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mardi 28 avril 2009

My baby

Yeah, so I've been really crap about posting and keeping up to date regarding my challenge.


My baby girl. My little baby girl, my little rabbit, my littlest Smurflet... She turned 5 today and is now suddenly all grown up.

I'm absolutely not getting broody for another baby, I swear.

But still. My baby. Is 5. I've even been bumped up to the "Big Kid newsletter" from Baby Center.

I think we celebrated L's 5th birthday pretty well. Yeah, OK, Sunday was the only day it has rained (poured even!) in the last 2 weeks, so our plans to have fun at a nice park we know went (quite literally) down the (flood) drains.

Which meant a MAJOR tidy up at our place (haven't seen the place look this good since before we moved in 3 years ago!).

But in other ways it was quite practical having to do the party at home - no transportation problems (still don't have a car and the person who offered to help out had to pull out the day before because her little girl was too ill to come to the party), easier to coordinate, etc.

There were 16 kids in total (11 girls, 5 boys), and, compared to C's wild 7th birthday party in January (with only 9 girls), this one was a breeze. The kids were well behaved, seemed to have a lot of fun yet remained reasonably calm and collected, they nearly all ate their cake, those that asked for strawberries ate them very nicely, there was very little crying, no major accidents... IT WAS A GOOD PARTY!

And L got given such beautiful presents! She's such a lucky little girl, she really is!

Then, today (her actual birthday), she got a small present from us this morning, then, for the first time ever, we picked her and C up from school at 11.45 along with 2 friends (one for each, but sisters) who couldn't come yesterday and had a little lunch party, with L's favourite food (roast chicken, sauté potatoes, green beans, then strawberries). Back at school in the afternoon, there was cake and juice and candles and singing, and then, finally, after school, we came home, opened her presents from us (she LOVES her Tinkerbell computer!), C, Papy, my dear friend M and my cousins, had a nice dinner and yet another cake with candles.

And as the weather was fabulous (of course), she even got to wear her beloved pretty dress.

I'm waaaay behind with my work (not only have I had multiple birthday preparations to take care of, but I'm also up to my eyeballs in the school newspaper and have just got myself involved in the organisation team for the school end of year fête) and haven't done much about my Challenge (but, alternatively, haven't had much time to break it either, as a result, unless you count a much-needed Egg McMuffin on Saturday morning).

However, I haven't abandoned it altogether, especially as today is exactly 3 weeks till my birthday.


Day 16: I'm going to get some nice pictures (we have quite a few) up on the walls at last.
Day 17: I also want to try and get the girls' room decorated once and for all - though almost certainly not before my birthday, this will probably have to be during the summer.
Day 18: I want to try and read some less trashy books, less gory books.
Day 19: I want to get all the remaining kit furniture put together and put to use...
Day 20: ...Following on from Day 19, I want to sort out the CD collection for the "new" CD shelf so we can actually find stuff at last.

Now, it's 12.36 am, my head is aching, I feel strangely sick (possibly overdosed in sweetness from the 5 cakes I've made since Saturday night, even though I've actually eaten very little of it) and I'm aching to go to bed for a week. But there's not much chance of that: have a text to finish tonight, have to prepare the girls' stuff for tomorrow, have to take them to school tomorrow and then spend most of the day printing, folding, assembling and delivering the school newspaper an then most of the evening working like a slave.

Oh, and my tax forms still aren't done and sent out because the extranet link doesn't work.

Could I be any more tired? Really, could I?

vendredi 24 avril 2009


Yup, I failed. Didn't get to bed till 2.45 am, ate bonbons all morning (and made myself feel sick), got pretty much fuck all done today.

Total funk.

BUT. Did mention my heart's desire-for-a-birthday-present to D (a day at a spa place near where we'll be on holiday this summer), did get most of my tax forms done (not the main one, of course, but the smaller, easier ones. Plus the on-line declaration thing only doesn't work for me, so I'm pretty much fucked there too) and did do some work on the school newspaper (nearly printing time if I'm not mistaken), so not a total waste of time. Oh, and despite little sleep (in bed at 2.45, up at 7.30) I didn't go back to bed. What a hero.

And D started looking into cars (depressing business, but absolutely vital), and he's actually got some work to do, and the weather forecast no longer mentions storms and thunder, just rain, so maybe, just maybe, it'll all fizzle out and at least be dry for the party on Sunday, and bought L's main present - a Tinkerbell "computer" that she's been aching for since last year.

Still have a shitload of stuff to do, though.

And I'm totally motivationless at the moment. Can't be arsed to do anything. Feel fat and ugly, tired and dissatisfied, depressed and worried about money. Not to mention OLD.

With my MIL starting to get really nasty (last week, she and D had another row and she claimed that my father and I are a bad influence on him, that we're stifling his natural character and trying to transform him into "one of us" (which makes us sound like aliens when obviously we're not. Beep. Beep.) bla, bla, bla). All I can say is that I really hope I don't pick up the phone to her any time soon because I might just let rip - this woman is POISON and I've been too polite for too long. I feel that the time has come to get nasty right back.

Maybe this is the New Me - more candid, less conciliatory, more enflamed. More passionate, perhaps.


Day 16: I'm going to sort through all my clothes - four different piles: still wear, throw away, give away, keep but don't wear. And that last pile will go in plastic IKEA boxes down in the cellar. And then I'll really tidy up my wardrobe and drawers, so that I can find stuff when I want it and so that I can actually hang stuff up in the wardrobe. To be honest, I'm kind of embarrassed that I even have to write stuff like this - my guess is that to most people this is a total no-brainer. But mess is one of my middle names, and lazy is the other, so the result is heaps of stuff, badly folded, stuffed in drawers and on shelves, totally unfindable.

And please, keep praying that it won't rain on Sunday!

jeudi 23 avril 2009


Can you believe this is my 100th post? I feel like I should be doing something special, but can't think of anything special to do... Maybe I'll come back to this and celebrate a random number when I've come up with something...


Our short week in Arles was nice, my father's visit was nice (C and L had such fun playing with him!), I'm still stressed and freaked about my tax forms (stuff still not found, the on-line declaration thingy isn't working, e-mails for assistance are unanswered...), I have a shitload of stuff to do for L's upcoming (SUNDAY - gah) 5th birthday party (not to mention we're supposedly holding it at a park and Sunday is the only day this week with THUNDER promised and the park is about 20 minutes from our place and we still don't have a car and our flat is small and I really, really don't feel like entertaining 15 kids (15!) here on Sunday and maybe I should use some punctuation once in a while too), and well, you know.

No car. Such a bummer.

No money, even worse.

And my Challenge? Well, I'm pretty behind in my "40 things before I'm 40", but other than that, and apart from 2 packets (30 g each) of crisps, I've done pretty well. Haven't bought any clothes at all, haven't eaten crappy food, my desk is sort of tidy (though my paperwork is still a total disaster), I've been looking after my skin and I remembered to send a birthday card to a friend from years ago. I feel quite proud of myself.

That said, I have an awful lot of challenges to find (I'm on Day 15 and only have 5 down in print so far)...

Here we go:
Day 6: I'm going to get my hair cut in an attempt to make me feel better about the way I look (it'll take more than that, believe me, but it'll be a start)
Day 7: I'm going to keep my nails pretty this summer (polished, yes, but redone when needed, not just waiting till all the varnish has chipped off)
Day 8: I'm going to get myself a check-up - if nothing else to deal with all the god-awful sneezing
Day 9: I'm going to get my "memory box" up and running. Unsurprisingly (stationery freak that I am), I've already bought the box itself, now I just have to get my memories together and put them in... And, being a total packrat, I suspect I might need more than one box...
Day 10: I'm going to order some stuff from a catalogue (no, not clothes - "beauty products" ha! ha!) so that I can get their free gift - an exercise strap thing, and I'm going to try and use it regularly
Day 11: I have to find a way to drop hints for D (and not too subtle hints at that) as what I want for my birthday (a spa day when we're on holiday near Biarritz in July)
Day 12: I really want to sort out all our book shelves - there's no order at all, so books (given that we must have over 1,000) are almost impossible to find, and I want to put them by type of book, not in alphabetical order
Day 13: I want to get my photos sorted out, too, and put the decent paper versions in nice albums to show the girls as they get older
Day 14: I'm going to try to stop sleeping during the day (which basically means not going to bed after, say, 1 am - tonight is going to be tough, it's already 12.50 am and I haven't had my shower yet...)
and finally
Day 15: I'm really going to try and do my accounts at least quarterly (instead of waiting till one month before tax declaration day and then having to do one year's accounts in one sitting).

Wow, I'm going to be such a changed person!

So, have to go and have my shower really quickly (I've also promised to take the girls to school tomorrow, so I've got to be up and dressed by 8.20 anyway) so I can be in bed not too much after 1 am...

And 100 posts. Wow. I'm impressed with myself!

lundi 13 avril 2009


Yup, that's how I feel.

My list of things to do is still depressingly long, whilst the time left to finish it all is still depressingly (and increasingly - funny, that) short.

Did a whole shitload of stuff today, it's just that most of it wasn't even on the goddamn list in the first place. D was moderately helpful, though I could have done without his "yoga session in the bedroom for an hour" as it meant I had to prepare the (admittedly delicious) lamb roast, ratatouille and potatoes when I would have preferred to get on with my proofreading (still not finished, still over half left God help me).

And I did a little more of my accounts but still haven't found my bank statements for May so am seriously fucked. Can't believe how disorganised I've been. Hence my Challenge, I guess.

Speaking of which...

Day 5: I'm going to try and keep in touch with my friends and family a bit better. This should be easier than some of the others, except of course that I'm lazy and let things slide. But now that I'm (aaaaarrrrggggghhhhh) turning 40, I need to strengthen the ties, to give my daughters something to hold on to...

Anyway. We'll see how I get on. As for the other Challenges, well, I did eat 2 Cadbury's Creme Eggs this evening (heaven in a foil wrapper), but D was present so I don't think I've failed as such...

Plus my father arrived and has been suitably set upon by C and L, who seem to use him mainly as some kind of acrobatics equipment (don't know how he stands it!). They are pleased to see him, though, and have been having a lot of fun, so that's cool.

dimanche 12 avril 2009

Happy Easter!

Although my father's arriving from Scotland this afternoon (and I'm looking forward to seeing him), I'm thoroughly stressed out about the next two-and-a-bit days.

I have SO MUCH to do! I'm not going to list it all, but just let you know that on my "list of things to do" there are currently 17 things, many of which are not just quick, dash them off type of things. And it's already 3.30 am.

D was supposed to do one of the things this evening - make the ratatouille. It's not hard to do, just a little time-consuming. He said he didn't want to stay up late (fair enough), but by the time he did go to bed he could quite easily have made the ratatouille. The truth was he just couldn't be bothered and preferred to vegetate in front of the TV while I worked (of course). So, and because he of course wants to go to church tomorrow (he hardly ever goes, so of course he decides he wants to go the very weekend I have a mountain of stuff to do), I guess I'll have to try and make it, in between all the rest of the stuff I have to do.

And it's been absolutely pouring with rain for over 24 hours now - I feel like I should be adding "build an Ark" to my list...

For the Challenge, I didn't eat crap today (couldn't really - I didn't go out) and I didn't buy any clothes off the internet, but I didn't really get anywhere with my paperwork (though it was - and still is - on my list, of course). So that'll have to be tomorrow, now.

For Day 4, I've decided to try and take better care of myself - never "forgetting" (for which read "being too lazy") to do my skin care stuff at the end of the day, trying to wash my hair more often, dress a little better, do my legs a little more often, do my nails, you get the picture.

I'm almost 40 and I really do feel big, lumpy, blimpy, old and ugly. And I have to do something about that. My beautiful girls tell me I'm beautiful too, but that's only because a) I'm their maman and b) they're still very young. But now I want them to at least not be ashamed of me as they grow older (some of the mothers at their school are terrifyingly French-chic... I know I'll never look like that, but if I could at least try and look smart and well-turned out, that would be enough).

This Challenge is really tough - but I'm hoping to emerge like a butterfly (OK, an OLD butterfly) at the end of it!

Happy Easter - and enjoy all that chocolate!

samedi 11 avril 2009

Quick post

Just to say that I've joined the many who'll be going purple for Maddie (not a problem for the girls and me - we've got a shitload of purple stuff to wear, and we'll wear it with pride tomorrow in the memory of that sweet and beautiful little girl).

Day 3...

...sort of.

By which I mean that today was such a non-event of a day (for me) that I'm not sure it even counts. I did, however, throw out some junk mail today, junk mail of the type I usually keep and scan for possible bargains, so I guess I did something good.

As for the Challenge, well, I'm beginning to wonder how I'll ever find 40 things to do - I'm already struggling with number 3. It's not that I can't think of things I'd like to do, or even should do. It's more that I want to succeed, and many of the things I'd like to do (and, even worse, the things I should do) are the kinds of things I'll fuck up. And I don't want to start making rash promises doomed for failure from the start (you know, things like "I'll do 30 minutes of real exercise every day" - we ALL know I'll fail that one, probably on the very first goddamn day). So what have I come up with, that isn't a total cop-out, isn't totally trivial and isn't just insane?

I'm going to get my professional paperwork in order.

I feel sick with stress just looking at that sentence. It's such a tall order - you cannot believe the mess my professional papers are in (just one, tiny example: I have to get all my professional accounts for 2008 finished (I know, I know, it's April 2009 already. Tell me about it) and I probably would have done by now if I hadn't totally lost my two bank account statements for May 2008... Just a gaping hole in my account book. Total nightmare).

Yes, it's an excuse to go crazy in a stationery shop - but I've already done that. And yes, I need to get D to put my snazzy red IKEA shelf up above my desk, but we all know that's just a pretext. The real problem is that I'm hopelessly disorganised.


Although I'm not saying I'll get my paperwork in order by my birthday (I have to be reasonable - we're going away next week, I have my accounts and stuff to do, my tax forms, shitloads of invoices, tons of work, the school newspaper...bla, bla, bla),


My real aim is to be able to do my accounts on a monthly basis. Hardly the stuff dreams are made of, but if I could get my arse in gear and do my accounts that way, it would be much quicker, much less stressful.

So there you have it. I'm going to get out all my lovely, shiny, new folders, files, archive boxes and what have you, and I'm going to make a start.

But first, I could really do with some chocolate. Or maybe some cheese on toast. Or some porridge....

vendredi 10 avril 2009

Day 2

Today's challenge: to stop buying clothes on line that I most likely will never dare to wear.

I know, that makes it sound like I buy all kinds of kinky, sexy, lacy, frilly, latex or leather stuff.


But what I do (often) buy is stuff that looks great on the internet (ie, on a model who is evidently both much slimmer and much younger than I am) but then either doesn't fit me properly - I know, that means "send it back" or "get a different (usually bigger *sniff*) size", but I'm always too caught up in my "but it'll fit/look great once I've lost some weight" fantasies, so I end up with shitloads of stuff in my wardrobe - or does fit but makes me look like a grounded whale. Either way, I have shitloads of cute clothes in my wardrobe that I can't and/or won't wear. And don't even get me on to the subject of shoes (that's a whole other post, people).

As for yesterday's challenge, well, I guess I've kind of done OK - we had lunch at IKEA and yes, I caved in and took chips with my chicken and green beans. But there weren't many and I wasn't on my own... And then I had a slice of Daim cake... So maybe I didn't do so great after all. But as I said, it wasn't in secret, so I've sort of kept my promise.

For the clothes, it'll be tougher still - all I need is to get an e-mail from one of my favourite on line shops announcing either a mega reduction or a fantastic and extremely desirable free gift and I'll be tempted. But I'm going to try and hold out till after my birthday. Should be possible.

One other thing - after all my stressing and worrying, C's appointment at the doctor showed only that her heart is in great shape. Her murmur is "organic" (like Mrs C. said) and absolutely nothing to worry about. Such a relief!

Of course, the other day L got taken away in an ambulance (though that was mainly because we still don't have a car) with a temperature of 38.7°C and a "sore neck"... Obviously, for C and I (left at home), panic levels were high, me morbidly Googling meningitis and making myself almost hyperventilate and C sad because her little sister wasn't around. But in the end, all was well and D and L came home "tired but happy" with nothing more than a diagnosis of some weird, unknown virus and a prescription for aspirin. But it was stressful all the same. And seeing my sweet baby being driven away in an ambulance WITHOUT ME was horrific.

So. I'm now only 39 days away from turning 40, but my sweet little girls are in good health. All the rest is unimportant.

jeudi 9 avril 2009


God help me but it's true: in 40 DAYS I will be 40 YEARS old. And boy does that sound OLD to me. I can't quite believe it, actually (except when I look in that sneaky old mirror when it is all so BLATANTLY true).

So, in honour of this great event (?), I've decided to do...(drum roll)...

40 things to do before I'm 40.

How original.

And how unnaturally optimistic - can you really see me doing 40 "new, wonderful, life-changing" things in 40 days? No, I can't really, either.

But I'm going to give it a try. Of course, I'm going to be without internet for a few days next week (how will I survive?), so you might get a few lots-in-one-go posts. But I'm sure you'll cope.

So, on to Day 1.

I won't eat any junk food when I'm on my own in town until I've turned 40 (by which time I hope I'll have got sufficiently out of the habit and won't crave it any more). I know, sounds like a doozy, but really, sometimes (not very often, I admit), I find myself walking past McDo (as they call it here) and THAT smell (chips, fried food...) gets up my nose and I just have to go in. Of course, I always regret it and feel like shit for the rest of the day... Hence my "40 resolution". All part of that "New Me" stuff I tried a while back (and failed at - even my Tai Chi has stopped because my sweet teacher has found a "proper" job and has cancelled all remaining classes).

Wish me luck!

PS Spare a thought for a family that is in pain this evening - I just read on Heather's blog the sad news about Maddie... Crap news like this really puts everything into perspective...

mercredi 1 avril 2009


Here in France it's now officially 1st April (no kidding), which means it is now officially 13 years that D and I have been "married". Even though we're not actually married. But this is the anniversary of our first "date", I guess (not a particularly auspicious start, and I'll spare you the details).

13 years. Wow.

I checked on some website and apparently 13 years is either lily of the valley (not quite in season) or lace. What on earth was I supposed to get D with those two things as the traditional symbols?! So I bought him a Rahan book - his favourite cartoon from when he was a kid. Nothing to do with either lily of the valley or lace, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter because my guess is he's probably forgotten anyway.

As for our woes, well, the printer's still fucked and the car seems to be pretty much dead. I don't have the least idea how we'll ever be able to afford another car - my debts just keep on growing, and it doesn't matter how much I work (and lord knows I work a lot), I'm still in debt. That said, life without a car seems pretty unimaginable too, so this all looks complicated and nasty and expensive, whatever we do.

And of course I haven't really got anywhere with my accounts or tax forms or anything and I'm stressed beyond belief.

On the good news side of things (there has to be one somewhere), C has finally started to lose her baby teeth - the first one came out on 22 March (after she hit it on the side of the swimming pool on 14 March it started moving quite a bit, the dentist said it was OK and it came out all by itself) and the second one on 30 March. She's so pleased! And she looks so cute with her huge gappy smile!

Also, I'm starting to get my shit together for L's birthday party on 26 April. I know that seems ages away, but I had to get the invites done and given out at school because half term starts this Friday (3 April) and they don't go back till 20th... We're just going to go to a park (pray for good weather - I don't want to have to do it here!), but it should be fun, as long as enough of the kids she's invited come... Can't believe my baby's going to be 5...

So, it's now 4.30 am yet again and I have to be up tomorrow (I mean, today) by about 9.30 because tomorrow's the big checking-C's-heart-murmur-at-the-hospital day. She's pretty scared, I'm trying to reassure her but am pretty scared myself. Not much fun for April Fool's Day (although it's all about fish here in France).

Wish us luck at the hospital tomorrow morning, and pray that we find a solution for our car!