Thursday, 27 January 2011

Feeling...(a conversation with a chair)

I have spent the past few days looking for random words - which is not as strange a it may seem. I have been following Josie's prompt for the latest writing workshop. What a great way to force yourself to observe the words that surround us - from visual pollution you can pull out that which is thought provoking, the promise of a story, or something to provoke a secret smile.

Nothing quite lit my bulb, until I saw a sad dejected chair that had once been lovingly and creatively painted. One painted word jumped out at me...feeling. In part it returns to an old theme about listening to stories before it is too late. What would happen if that chair could speak - what had led of lovingly painted chair be so shunned. Let us imagine that we can could talk, would it tell us what it was feeling? Suspend your disbelief and lets talk to a chair.

Hello chair, how are you feeling? What are you doing, lurking behind the door? You look so special, so carefully adorned, what is your story? Let me guess, you are in an arts centre,  were you painted as part of an exhibition or as a prop for a show. When you were freshly painted were you in pride of place?

How can I put this delicately, you must be intimately acquainted with many of my fellow humans. Have you met artists, and actors - and have you offered welcome respite in their busy lives? What have you seen and overheard in your time?

Then there must be your fall from grace. How did you, in your painted glory, come to be needed for your function rather than your beauty. Do you miss your glory days or do you miss the glamour of your former life? Again, how does it feel?

As I see you in your faded glory I think of  others, who may have stories, but are do demure to tell? It can be easy to overlook chairs, but how about people? Instead of a chair, it could have been an assuming lady who was once the life and soul of the Music Halls, would I pass her by or take the time to discover her stories.

So chair, it was wonderful to see your faded glory. I would love to hear your tales of life and indiscretions at the heart of an arts centre. Thank you for a glimpse of your potential life.

Here are a few of my other words, in case you too feel inspired!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

What next?

What next? It seems to be a slide towards IVF but I am trying to put the brakes on, sure that after one successful pregnancy I can conceive naturally again - but then I think of my age and at 40 I ought to be chasing after whatever options I have left with no delay.

The whole infertility issue is not easy - the path towards treatment is no bed of roses. You get poked and and prodded and your privacy goes out of the window. I have been on Clomid for a while and I have almost been ovulating, but somehow I don't quite get there.

The amazing nurse at the Fertility Clinic is convinced that I need one final push before we go for IVF - and an injection to try to ensure that I do ovulate. It is quite spooky, we work out when ovulation is due to take place and as it is a Monday I need to inject myself over the weekend - that means no trip to the clinic but I need do the deed myself. I have never concentrated so hard on anything in my life as how to do it. One injection,  two needles, solvents and the drugs.

We are not at home for the weekend so when to do it? We find a time and, of course, I wimp out and get the Hubster to take control. I am okay with injections, but so long as I don't see what is happening. Deep breath and injection over. But will it work?

Hormonal roller coaster! Weeeheee - Clomid and FSH (I think, it is 3 initials which are not HTC) all coursing through me, sending my emotions haywire. What fun! Fortunately the Hubster is a generous and forgiving type.

 I am now so matter of fact about the whole process and the whole failure cycle. After the misfires and the dodgy health (fainting, chronic exhaustion) I do need to think about any extra stresses that I put on my body. A few weeks later and I know the symptoms, the PMT, the churning inside.

I call the clinic on automatic and start to work out the next steps. The lovely nurse asks me if I have actually started my period - funny how I throw in the towel before I have even got to the crunch time. I just seem to be looking fatalistic - counting down the possible months until IVF.

It is funny how I am so upbeat and positive about so much of life but I seem to be totally fatalistic about my fertility. I don't think I am depressed by the situation, and funnily enough I really believe that we are going to have a sibling for the Pickle Why do I seem to be negative about my monthly (lack of) progress? Time will tell!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


The theme for this week's blog is 'Giving' inspired by Josie's charitable work and Action Aid's  new campaign focusing on the amazing feeling their supporters get by helping developing communities work their way out of poverty. (Looking back now at what I have written I am a little surprised at the diatribe, but it is honest and straight from the heart - sorry if it is so serious).

I am tempted to get very cynical about giving. Over the past 24 hours there have been some really damning reports about foreign aid.  First off there was an article about how UK Government aid is more linked to commercial interests than needs, then there was a piece discussing how in Haiti the aid was not helped by the diverse agenda of the aid agencies involved.

Then lets think about other ways of giving. Our Government is encouraging us all to work for the Big Society and give our time to help our community. Funding for community initiatives are being slashed, but that is fine as having been shown the error of our ways we will all volunteer to pick up the pieces. I have worked for a charity setting up board level volunteering partnerships, and I am a trustee of a fab organisation that relies in part the amazing team who give their time so generously - but I know to build rewarding relationships it takes time and effort. Volunteers need recruiting, often training, they need to be given a brief and support - and without the cash, charities often can not harness the potential of volunteers.

Do I disagree with charitable giving? Absolutely not! I am a Mum and I can't see pictures of distressed children in Haiti, Pakistan or hear about the latest heroic fund-raising effort on Twitter without being moved to donate. I just wish that rather than donating a few pounds and hours I had a fully functioning magic wand that would really worked.

I refuse to be cynical - but I am sad. Sad that there seem to be  no ideal or quick fix solutions, sad that there is so much need and I can't do more, sad that the world is not fair. Just because there are no easy solutions I am not going to give my self the excuse not to care or not to contribute. I know that I could do more, I wish I had more money to give, but I am an optimist and believe in hope. I believe in the power of individuals, as together we do make a difference. I wish Action Aid ever success in their new campaign!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

We survived it - and I'm forgiven!

I do love Christmas - the excitement, the family, the sense of occasion. After all the grief of FiL's death in November it was only appropriate to be there despite my family kicking up a stink. As dysfunctional as my family are, his family are sane and happy so it was great to be there. The is a certain kind of comfort in a great family and some of my favourite moments were just watching The Hubster, his sister and brother just gently ribbing their mother with pure fondness and no malice what so ever. Being with the In Laws there are still subtleties of the family dynamic that go over my head: the occasional tumbleweed moment and a little dancing on egg shells.

The most Christmasy bits were more private. The magical time on Christmas morning when the Pickle climbed into bed and we inspected what Father Christmas had brought. He must have read the Pickle's list well as she got her welly boots, sunflower seeds and scissors. He read my mind as I got a couple of cook books, a pestle and mortar,  fluffy socks and a New Internationalist diary with some cartoons so explicitly political it is not appropriate for all business meetings :)

The Pickle had very kindly passed me a virus - so after trying to pull my weight on Christmas day I have been almost bed ridden ever since. I need to pull myself together as the Hubster has been looking greyer and more exhausted I am worried that he is about to succumb. Happy New Year?

Well, yes, Happy New Year - I have been forgiven. After the fireworks of deciding to spend Christmas with the In Laws my Mum is finally speaking to me again. Why? Like the Grinch did her heart grow by two sizes? Almost, it was a gift: diamonds? a designer hand bag? No, it was a small, lurid, fluffy horse that could fit into your palm. Far from the tasteful and chic it was tasteless and cheap but it was obviously chosen for her by her Granddaughter, and she loved it.

Happy New Year to you all - I hope that this is a year of family, peace and a little silliness for us all! xx