoon merged into evening and as we sat around the dinner table, Little Miss turned to me and said ‘I know what that says’ pointing to Mr Lucky’s t-shirt. It says Ramones.’ We both smiled thinking what a good memory she had.

To my horror – she turned to me and said ‘Your t-shirt says the same thing mummy’

When the mundane of day to day life takes up all your attention – it’s a scary when you look up and realise that you and your partner have been wearing identical t-shirts all day.  Good taste aside, a sense of embarrassment hits you like a hard slap – in addition to being ‘matchy  matchy’ you’ve been out and about together holding hands like two loved up teenagers.  Your shame threatens to go into overload and you promise to yourself never ever leave the house again. Almost in lock down, I glare at Mr Lucky. It’s his fault, of course.

Simultaneously our mouths open ‘How could you not have noticed’ we yell.  Blood drains from our faces.  The screaming begins. It’s like hearing a chapel filled with the possessed during a exorcism. I smile (not with evil). The accusations are different. We’re not using the same words. We haven’t morphed into one, we are not completing each other’s sentences. We are angry with each other. Really angry, We’re not that compatible. Phew.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Boy, sorry by George, It’s a miracle!

Two things have prevented me from blogging, and importantly blogging about this particular issue…

1 The heat.  Since May,  I have been very very busy taking advantage of the sun and hot weather. So much so that this normally  pasty white legged mother has turned golden brown. I have been hitting the beach hard, and trust me, it hasn’t hurt.

2. I have been in shock, this genuine state of disbelief has prevented me from writing.

OK, that is a bit of a stretch. The truth is, I haven’t been at all disciplined with my writing but give me a break – I still haven’t found my waist, time will tell if either discipline or my waistline is found.

Regardless, I have a miracle to report – albeit a few months late.  In April, the Baby had her first birthday. We wanted an adult type of party at a child friendly time (by child friendly time I really mean sticking to Baby’s routine).  We couldn’t find a venue that catered to both requirements. We had little choice but have the party at home.

This meant I was in charge of cleaning, entertainment (for the children) and cooking. Scary, not for me but for the guests coming to eat.  There was a great and likely risk that our guests would either leave hungry  or ill or both.

With this high probability, I decided to cheat a little and order some take away and dessert. I still had to prepare entree’s, nibbles, salads and main food accompaniments.

My wise decision to order take away and dessert meant there was a guarantee that some of the food on the table would be edible.

But , this is where a miracle took place.  Everything I prepared was delicious. I was asked for recipes, I was congratulated. And there was no confusion our guests could differentiate between what had been prepared and the takeaway.

My  mother in law called to tell me that the parents of one of our guests had told her that what I prepared was fantastic. Good  news and news of a miracle  travel all the way to Australia!

Mr Lucky and I couldn’t believe it.  Initially we thought the compliments were our guests being polite BUT too many people offered their thanks, and wanted recipes.

Milestones happen – lots of babies turn one, and for most families, the first birthday is usually a big big deal, and it was a big deal for us. But this first birthday was unusual for this little family of four – being congratulated for my cooking is a gynormously big first.

I am slowly getting over the shock, and summer is winding up (a little) so I may be up for blogging again soon.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Nobody puts Baby in the corner

This is a blog of unconditional love. Even I have to roll my eyes and gag a little. So if you are at all like me, I urge you stop reading. Help me save the reputation of this blog site and please STOP.  Move  along, nothing to read, nothing to say.. MOVE ALONG I URGE YOU!

If you are at all on the soppy, 'water spurting out of your eyes at the drop of a hat' type, then by all means read on.....if I bring a tear to your eye then I may have just salvaged my reputation and this blog, and blog site.

I have been so caught up in the mundane and the day to day that an entire year has gone by since having the Baby and I feel cheated. 

Don't get me wrong. I have spent every waking hour and more often than not every half sleeping hour with her. I celebrate her existence with each and every breath but still, I feel cheated. 

She sleeps in her own room. She is almost walking. She has seven teeth. She wants to feed herself. We no longer sterilise or boil water. She dances to music, sends kisses, waves goodbye and hello.  She is no longer a baby.

She has the sweetest cry.  Sometimes I let her cry it out a little bit more because she looks so cute when she cries and the sound is music to my ears. 

We spent the first month of her life in hospital. She loved the plastic crib and somehow managed to rock herself to sleep in it.  The nurses warned me she would have trouble transitioning to her real cot. She didnt.

While desperate to get home to Little Miss and Mr Lucky, The Baby and I used that month to bond. We cuddled and talked and cried and laughed. We slept, we didnt care what time it was. We just hung out.  I have largely wiped the pain and suffering from that memory month. That month was special.

When we got home and Little Miss pulled out her drama costume to push, pinch, bite, or throw things in the cot all to the beat of the song 'What about Me.' But at the one year mark now, The Baby is a force to be reckoned with. 

She can cry for help and push out a tear in a second. She can do this so quickly that Little Miss hasn't  had an opportunity to transition from drama queen to doting big sister.

The Baby is a great eater. Like her parents she can almost swallow a steak in one gulp.  The rolls on her thighs, her protruding belly and big cheeks are constantly adorned with food, food parts or kisses. 

We've thrown sleep training out the window. She sleeps in her cot when she wants to but when she wants us, we comply. There is nothing, and I mean nothing like cuddling up to this warm bundle of sweetness at night (ok nothing until Little Miss insists on headlocking me into submission so our king size bed starts to feel a little cramped.

This smiling dimply bundle of joy has made herself a very much wanted, needed and enjoyed member of our now family of four. Its been an exhausting but fantastic year.  

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Show tunes gone flat.

So yesterday Little Miss decided she wanted to walk home from the park wearing one shoe and despite the elements refused to wear her coat.

I transitioned from gentle coach, encouraging coach, firm mummy, scowling mummy to I can’t take the screaming any more, let her win this one mummy.
Determined to draw more attention to us, she sang loudly, belting out her show tunes with the determination of a performer auditioning for that one role that was theirs since birth.

Ok, she's not belting out her show tunes, they are mine.  The very show tunes that replace frowns, tiredness and scowls with sunshine, smiles, hope and Grease style dancing. 
After she worked her way through Hairspray’s soundtrack (at only 3, her version is generally quite short. She doesn’t know all the words) She turned her attention to the Sound of Music. All the while, she carried her pack of cheese sticks in one hand as though they were fragile chicks.
Each person we walked by smiled  or patted her head.  So taken with the attention, Little Miss began to  skip.
As I watched her happily make her way down the street a few things struck me as this stubborn little mite splashed her way through puddles not worrying about her now soaked sock.
Hearing her laugh unselfconsciously, seeing her smile, having her cuddle give me a hug to last for eternity makes even the best show tune flat. 
She is pure sunshine. She brings warmth, and giggles and magic and fun.  I can’t wait to watch her grow up and go on crazy funfilled adventures only to come home with a fulfilled exhausted smile.
My heart breaks however a little every time I think she is inching closer to the realisation that some people and children can be cruel and hurtful.
I want to hold her hand when she wakes up to the commercial, materialistic competitive world we have created that is judgemental, competitive and money orientated.
Each time I witness an older child or kids in general tell her ‘she cant’’ or ‘ you’re too little’ or ‘ I don’t want to play with you’  I feel as though I have punched in the face about 1000 times.  I don’t  intervene. 
She has to learn to stand her ground. It doesn’t happen often – like all children, she is mostly well liked and plays easily with others. She is also very happy to play on her own or with her sister.
If there is nasty snatching, pulling, punching, name calling – of course I get involved. I want her to be empowered enough to say ‘Stop’ or  ‘ Don’t’ or ‘Go away’. 
How to do this  when all I want to do is wrap her  in cotton wool or bubble wrap – whatever it takes to prevent her from having to deal with any sadness, nastiness or rejection.  Impossible I know.
I relish in the short time I have with her where she:
·         gives cuddles and kisses to consistently throughout the day and doesn’t care who is looking,

·         wants to hold my hand everytime we leave our home

·         she turns and waves to me every so often at the park

·         she seeks our company

·         doesn’t allow anyone , not even me to stop her from doing just what she wants to do. Be it stand barefoot in the street, sing at the top of her lungs or laugh happily on her way to the corner store.
I will be there for her when she needs a cuddle, kiss or talk to take away any doubt, confusion or hurt. I simply pray that that day will never happen. 
What is your favorite show tune?

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Sleep depraved and deprived

Ok, who was that soft around the waist and head mummy moron that uploaded a blog of unconditional love and baby blah blah 'she is so cute I just can't get enough of her'?

Call the doctor. Really - I don't know that woman. Today I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and aside from the 'softness around the waist' issue - I was terrified. There was nothing soft about the woman staring blankly at me.

I will never be able to erase that image from my mind...

That woman (yes, in this sleep depraved and deprived state I speak in the third person) has consulted Gina Ford, Tizzie's 'Save our Sleep', and tried controlled (and uncontrolled - oops that is me, back to first person) crying.   I have watched The Nanny. I have consulted the Baby Whisperer. I have read and researched.   I have tried 'The Deep End Approach' (no dirty jokes here please, am too tired to laugh) - all have failed. I now use the 'No Approach.'

That cute chubby cherub just won't sleep. So much so is her determination to stay awake - that even I am beginning to question how cute she is. Something changed. She just woke up one day and thought, 'No, I am not going to sleep when I am told to. I refuse routine.'

Add Little Miss to the equation.  A stranger at restaurant recently called her Diva.  Not far from the truth I quietly mused.  Last night, or rather this morning Little Miss put on her best show performance. Between 1 am and 3 am our neighbors' had the pleasure of hearing the world's loudest tantrum.  I expect The Baby's refusal to sleep disturbed Diva and this set her off.

So back to The Baby Whisperer, back to Gina and Tizzie and of course The Nanny......great books, well done, thanks for printing and sharing but your techniques DON"T WORK.

I have joined that sorry group of mums on mummy websites sharing painful sleep deprived stories asking or begging for help. I have tried and tested different techniques for weeks and weeks on end (yes I know consistency is key). All have failed. 

If I had the energy I would throw myself a huge tantrum and scream it all out. If I weren't typing I would be raiding the cupboards looking for some gin, or scotch. If only they would sleep,  then I could stop moaning, boring myself and you and write something new!

Some people want world peace, others want money, I want 8 full uninterrupted hours of deep, restful sleep, so I can start to think about anything else other than sleeping.

Are you sleep deprived? What is your story?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Missed Calling

Another early morning blog attributed to my mind racing through a cocktail of issues.

The usual obsessions flow through me. Little Miss' tantrums. Am I too soft or too hard? Am I applying appropriate discipline techniques?

It's The Baby's first birthday next week - where has the year gone? How has my precious cherub grown so quickly and right under my nose? Why can't I buy a version of WD 40 that will oil and mute my noisy joints? After running my nightly 'are they hot or cold' checks, those silly creaks wake the girls each time I creep out of their bedroom. 

I have accepted these issues and many more (mundane to others but critical to me).  A range of new issues however have invaded my thoughts.

Where is that Malaysian plane? What are the real implications of the Ukraine crisis? Will I ever stop obsessing about what is going on in the world?

What will I watch when my nightly fix of a Turkish TV drama (with Greek subtitles) ends?  This drama has helped me escape all of the above thoughts for a little while. The drama is bad, but addictive.

Continuing on my path of inward reflection - I have started to wonder whether I have missed a calling to be a private investigator (P.I).

This thought gives me flashbacks.

A flashback to my teenage years when my sisters took me on a stake out.  I don't remember the details why we were spying on a man and lady that had driven to a parking lot with ocean views (well that says it all doesn't it?) but it was exhilarating.
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The law abiding speed limit car chase to the parking lot, the getting out of the car and hiding behind trees trying to peer into the car was the highlight of my stunted social outing year. 


Nothing came of our investigation other than a quick prayer of thanks to God that nobody noticed us and called the police. The very idea of explaining to my parents why we skipped an aerobics class (yes this was the '80's) to hide behind trees near a car park terrified me more than a night in the slammer.

When I was old enough to coordinate my own stake out, a friend and I decided to drive past a particular  house about 1000 times ducking down low in our seats, to check out an older man as he mowed the lawn. He was in our minds was the local Richard Gere (good looking older gentleman type).

We wanted to investigate just what it was that made us giggle like school girls when we saw him. He must have noticed us (who wouldn't, it was a dead end street). He never told his friends (our parents) but he would always give us a special smile.

We never solved that case but the excitement during each drive by still makes me catch my breath.

In my more mature years, I helped a friend track her straying partner. This time our surveillance moved online.  After a fair amount of snooping - we worked out the friend's online behavior, payments to a discrete business that men patronised, accessed telephone and text messages.

This was the real deal. We snooped and got dirt. The relationship ended once we, ok, I was too scared to -  but once my friend presented the evidence and demanded an explanation.

This case bought genuine satisfaction.

I ignore the fact that being a P.I can be dangerous, it requires wit, secrecy, you can never really talk about work can you? A good investigator would need to work out - admit it, a fat, unfit P.I would never get a good gig, and it's not a 9 to 5 , Monday to Friday type of job.

Not at all practical if you have two cubs and a Mr. Lucky to care for so, in retrospect am glad I didn't pursue this career path.

I wonder if I should turn my thoughts to my next career move. Personal trainer? Wine maker? Personal shopper? Property mogul?

What calling have you missed (career wise) and are you planning on making a career change now?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Regarding Henry

I have always considered myself a one man woman. But like a heroine in a romance novel, my world has been turned upside down.  I don't think it's love. I don't think it's lust. It's  an obsession that just wont pass.

I know it's not right.  There is not much I can do about it.  Like a smitten boy-crazed school girl, I just cant stop thinking or talking about him.


His name is Henry. A nice strong traditional English (I think)  name. A name I wouldnt normally be attracted to - but these things often suprise even the best of heroines.
I first noticed him on  a construction site. I couldnt help but be drawn to him. He looked so in control, he knew he had a lot of work to do, he was going to get dirty and didnt care.  He had a focussed determination - a force to be reckoned with.


No job was too small or big for this strong but friendly brute. What really won me over was his warm smile.


Just when I thought I had my obsession (or fantasy) under control, as luck would have it - Henry charged through my office one day.  A construction and office type!  My fantasy / obsession couldnt get any better, could it? He met every girls dream including those that prefer that their Henry stay at home with the kids. That's right ladies,  I later saw him at a friend's house, getting stuck into the housework, again with that lovely smile.


I was beside myself. I couldnt sleep, I couldnt eat (well that's not entirely true).


I had to talk to somebody about Henry. I had little choice, I had to fess up to Mr Lucky. He knew something was up anyhow. He is the only person in the world that truly understands me. He is my best friend, my partner in crime, my everything. So I took a risk and told him.
He wasnt happy. He yelled, he stomped, he slamed a door or two - but later he calmed down and suggested something I would never ever have thought possible.


'Let's bring Henry home, and see what happens' he said warily.


I was nervous, but didnt waste a second.  I wasnt going to risk Mr  Lucky changing his mind.  Henry came over the next day - and hasnt left.  Well, truth be known,  we left him temporarily and oh how I miss him!!!  While we're holidaying in Greece, he stayed on in London. It would be too weird and costly for him to come with us.

The time we spent together was special.  While I promised Mr Lucky that I would  dance with Henry  once or twice a week  - I couldnt help it,  we tangoed every day. I was happy. He was happy - that lovely smile never left him. And strangely, Mr Lucky was unusually happy. Perhaps because he realised i was finally satisfied.


Now in Greece I pine for him, I cant wait to be reunited.  I think Mr Lucky can't wait too - it will certainly  put me at ease.


To help me cope, I carry a photo of him with me around. Here he is ladies.... my darling Henry. My Henry who meets my sad, hidden obsession with....... vacuming. And yes, we have tried Dyson, he just wont do for me.






Friday, 7 February 2014

It’s a Wrap People.



Break open the bubbly! Today is the last day of the 30 day blog a day challenge. Time to celebrate an achievement.

It’s a mixed bag of feelings and awakenings.  I am:

Ecstatic that I stuck to it, and got through it.

Amazed that I managed to juggle a blog a day with two kids under three and Mr. Lucky.
In addition to the mundane, I have spent the last 30 days looking for alternative accommodation in Greece and the UK. We are moving to another short stay apartment – so am packing up to move house. AND we’re looking at apartments to move in to for when we go back to London, am packing up what we currently don’t need to ship that back to London. FUN!!

Thrilled that I managed to reconnect with Ms. Lintern.

Sad that the challenge is over – I enjoyed dusting off my brain, and giving the fingers a workout.

Relieved that it’s come to an end, the pressure is off.  It got tough towards the end.

Liberated.  I have managed to expel a range of random thoughts; I now have space for more.

Conscious of friends that have actively supported the process and those that haven’t.

Touched to have heard from people I hadn't heard from for years who have been supportive or who have shared their stories or perspectives

Happy that I have met other bloggers, who have provided tips, advice and support.

OK, I haven’t saved lives, lost a few kilos, and changed the world.  But it has been fun.  In 30 days I have managed to clear a whole range of data, ideas that have been floating around in my noggin.

It’s been a great learning experience. I am now better connected with how I write, when I write, and what ends up on screen.

So what is next?  Stay tuned. I won’t be blogging daily – but will continue to blog.

After a break I am sure I will be up for another blog challenges. Who’s in?

Thank you following me, but don’t go away, watch this space.

This blog is the final installment of Lisa Lintern's blog a day challenge. Visit Melodramatic Me.

Follow me at: @mummyfried

Image: Explosion Of Champagne Bottle Cork" by digitalart / Freedigitalphotos.net


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Teasing and bullying.

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I often don’t write about things that make my blood boil or things that upset me. I take all that out on Mr. Lucky, and I pity my keyboard. It has already lost the TAB button and I don’t think I could bear it if I lost any other key.

Being in Greece for some time now I have seen shops close, people lose their jobs, and homes. The Greek financial crisis has created a fear that has dented Greece’s normally euphoric,’ live and love life to the fullest ‘state of being.

There is a growing divide between those who have, and those who have not.

We were in a taverna the other day. A young man came in selling candles. Nobody bought any. He left looking devastated, desperate and lost. 

After lunch, we walked to a children’s play cafe to let Little Miss run around. While we sat there, the same young man came in this time without his bag of candles and asked the proprietor for work. 

Without even looking at him, the proprietor asked him to leave.  As he escorted him towards the door, the proprietor noticed me watching the exchange. The proprietor began pulling faces and imitated the young man's walk. I couldn't believe it.

Here was a desperate young man searching for work, being teased.  I was too shocked to say or do anything.  A few days on, I still feel sick when I think about it.  

The only saving grace is that the young man didn't see what was going on behind his back. He looked so desperate and devastated at being turned away that I shudder to think of the consequences had he realised what was going on.

I grew up in a country town. Being a minority we were like hurricane chasers. We would chase after any Greek gathering within 200 km of our town  just so see, hear, eat and absorb all things Greek.

We went to a Greek dance. I was 9. My parent’s friend’s son, let’s called him Mr. NOT Darcy was being courted by all family members for my cousin. As law student, he was a sound marriage prospect a nearly educated man demanding respect.

Well, he teased me about my big brown eyes. Not in an endearing or flattering way.  Mr. NOT. Darcy was cruel. He was outright nasty.  The other kids my age heard him, and started to tease me. This continued at each gathering. I hated it.

Whenever I saw Mr. NOT Darcy, I put my big brown eyes to use by glaring at him with contempt OR I ignored him. Blatantly. It was uncomfortably noticeable to all that I did not like him. 

Thankfully he didn't marry my cousin. She married a nice, well... lawyer.

When I was about 18 I bumped into him, and to my absolute surprise, he apologised.  I was gob smacked. I swallowed my surprise and simply said, ‘It’s too late, I don’t accept your apology’. 

I have not seen him since but have often wondered if my refusal to accept his apology made a difference to him. It certainly didn't make a difference to me. 

Bullying and teasing affects a victim’s decision making, their confidence, and their sense of self. It impacts how and when a victim makes friends, how one enters a room, walks down the street, meets people. It affects how a victim relates to people. The list goes on.

As an adult I have revisited key moments in my life where my behavior and reactions to situations and people have been less than ideal. I have questioned (but not excused) whether the teasing / bullying was in any way responsible 

Of course education is key.  Cafe proprietors, adults, employers and leader’s must stop being bully’s. Even the most subtle kind of teasing can cause serious damage. These individuals in positions of power, authority should know better. They need to be made accountable.  

But there is more. Victims need support, guidance and direction so that they can turn that damage into something positive.  If a victim survives the bullying they need time to heal. But it’s important to ensure their wounds heal in the right way, so that the bullying ends with them, and that they do not become a bully themselves.

Can you imagine what further damage the teasing would have done to this poor desperate boy had he realised what was going on behind his back?

This blog forms part of Lisa Lintern's blog a day challenge. Visit Melodramatic Me.

Follow me: @mummyfried

Image "Loud Hailer Character Shows Shouting Yelling And Bullying" by Stuart Miles /FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

What is in a name?

Last night we met up with some new friends. In typical Mr. Lucky and Mummyfried style, we didn't know their names.

They must have told us their names the first time we met, but of course it was summer, we had just arrived in Greece and were drunk on sun, good food and tsipouro (a rocket fueled version of ouzo). 

To be honest for a while I thought their names were Baby and Sweetie. When they started to call each other ‘Cutie’ or ‘Lovey’ I realised I had missed the initial name exchange.

I had a rare moment of genius and asked the husband whether his name was pronounced differently in Portuguese as opposed to Greek. So now we know the man’s name.

Mr. Lucky and I have names for each other Mr. Lucky being one, and more descriptive names when we have very very loud conversations.  He also goes by Mr. Cranky, Mr. Messy, Mr. Funny, Mr. I am in so much trouble, but I can’t say he ever goes by Mr. All Loved Up, or Mr. Baby.

Do people grow into the names or nicknames they are given? 

My girls are named after their grandparents. When I look at them, I don’t think of their grandparents. They have made their names their own.  

When I was younger my sister called me Ellie Belly.  Mr. Lucky calls me Kung Fu Panda for largely the same reason. I have a pot belly. Always did.  Today it looks more like a deflated balloon. I have spent many a night awake worrying about it, exacerbating the dark circles under my eyes. I am not sure I like this nickname.

Why I didn't get a nice nickname to grow into? Something like Barbie. I could have had an exciting career(s) Barbie Doctor, Barbie Life Guard, Barbie Rock Star, I would have a dream home, mobile home, jet, and oh what a wardrobe!! Talk about being cheated.

Do parents allocate flower names like Rose, Violet, and Jasmine because they want their kids to grow and blossom, or smell nice?  If it’s the latter perhaps these names should have been boy names. I have rarely met a boy that has grown into a nice smelling teenager.  

Nicknames for children, with the exclusion of Ellie Belly (thanks sis) are understandable. Nicknames for friends can be fun, if harmless. 

But for loved up adults... well, I prefer not to be within earshot of the exchange.  I draw the line at Baby. That is it. I just can't stomach loved up adult nickname exchanges.

I am a loved up adult nicknamephobic.  In my study of people that allocate cutsie names for their loved one, I have found that they are most likely to talk to each other using high pitched baby talk. People, like your dirty talk, please please keep the baby talk at home.

Hearing baby talk between adults makes me, a normally peaceful loving (OK lazy) person become ill with exhaustion. After hearing baby talk my panda eyes are ready to fall out. They just can't take it after seriously intense and sweaty session of eye rolling. 

Do you think you grow into your name or nickname?
If you have a nickname do you like it?
And finally, do you cringe when you hear loved up couples call each other cutsie names?

This blog forms part of Lisa Lintern's blog a day challenge. Visit Melodramatic Me for more.

Follow me: @mummyfried

Image: Panda" by tiverylucky /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Crappy Day

As a new parent, you find yourself paying attention to things or dealing with things you would much rather avoid… like poo.

You are wiping it off baby or his / her clothes after those little soft cheeks have parted to erupt.

You are wiping it off your leg after it has seeped through his / her onsie and clothes.

You are observing it, Is it soft, hard, runny, green, black, yellow?

The color and consistency means something. There are websites with pictures that explains whether baby needs more veg, or if he / she is eating well, or not.

It’s not pleasant. 

Well,yesterday, I had had enough of it. After cleaning baby for what felt like the 100th time, I popped her and her clean butt into the pushchair and went for a walk.

No prizes for guessing what I rolled over. My nose could do with some work but its engine is working fine. In this case, I didn’t feel it. I smelt it.  And it smelt BAD.

I looked around for a puddle or long grass to roll over, nothing.

My worst nightmare.  I didn’t have a bottle of water to try to wash it off. I pulled out my wet wipes, antibacterial hand gel and held my breath.  I had walked a good distance trying to get the poo off the wheels, but this was one was a stubborn little so and so.

I cursed the owner that failed to pick it up.

I got as much off as possible while holding my breath. I washed my hands and returned home glum.

I couldn’t shake the smell. I wondered whether my nose needed a complete overhaul rather than just  a cosmetic nip and tuck?

The pushchair wheels were clean, but I discovered a different color and consistency on the sole of my shoe. A different dog perhaps?

I took my shoes off and left them outside hoping somebody would either steal them or clean them.


As I closed the door I had two thoughts.  

1. Do dog owners obsess about their dog’s poo the same way parents do with their child’s? 
2. How do you get poo off your shoe?

This blog forms part of Lisa Lintern's blog a day challenge. Visit Melodramatic Me.  

Follow me @mummyfried

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net