Friday, 19 February 2010

1,2,3 Whine

My poor blog is looking a little neglected which is nice, since I am always looking for more things to feel obscurely guilty about. Sorry. I am fighting a rearguard action against despair (Sorry, what's that? Perhaps I shouldn't have ditched the anti-depressants in quite so cavalier a fashion last year? Yes, probably). I don't know how I forgot about the perpetual shiteness of February. I was firmly on my guard against January dejection and cruised through with gritted teeth, clever planning and lots of cheap confectionery, but then February came and the light fooled me in to thinking it was getting to be spring when it's not. Not even slightly. Fuck OFF winter. Today the skies in Brussels are a sort of deep pewter colour, with occasional bouts of whipping rain for variety. I have been driving around some of the more unsightly bits and there were moments when the grey buildings and the sky seemed to merge into one. You know, like it's supposed to on Carribean beaches, except with dirty grey instead of cerulean blue.

Aaaaanyway. I am having First World Problems evening tonight, because, as you can probably discern, I am absolutely brimming with them, each more trivial and pathetic than the last. And we haven't done First World Problems for ages, so it must be time. Before I launch in, though, here are a few nice things, because I am ridiculously over-privileged really and have a nice life and all that.

Delphic were very excellent live this week. I recommend. They are not unsightly to look at either, which always helps. Also, gigs in Belgium are usually teeny weeny and this was no exception, which means you can get stalkerishly close. Often bands look puzzled to find themselves in Belgium, as well they might, and it seems to the observer as if they haven't got a clue where they are or why. Delphic were no exception, but they did a good set anyway.

I made masala lamb chops (yes, I know Ramsay is an arse, but they looked tasty). They look good. I have put them in the freezer, because I started drinking gin when I was supposed to be eating yesterday and the whole dinner thing got a bit forgotten in a morass of shitty French tv and self-pity. But Sunday night will be masala lamb chop night, and that is a very good thing indeed.

I love Julian Casablancas's album. Yes, I am a few months late on this. That is because I live in Belgium, the spiritual (and desired fiscal) home of Johnny Halliday and things take a very very long time to get here through that scary hole in the ground under the sea. This and this especially make me very happy walking the dog, and it takes a lot to make me happy walking the dog, which is a hateful business full of mud and sticks and enforced conversation with lunatics, and not at all the elegant saunter to a pavement cafe I always imagined.

There are now two music things in this list (and Vampire Weekend on Monday, hurrah) which makes me very edgy indeed, because music related posts always degenerate horribly. Moving on!

I am going to Paris tomorrow for dinner. Hurray, hurray hurray. I will be tying the dog (yes, he's coming) to a tree outside Ladurée and emptying the place of St Honoré aux Framboises and violet éclairs.

My bedroom is an endless source of delight.

Right, enough of the Polyanna crap. This is not why you come here.

My first world problems. Please do add your own.

1. Clothing problems

The light says 'spring' and my brain believes it. From in here you can't tell it's 2°, so I skip out in - real example from this morning follows - an ultra thin cotton sleeveless tshirt and a cropped cotton jacket, with ballet flats. Erreur fatale. I had to shelter in Bricorama for warmth and ended up buying a storage heater and 33 lightbulbs to justify my presence.

Worse even than coldness, are the light-induced wardrobe disasters. Somehow, the things I have been wearing all winter have ceased to cut it and I am trying to get clever with my clothes with unspeakable results. Monday, I recall, was particularly atrocious. Some kind of hideous, unkempt and slightly gothic combo of far too short black skirt, black APC blazer (lovely, but with a hole in the shoulder) and beautiful but somehow wrong Philip Lim top. Tuesday was not much better, with me attempting this sleeveless dress with a long sleeved tshirt in a way that might have worked on someone ten years younger and more dikdik like. The change of season thing is always tricky. I should just brazen it out in my opaques and shrouds until May at the earliest, really. I can't buy anything else, ever. EVER, I tell you.

2. Transport problems

It would be tasteless to elaborate on this to any extent because the reasons are properly terrible, but it will take me over three hours and two changes to get to Paris tomorrow, and the same back on Sunday, which means getting up wrongly early with what will doubtless prove to be a disgusting hangover. Also, there is no way of getting hold of Eurostar tickets at the moment, they are simply not selling them, so how exactly I will be getting to London next Thursday is somewhat mysterious. I will however be getting there even if it kills me.

3. Incompetence

I have done plenty of practical things for the house, but nowhere near enough writing recently, which makes me cross. Chapter 8 has had to be stamped on very hard and broken into tiny fragments. It is necessary but depressing to end up with less words. I still have no driving licence, ID card or health insurance piece of plastic following my late November wallet theft. This is ridiculous. I am ridiculous. I have all this time and I am piteously bad at making the most of it.

4. Gloom

I am less good at being on my own than I thought. I think I had failed to factor in the 'only at work 2 days a week' part, which means that I could, theoretically see NOONE but the caissières at Delhaize and the elderly dog walkers for 5 days. This doesn't happen, of course, I force people to talk to me. But my belief in my own suitability for a hermit-like life has been fractured. The habit of living with someone, built up over 16 years, is hard to shake, and I was stupid and complacent and short-sighted to think it wouldn't be an issue for me. It is. The house is very empty now, when the boys have been away for over ten days. The dog helps, a little. But there's no point in commenting to the dog on the idiocy of Belgian tv, all he will do is bring me a half chewed slipper in the vanishingly small hope that I might throw it for him.

Compounding the loneliness, I am carrying all manner of guilt at the moment about a myriad transgressions and stupidities and selfishnesses. I should be a catholic, at least I could go and get ashed and be properly penitent. Instead I just mope.

Also, I do miss the children. I feel a bit unmanned by their absence, if that makes sense. Unmothered. Aimless. That isn't a first world problem, per se, but at least I know they are playing Nintendo and having swimming lessons, and according to Fingers, eating different kinds of sausages every day at their grandparents. And haven't been kidnapped to be child soldiers or whatever. So I give this one semi-first world status only.

5. Truly trivial

You can't buy turmeric in Brussels. ANYWHERE.

I still loathe the haircut.

Everyone has been watching fabulous appointment tv in the UK this week (my Big Fat Gipsy Wedding, the Brits), and all I have to amuse me is po-faced reportage about dodgy white goods repairmen and French farmers in spas in paper pants. I need Brain Twin to come and sort me out some dodgy downloads NOW before I start clawing at the textured salmon walls.

Ok, that's me. I could go on infinitely, but I think you deserve a turn.


hypotemuse said...

This week has been a bit of a cuticle-ripper, so I'm sitting on my hands (not right now, obviously) and my nails look bloody awful.

Have been having very uncharitable thoughts towards a work colleague and have spent too much time day-dreaming of him contracting an if not serious then very uncomfortable illness. (Oh dear.)

Have been getting seriously irritated about the overuse in the English language of the term 'inappropriate' and 'not appropriate'. Just say it's wrong/bad/crap/whatever. Christ, the world would be a lot better if people just said what they actually mean. (With the obvious caveats re. being deliberately hurtful etc.)

It hasn't been the greatest of weeks, has it? But it's the weekend now, and I intend to put it to good use by sleeping a lot.

Your black dress is lovely, and you look lovely in it. =)

Anonymous said...

i envy your going to Paris for dinner or whatever with dog, even if you have to change 3 times.

and as regards grey sky and wheather, i was reported that today it was brighly sunny in Paris. so you'll have a brake on that as well.


p.s. dress up properly. Paris is not Brussels. You are alowed to look excellent!

the polish chick said...

i thought you wrote "violent eclairs" which would have been excellent. i was a little disappointed they don't have those in paris after all.

M. said...

On the train yesterday, an incredibly rude man picked my scarf off the seat next to me and put it ON TOP of the magazine I was reading, without a word or a look of apology, then sat down. If he'd asked politely, I would have happily moved my scarf away.

I wished him all manners of ills, like slipping in dog poo, or maybe getting an unpleasant infection of some sort.

Anonymous said...

I am on a diet. No carbs a la India Knight, which I know works as I lost three stone last year, but I have at least a stone and a half to go and the inability to sate my need for comforting things with mashed potato is making me crazy.

My best friend has just had a baby. I am thrilled for her, have never ever ever wanted children myself (honestly, truly, never ever) but yet it's making me really sad for a life I will never have.

I still have no functioning overhead lights in my flat.

But, on the bright side, at least I'm not in Belgium...

MargotLeadbetter said...

Jerry just opened a bottle of wine and gave me a glass of it. It is not very nice and I don't want any more of it, but I want some of the (potentially) nice wine in the next (unopened) bottle, which was also bought by Jerry. I fear that my opening the new bottle will be frowned upon, so I am wineless. Life can be utter torture.

Em said...

Ramsey is a total dickhead. That needed to be confirmed.

I do so understand about that somewhat grim aloneness that occurs even though you've always been someone who enjoys their own company and proably craves it when in the midst of normal chaos. I tend to find myself gritting my teeth a lot and wandering about in the middle of the night beating myself up about everything I didn't achieve that day.

If catholicism would save me I'd consider giving it a go...

Leona said...

M, when people are mildly rude to me I always ALWAYS wish nits on them. I reckon it's not nice to want people to break their legs, or anything bad like that, but nits are OK.

Madame DeFarge said...

With clothing, I have adopted a multi-season wardrobe, which consists of adding or subtracting a scarf to whatever I wear. It's a simple look, but works for one of my fashion sense.

Ms. Scotch said...

I am currently unemployed and on an intense diet (including strenuous workouts and the like) that makes me feel like I hate the lovely Boyfriend Scotch. I don't. But he is the only thing near me to be grumpy at... Crap.

Though I AM solacing myself with Scotch (go figure). Less calories than beer!!

Have a lovely time in Paris!

jojo said...

My third world problems: I am very bored of mucking out my horses. I now have three, which is two too many when it is very cold and they eat a lot and I have to hide the blacksmith bills from the OH.

I bought Lancome's Genifique serum on twitter's recommendation and it is plainly not working. I do not look dewy. Not remotely. I do have a large spot on my chin.

I have spent a cataclysmic amount of money on blinds for the new living room, only to find they are the exact beigey shade of the sofas. It looks like a PostHouse Forte trying to do Kelly Hoppen.

I disgust myself with the first world nature of these problems. And I sponsor two children via Plan International and it has been over a year since I have written to either of them. Argh.

jojo said...

Duh. Obviously I meant FIRST world problems at the start of that post. Too much New World wine.

lisahgolden said...

I may have "thrown" a job interview this week because I don't want to work from 8:00a.m. until 7:00pm, 5 days a week for a bunch of ingrates. My family is currently down to -$4.93 in its bank account and we're living on bits of pasta and some frozen vegetable trimmings I'd saved to make soup stock, but I still couldn't force myself to sit still and not fidget during the 2 hour interview.

Anonymous said...

I think that I can ease at least a tiny bit of your pain. You can absolutely get turmeric at Green Pepper on Chaussee de Wavre (it's between Trone and Place Jourdan, just opposite that road which goes up to the dinosaur museum, and next to the very good fishmonger). They also have heaps of other spices, poppadums in about 17 flavours, and PG Tips.

Sorry internet, that was a bit local. As you were.

Brussels Dave

J. said...

Yay! I love a good first-world whine.

-I went to Trader Joe's tonight and amidst a frenzy of chucking sea salt & dark chocolate encrusted almonds, pretty flowers, and other entertaining luxuries into my cart, blanked out and forgot to buy any real food. Right now I'm consuming stale curried popcorn, Girl Scout cookies (which just aren't the same now that they've eliminated the trans fats), and a prescription painkiller--i.e., the Dinner of Champions (tm).

-Our internet at home is working intermittently and I don't know how to fix it. My lovely but unemployed brother will be coming over tomorrow to see to it, which means having to feed him and watch movies with him. I resent this intrusion into my plan to stay in my pajamas all day, unshowered.

-I have to be filmed next week for something extremely boring and the dead opposite of glamorous, and my skin is rebelling and I'm afraid I will look fat and won't be able to master the teleprompter.

-To kick off a major restructuring program at work (which they've dubbed "Sustainability" but which really should have been called "Holy Shit, We're Running Out of Money!") they bought all the employees an illustrated book called "Our Iceberg Is Melting" in which penguins spout tired bromides about adjusting to change. The key points are already underlined in the text, just in case you are an extra special flavor of idiot who can't figure it out for yourself.

-I can't find a recycling collection bin that fits under my kitchen counter.

-All my favorite shows aren't airing episodes this week because of the Winter Olympics. I've had to resort to falling asleep in front of DVDs of the Mighty Boosh.

-We changed the cat's diet from one shockingly expensive type of cat food to another and she's been having unpleasant digestive side effects.

-I haven't started my book club book yet, and the meeting is Tuesday. I have managed to read 5 other books and about 1,000 blog posts instead.

redfox said...

1. I left my purse in a cafe and it seems that someone took it in the hour between my leaving it and checking back. Replacing all the cards is as nothing compared to how it will take WEEKS for the bowels of the university to make me new keys to my office. Note that it is the fact that I am lucky enough to have an office of my very own, with its own locking door, that makes this lament possible. Also I feel like a terrible, empty headed booby, obviously, for forgetting the fucking thing.

2. I have not looked remotely chic in what feels like forever, as I am extremely pregnant and have worn the same two pairs of yoga pants for the past month. And of course I will not be looking remotely chic again for approximately one million years.

3. And so (the dénouement!) I now want very much to buy things online to console myself but (a) NO CARDS, (b) what exactly was I going to buy, anyhow, a caftan? Phooey.

Artichoke Queen said...

I am so with you on transitional seasonal dressing. Is there anyone who's good at it? I mean, yesterday it was 73 and today it was freezingly 55 and I had to put on a little cotton cardi. How am I supposed to cope?

Some asshat nanny for one of my neighbours parks so close to my car that I can't actually get the drivers' side door open wide enough to get in, so I always have to put the top down and climb over the door into the car in order to get into my seat. If this ever happens when it's pissing down rain, I am going door-to-door with a switchblade until I find said nanny.

My mother, who lets me perch at her house for free until I find my own place, is getting on my nerves just by breathing.

Freaking NBC is insisting on showing the Olympics, which are taking place in MY time zone, on a damn three hour tape delay, so I already know about all our gold medals before I get to see them.

I might have some more tomorrow...

Red Shoes said...

1. I fucking DETEST my new haircut. I waited too long to decide whether I should ask for a free do over and now I don't want to pay for a better one so am suffering with hair that makes me cringe each and every time I look in the mirror or reach my hand up to touch it.

2. I have had relentless migraines for the past two weeks. My normal meds are not working. Vicodin helps but makes me woozy. I hate woozy.

3. I got a big stain on my only good jeans and cannot afford new ones. Well, I could afford new shitty jeans, but these were Seven for all Mankind and I want another pair of those. Cannot afford.

4. I am still not pregnant and instead, have to shove a big, plastic, hormone filled ring into myself every month to keep the endometriosis at bay. It likes to slide out of position and tries to pop out. I have never been so CONSTANTLY aware of my vagina in my life. I hate it.

I am a total asshole and have abandoned my blog and everyone else's too, yet still expect to show up every once in a while to whine. Disgusting. I miss everyone but haven't the energy or time to rectify the situation. I'm sorry.

Waffle said...

I still love you Red Shoes. Fucked up haircut high five?

frau antje said...

Well, the government fell over in the night, so there's that to clean up (very first world). Thanks for balancing out the Polyanna, why is it that girls who went to technical colleges are so overly cheerful and optimistic, almost without exception.
See you've been sorted on the turmeric, was going to suggest you go somewhere less Walloony and ask for kurkuma (it's very good for you, might not even need that health insurance card).

Lisa-Marie said...

That dress is really cute. you cold wear a cardigan and opaques and converse with it? I think my ability to dress like a grown up is smashed by my attraction to converse!

Also, you need some good TV!

My current one is this - I am at our other flat for the weekend, and I brought only 2 pairs of shoes - chunky skate shoes and purple sparkly flat ballet things. the dress i want to wear today(with jeans, it is fucking freeing here) is red with polka dots. I can't go out in something that doesn't match!

Z said...

Having forked out well over £10,000 for a new hip when I could have had it free if I'd been prepared to wait a few extra months (but I had my own carpeted room and bathroom and perfect peace, so hang the expense), I'm now whining gently at still being anaemic a month later.

That's it. No other moans, sorry. I'm more aware of my gratitude for the good things in my life than I ever have been, and my only disappointment is that I shall never have a right to complain again about anything, ever. Self-pity is such a sneakily shameless pleasure that I shall miss it no end.

wv - hiphou, which describes my whine

fourstar said...

"Buying turmeric in Brussels" wins euphemism of the week :)

Anonymous said...


come ON wafflemere.


Suggested anti-spring weaponary;

- Trojan easter chick - one of those shocking yellow ones with the tiny tiny tiny beaks - inside- A BOMB. February will never see it coming.

- Kamikaze bunny - one that GETS ALL UP IN YOUR face until you die.

- Christs killer boulder - that boulder that was rolled in front of the tomb of christ (god i'm a godless homosexual) anyway - you ROLL IT AT THINGS LIKE IN INDIANA JONES only biblical.

That is all. I am all alone in my dark dank flat, having just cleaned the 'garden' which was hellish and full of mouldering tat and leaves and worms.

I need a boyfriend who I can order to do these things on my behalf whilst I sip a sidecar.

When am I seeing you next? That thing?

Don't make me come to belgium to sort you out - because you know I will, there will be flatpackage and you may OVERDOSE ON GIN.


P.s. today is brought to you by the letter M - M is for Missy Elliot. also the letter D for destinys child.

The Spicers said...

I have discovered I'm horribly allergic to guinea pigs after buying my daughter one for her 8th birthday. She is so thrilled with Mr. Nibbles that there is no way I can take him back, but every time I enter her room my throat begins to close.

Betty M said...

I couldn't make it into the West End for an eyebrow thread today.
The noxious kid next door (plus my horrible two) ate my treat speckledy chocolate eggs from M&S.
I have hideous indigestion (being pregnant is kicking my ass).

Maxine said...

Potholes. In Surrey! That's all really.

Anonymous said...

Packing up to move a long way away after 20 years in the one place, sharing with a husband who is a world class hoarder. One day I'll look back on this and laugh, if I live that long...

Anonymous said...

Today I went shopping for clothes (because I really, really, genuinely, 100% honestly have nothing to wear apart from very worn jeans and things that most people would never leave the house in and I have to go to a dinner next week in which my usual non-outfits just will not do).
It's the result of many years of just doing school-runs, housework and lonely working from home (and general sloppiness/ slovenliness/ letting myself go entirely (who am I anyway?)/ probably some degree of depression too). Let's just say it was an excruciating experience. I came away with 5 pairs of jeans. The dress code is not jeans, of course. I didn't buy anything to wear on top. No shoes. No fucking jacket. This means I will have to do it again some day this week, before the dinner night comes around.
I am absolutely hopeless at being an adult. My husband asked me what I bought and I tried to explain how difficult the experience had been, how I hadn't had a clue what to buy, how hopeless I was at shopping for clothes, how inadequate I felt, etc.
(If I sound lame, it's because I am very lame).
In reply, he gave one of his horrible, mean, sarcastic laughs and said that was exactly how he had imagined it would have been.
I swear I shuddered when he laughed, to think I had been so stupid as to imagine I might confide in him and that he might have been remotely sympathetic. Sometimes I wonder why we're still together, sometimes I wonder if there would be anything left of me at all if I were to unravel myself out of this relationship, or if I would just fall to pieces altogether...
I sometimes think that even if I were to leave him, because we have kids, I would have to remain in regular contact and he would be even more horrible to me.

Feeling very low tonight.

soleils said...

I feel moved to respond to Anonymous. Please *please* plan a day for yourself, take a day out of life, away from daily chores and obligations and unhelpful husband. Go somewhere you can be yourself, a little bit. Have a haircut, or just a manicure, just be brave and ask a department store to provide a personal shopping service to you - for free. Get some impartial advice on a nice outfit for that dinner. Lovely clothes that suit you have healing powers, I swear. Or shop online, then return what doesn't fit/suit. Then your husband can stick his sarky laugh where the sun don't shine.
There is lots of who you are underneath this sadness. Of course there is. I wish you strength.

My First World problems really make me ashamed to be such a pathetic moan, especially when I work on stuff relating to very Third World issues. Spent the week moping about for no discernible reason (turned out to be hormones raging, but I had lost track of where I was at...). Sobbed uncontrollably, then laughed like a demented hyena with no transition, shouted at, then cuddled everyone unfortunate enough to be around me, etc. Then finally wrote down the ins and outs of this lame emotional mega-mix and somehow this put things in perspective for me. Ate rather a lot of chocolate mousse cake today. Normal service has resumed. said...

From Paris, you should fly directly to Dubai and check into one of those lovely hotels on the beach and get some sun. That should make you feel better, it always worked for me.

Lisa-Marie said...

Anonymous, First of all, I offer you a mental hug, for it sounds like you need one.

Second of all, I am sorry your wanky husband is being wanky. Shopping is VERY hard unless you are super-confident.

I agree with soleils, I think you need to do making yourself feel a bit shiny. I suggest that on the day before the dinner, you go to a department shop with a personal shopper service and find something brilliant and smart (perhaps a dress that you can wear with your 5 new pairs of jeans for dressed down smartness on normal days? and some swank shoes for good), and on the day of it, go get yourself shinied up at the hairdresser's / beautician's.

I am sure there is alot of you in there, else you wouldn't be angsty. people who are non-entities don't have the personality to wonder about their entity-ness.

M. said...

I ordered some fabric online and they sent me 3 meters instead of 4 whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

Waffle said...

Anon! Do you need the internet to come round and shout at your husband? Look, we are all fired up and stabby on your behalf. Big stroke from me. xx

Anonymous said...

Ad Turmeric: indeed you can get it at Green Pepper as already mentioned and if you care to stumble down Chaussee de Wavre some more steps to corner of Rue du Viaduc, there's an absolutely hideous looking treasure cove of spices and stuff, including fresh and ground turmeric. place's called garam masala, which should tell us sthg, i suppose. shopkeeper is eternally busy munching something unidentifiable, but otherwise verrrrry helpful. (no belgium native, this one...)