Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cormorant

God, adulthood is a bit of a swizz at times, isn't it? When you're fourteen, you think it's going to be all parties and presents and being famous and living in a loft and hanging out with Simone de Beauvoir, then when you get there, it's self-doubt and failure and pulling other people's pants out of their trouser legs nightly and worrying that you're going to end up in prison because you lost a piece of paper from 2003, or that you've ruined your child's life by shouting at them about potatoes or something. That, and paying the accountant when you haven't actually earned any money and smear tests and the news, which is full of unspeakable tragedy so awful you can't even find a place for it in your head, or a way to comprehend it. And the dog has probably given you all worms. And Simone de Beauvoir died when you were 12. Sometimes it's all just .. too much. Today I have mainly been crouched on my office chair like a forlorn, sparsely feathered cormorant on a windswept rock, surrounded by a sea of scribbled on pieces of paper, none of which have progressed me beyond my default Tuesday state of .. actually I don't know how to transcribe my Tuesday state in actual words. 'Bleuurgh-thud', it goes. If it were a noise, it would sound a bit like a cormorant regurgitating a whole fish onto its rock.

I'm having a bit of a shit day, as the more perceptive among you may have divined from a few subtle clues concealed in the previous paragraph. You should also be able to tell that work isn't going so brilliantly at the moment from the amount of blogging I am doing. I am all out of courage and confidence and ideas and god knows, I wouldn't employ me, so I can't really expect anyone else to, can I? I keep giving myself these kinds of brisk pep talks, and then myself looks sullen and rolls its eyes and slams the bedroom door and starts listening to Strangeways Here We Come really really loud.

Anyway. Nothing is really bad, I don't work in a Nigerian sawmill and everyone is basically in good health and safe and happy, so I have absolutely nothing serious to complain about, and should almost certainly just shut the fuck up. Instead, whilst sulking my way round internet, I happened on and remembered Schmutzie's Grace in Small Things and I thought it would be a salutory exercise once again to think of some small things which are good and for which I am very grateful. So:

- The children now really like stupid cooking shows (Masterchef, The Great British Bake Off, Come Dine With Me), so I no longer have to watch Pokémon or Galaktik Football or anything which was once Japanese and has been dubbed into moronic French by a 45 year old woman pretending to be a 10 year old boy. This is the golden time when they can watch normal TV programmes and make cups of tea, yet still submit quite willingly to being hugged. I am cherishing it. Fingers is quietly singing me an aria from Rigoletto tonight for mysterious and hilarious reasons which I will attempt to elucidate in an upcoming post.

- It is B's wedding this weekend and I am mad to see him again and there will be dancing and booze and silliness and as a bonus I get to meet Elsa and her ferrets.

- People are nice. Loads of them. Often they go out of their way to be nice in touching, wonderful ways. Ok, that is not a small thing, it is a huge thing, and M, who puts up with my near-constant whining, merits an extra-special mention.

- Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady body cream, which is the most grown up and complex and delicious smell of incense and dust and roses I can conjure, even when I am wearing fleece and tracksuit bottoms.

- I have Nicola Barker's new novel to read and can continue my wintry catharsis-through-Scandinavian-brutality stomp through the crime novels of Asa Larsson, recommended by someone in the comments here. Person from the comments: will dogs die in every single one I read? Just so I can prepare myself mentally.

- I no longer need to faff around trying to find things to wear other than sturdy opaque tights and forgiving dresses or skirts, because it is properly cold.

-  Aromatherapy Associates bath oils, which are like therapy but (marginally) cheaper and make the whole house smell civilised, like a really expensive, understated spa.

- Cold weather breakfast is crumpets cooked until they are brown on top and singed underneath, with butter with big salt crystals in and there is simply nothing more delicious. And when you are an adult no one can stop you having them every day, so I suppose I must concede that is one small advantage of adulthood. In fact I might go and have one now (later: there were no crumpets, but I will let this stand anyway. Even in the abstract, crumpets are a good thing).

- Prog Rock has just reminded me that David Sedaris was on the radio on Sunday night, so yippee, I can go and listen to it.


Would you like to tell me a thing that makes you happy tonight? You don't have to. You can come and sit with me on my slithery be-guanoed rock if you like.

38 comments:

Helen Strydom said...

I'd love to join you on that rock but your writing is something which is good and for which I am grateful. So thank you.

Andrea from Neath said...

My Bedlington terrier found me the perfect little corpse of a mole on our walk this evening. I really wanted to bring it home but reality bit. I am sorry I wasnt able to photograph it, my HTC phone functions not when it is remotely damp. (They should really warn those of us who live in Wales about this before purchase).

Fresh Blade said...

You write so well. Shove up a bit on that rock.

Aspasie said...

You are a wonderful writing, I enjoy even the most angsty entries; it makes me feel better when I am being petulent and sulky that we all get to feel that way sometimes.

My co-worker and I have an inside joke, I don't quite recall how it started...I want to say it involved the creepy repair guy the kept trying to pick me up durning a protocol we were running, and me muttering about there not being glitter and rainbows and unicorns and such. I don't recall why or how the unicorn got crippled but it's become our slogan for unfortunate things or day days. 'It's a 3 legged unicorn day'.

If it makes you feel better I decided to go truely crazy, sell my house quit my job and move to Malta, all to be accomplished by January in hopes of a better life. Want to run away to Malta with me ?

pinklea said...

I'm happy that my internet seems to be working properly again. It's been pretty dodgy lately, both at home and at work, and that makes me SOOOO snarky and miserable and anxious! (So I suppose everyone around me is now happy that I'm happy again, too.)

Anonymous said...

My almost-grown-up son has discovered Peter Gabriel with a vengeance and we are listening to "Sledgehammer" at full volume.
I've no idea what it's all about, but it just puts a big grin on my face and we dance insanely all over the kitchen. The original music video is pretty cool too!
Heather (NZ)

Kim Velk said...

I wish I had a Macarthur Grant to hand you. Wouldn't that brighten things up? I am mentally awarding you my personal genius award. Unfortunately this award does not come with any money... You have probably stopped reading now, but I'll add that I find it cheering most nights to think that when I wake up I get to have coffee. Also, music.

Laylabean said...

I know it's probably an awful thing to be happy about because it means you are short on work that actually pays, but I am very glad you are posting more often!

Let's see, what else...

1. I am grateful that it is almost bedtime for the wild ones and there is a new episode of Downton Abbey waiting for those of us who are more civilized.

2. My new niece is absolutely perfect and adorable and wonderful. But, I admit, the best part is that she is NOT MINE and I can give her back to her mama when she starts to fuss or smell funny.

3. Pudding, in all its forms.

4. Spoke to the producer of the local TV show today and I might actually be able to pull this off and get interviewed for book.

5. Fresh haircut feels divine.

Laylabean (Again) said...

get interviewed for *MY* book

Derp.

Margaret said...

Lord, all I can come up with is that, unlike 30% of my coworkers, I wasn't laid off today. That might not be so true by Monday.

Leigh said...

That there are highly entertaining (and employable) people on the internet when everyone else is asleep.

Also, avocado, fetta and lemon juice on toast.

cruella said...

Could have been me, recommending Åsa Larsson, I do it all over the place. Dog incident was a bit choquant, I agree. Just normal gruesome human deaths in the others, if I remember rightly.

cruella said...

Otherwise, not much happiness. At least I've stopped crying, which was the weekend theme. A whole jumble of things that are fixable, no one's terminally ill etc, but that wear us down at the moment. And my boss expects me to book the yearly personal review with him. HA! Very bad timing.

But. Pale sun is shining. I have the day off.

Waffle said...

You are all lovely. Yes, even you, dead mole lady. One rainy holiday in the Lake District with my parents was ONLY brightened by a dead mole. And some fudge.

(Ugh, Margaret. That is a Tuesday of evil)

Cruella - I am sorry to tell you that the forecast is for rain all day, but at least you can retire to bed with a cake. Also, I am on my third AL book and my 2nd traumatic dog death (Lisa in the second? Who gets all her dogs put down?)! WHEN WILL THE CANINE SLAUGHTER STOP?

The Reluctant Launderer said...

Ah, David Sedaris. The only bonus of adulthood which I can come up with from this week was that I got to sit with my ear up against the radio on Sunday night and snort red wine through my nose.
I'm sorry you're having such a shit time. Does it give you any comfort at all that you don't have "uterine evisceration" on your calendar for 2 weeks' time, followed by same calendar being blanked out for at least 6 months? (Possibly not.)

bbonthebrink said...

I'm with you on the first one. I've started watching Master Chef and such like with the kids. I love it!

The down side being at dinner time they now go "Mmmmm, the flavours are lovely, the texture is light and fluffy, but the presentation, the PRESENTATION! It looks like a big glop of blobby stuff, slopped on the plate!"

Fair comment.

Waffle said...

BB - Hehehe. Yes. Fingers does an eery impression of Frédéric Anton from Mchef: "C'est GROSSIER".

Waffle said...

RL - Blllaaaargh no, I do NOT envy the uterine evisceration. Please don't disappear entirely for 6 months, will you?

The Reluctant Launderer said...

I will not. You will find me making strange wailing noises online at 4am, on a forum called "HowtheflipdoIfindselfinthissituationAGAIN". It'll be a blast, be sure to swing by...

Sewmouse said...

I baked banana-pecan bread. I was supposed to put in 3 ripe bananas, I had 4, so I put them all in.

It is the best banana bread I've ever made. Happy-Happy

Victoria in Brighton (near) said...

I have had a bad day, feel pretty much like you describe, down, always worried, anxious, waiting for something ominous to happen, but what?
Seeing one magpie and waiting nearly an hour by the window to see the second one, wasting an hour of my life, worrying about the little things.
OK, I have 3 boys, the eldest autistic, the middle has chronic atopic ezcema bla bla blah, I do have reason to be stressed and so on but on a positive note, one thing that makes me happy and thankful: I remembered to go to the Off licence and get wine and fags, saves a trip later when I'm too knackered? No, its not that one (I am making great efforts to cut down)

OK a few things that are positve:

- When the weather outside is horrid, like it is now and probably until next May, I get to hide under layers of scarves, thick coats, tights, boots and don't have to deal with my legs and feet. I do prefer Autumn/Winter and actually look forward to and crave it, sod summer!

- I have started doing two forms of exercise a week, for last month, have lost weight (noticed today, thinner on my sides, last years' coats fit better). One is yoga, one is Spanish dancing HA!

- My boys are funny, intelligent, cuddly, innocent yet oh so worldly, tall, overtaking me in shoe sizes, hungry all the time, caring about me, have funny conversations that I wish I could record, miss them when they are gone, all 3 now in full time school, house too quiet but that gives me ME time which I was always complaing I never had!

- finally I can start to run my little business and may even print business cards.

- The possibility that I could, if I have the dosh, travel a bit, hop over the Channel for a day or two in my tiny car, maybe bring back some wine, maybe make it to Italy and do a Julia Roberts in EatPray Love, without the cheesey cheese?

I could rant for hours, you know that by now. Lets just say, I am a bit thankful today, also I have overdone it on the coffee hence this post.

Scunder said...

Apologies for recommending dog death literature.I liked The Black Path tho'- tis the best of four.
Things making me happy are wild damsons and blackberries and any other jam related fripperies including self-crafted orla Kiely lidage.

momosyllabic said...

I am happy because I discovered, via you, that Nicola Barker has a new novel (!!). Also: if I shut off the lights in my office no one can tell I'm in here. And (though this is not for the office): red wine, especially syrupy shirazes. Thank-god for them.

cruella said...

Dog death continues , I'm afraid. Just realized there was no way Åsa Larsson's latest could be translated already. Beware.

I found a small piece in a local paper from somewhere where she actually explains her dog thing. "No one reacts to people being killed anymore. But if I kill a dog first thing, then I get their attention."

Tired Dad said...

I spoke to Favourite Son on the telephone earlier. Upon hearing that I was a bit nervous about the new job I start on Monday, he assured me that he gets nervous when he does New Things too.

He is seven years old.

Schmutzie said...

Yay, GiST!

Waffle said...

Scunder - No, I am really enjoying them. I just need to harden my heart to the canine doom. Cruella - that's really interesting.

Tired - I am so impressed with your new job acquiring skillz AND your most excellent son's reassurance.

Helen said...

Late to the party, but I would like to add my voice to the many telling you how good your writing is, as always.

I am thankful for lots of small things, but right now mostly I am thankful for the Dutchman, who is perfect, and draws hot baths and brings much wine after Evening From Hell.

(I had no idea there was a rail strike yesterday and had horrible journey of Eurostar to Lille, waiting for no-show coach to Brussels, waiting in rain, 2hr coach to Brussels, then awful awful taxi from Midi in the early hours, who drove me around anonymous bits of Brussels until I shouted to be let out, then refused to give me my case until I gave him all my money, then wandered lost and crying in Brussels (mobile dead) until found place I recognised and arrived at the Dutchman's house covered in snot and tears.)

Oof. But today I am going to make creme brulee in blue Le Crueset ramekins I found in charity shop for 50p, so that is a small thing I am very pleased about.

Helen said...

Also - YAY CORMORANTS. The two atop the Liver Building face one inland and one seaward, representing Liverpool's strong connections with sea and trade. They also celebrate King John's Letters Patent of 1207 (see, he wasn't *all* bad) which granted lots of exciting trade/port rights to Liverpool, being adapted for the city from his crest.

So, yeah, cormorants are proud and noble birds with an exciting place in history and as such feeling like a cormorant isn't all bad...? I am trying and failing to cheer you up, gah.

(Oh how useful your PhD is Helen...)

ganching said...

I am happy that for dinner tonight I am having mashed avocado on sourdough toast. One of the advantages of living on your own is you can have whatever you like for dinner.

Patience_Crabstick said...

"...worrying that you're going to end up in prison because you lost a piece of paper from 2003"

Dying.

I am happy b/c I am about to watch an episode of the British Shameless. Also because my annoying co-worker will not be in tomorrow and I will have peace and quiet at work.

Mara Gaulzetti said...

I think it's natural to feel crap when the days shorten, at least that's what I keep telling myself.
My Badedas bubble bath makes me feel happy. Also, my rice cooker ensures that I can't ruin tea by using my dense pregnant brain (which can barely manage to match socks and sleeps through half an hour of alarm clock blaring each morning ,let alone prepare a decent meal).

I love your blog, it makes me smile, remember growing up in Belgium and other lovely things.

I'm also quite happy to have lovely people in my life who reach out to me, even when I am a reclusive twat and never phone them.

Mostly, however I'm feeling crap about no trousers fitting, porn-star style aching breasts and the impending doom of motherhood.
Hmm the characters blogger wants me to enter to verify that I'm a person are "ofathor 51". O FAT HOR? Thank you Google, thanks so much.

Nimble said...

Have realized that growing my hair out to get rid of my bangs means that I now have haystack head. I was inspired by my 8 year old's all-one-length hair. I am a fool, but can always get it cut.

The smell of coffee is a consolation, even if I am not drinking it. Fall leaves are surprising me in a good way. And here is a blog post about going falconing that took my breath away.

Barbara said...

Its all a mystery. All of it. I read T'The Happiness Project' and became paralyzed with stress. Best thing is meditation and yoga. Once had a therapist who said if youbare happy ten minutes a week thats a miracle. Maybe she was depressed?

Margaret said...

God, Barbara, why oh why did you read The Happiness Project?? The only happy person connected with that awful thing is the lady who made an assload of cash off it.

Joi said...

Thing that me happy tonight, after a weekend of funeral-related sobbing (mainly by my Mum. Seeing your Mum cry is possibly the worst thing in the world):

My cousin, who is turning 17 tomorrow and was asked about the significance of that particular age, said: "Well, I will be allowed to drive." Long pause. "And buy and sell scrap metal."

Lydia said...

I think that Douglas Adams could have taken writing lessons from you.

Also: why have I never before thought to add salt crystals to buttery crumpets? This must be remedied soon.

Hellsbells34 said...

Oh the joy to have found you again. I Googled Belgian Waffle but you didn't appear. Then by chance a quick look through an old phone and there you were sitting in the browser. I'm going to binge read for the whole of my maternity leave. Joyous I am.