Saturday, April 12, 2008

I blame Barbie

It was my birthday yesterday. I am now 35, which is a strange age.
Too young to be middle-aged, yet too old to be young.
From my thirty second birthday onwards, people have been telling me that I'll be 'forty soon'
Still, I feel young and fresh and happy and I think that's the elixir of life, surely ?
How we feel and think and live is more important than how we age on the outside ?
I'm not quite vain enough for plastic surgery. It would compromise my hidden inner feminist and I don't think the standardised custom-wrapped ideas of what women should look like as they get older are realistic. I've got a responsibility, as the Mother of two young daughters, to encourage their brains. My eldest daughter, who is intelligent beyond her years, developed a worrying fascination with a certain A-list celebrity of the size zero variety. I try to explain that her photos have been airbrushed and her waistline surgically enhanced and her diet probably consists of water and lettuce, but apparently she's 'beautiful, mummy'
I blame those bloody dolls of hers with the pencil thin waists and oversized heads.
She has a couple, given as birthday presents, donning what can best be described as hooker-wear, complete with fishnet stockings, pvc boots and acres of cleavage
( naughty lingerie on show underneath, naturally )
I never had a Barbie as a girl because my Dad, bless his forward thinking principles, thought they set a bad example for girls. Maybe Barbie is the reason I prefer dougnuts to lettuce leaves.
It's Barbie's fault I'm not a svelte size 8.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Computer Says NO !

What is it with the Receptionist at our local leisure centre ?
Surely the whole point of a Receptionist is to welcome customers in, with maybe an air of appreciation and general happiness ? Or, scub that. I don't even need to feel the love. I just need to feel as though I'm not a huge inconvenience, an unwelcome interruption to the chat she's midway through with some nameless person who is not waiting to pay with two impatient children in tow.
I have worked behind a Reception desk before so I know that it is possible to raise a smile and make warm eye contact with strangers all day, even when you're having a particularly horrible day. There is really no excuse I can think of for this unprofessional sulkiness.
I never write complaints letters. I'm not an openly complaining sort of person. Why complain in person when you can save it for your blog ?
The other day I was in front of said Receptionist, waiting to ask an innocent enough question.
I, ( after waiting at least 3 minutes until she lifted her head and acknowledged my existance ) asked about the swimming term and the date/time for my daughter's lessons.
She looked at me as though I'd just told her that I had a really contagious skin disease and wondered if I could still use the pool.
In the most dismissive, bored tone possible, she looked up the details on computer and then asked why I hadn't written them down.
Well, excuse me for being alive !
I said
` you're a bloody Receptionist; why not crack a smile occasionally `
What I actually said was
`silly me, I'm always so forgetful you know`
What's wrong with me ?
Why, when faced with the most ignorant, unhelpful people, I'll always resist the temptation to bite back ? I'm sure the Receptionist would be much better at her job if people actually told her how awful she is. Who knows, she might actually get moved from Reception and they might employ someone who can maniplulate their facial muscles into a realistic and genuine, smile ?
I know, from speaking to Mother's at school, that I'm not alone in feeling this way.
I wonder what they will do with my complaint letter.
I know it wont be the first they've had

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April snow showers

Ok, what happened ?
I know we're all lurking in the shadows of global warming, but snow on April 6th ?
It was almost warm here yesterday, as I sat drinking coffee under the tree in our garden, giggly half dressed girls running around like it was summer or something. So you can imagine my surprise to open the blinds this morning and see a winter postcard shining back, spring flowers struggling under a small carpet of snow.
I''ve been dreaming of an old stone villa nestled between citrus orchards and olive groves somewhere along the Mallorcan coastline. We went to Villamoura in the Algarve last year and snapped up the cheapest villa we could find, which seemed strangely luxurious with its huge pool, private location and huge rooms tastefully decorated.
It was the epitomy of every cliche in every holiday brochure.
The best holidays are those which surpass your expectations, without breaking the bank.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring Break

Ah, Spring.
The garden in our new house is small but perfectly formed.
In the corner stands a ceanothus shrub which resembles an oversized bonsai, draped elegantly over a small decking area in dire need of some wood stain.
I think the previous owners deliberately selected plants which would attract butterflies birds and beasties. For the second year running we have blackbirds nesting. Last year they took refuge in some ground level honeysuckle. This year they wised up and moved up a few feet, so no photo opportunities.
When I was hanging out the washing yesterday morning, I spotted a large neon green butterfly float past me and land on a daffodil. The second such sighting this spring. A potted spring picture gone before I could take it in properly or grab my camera. I worry that my newfound appreciation of flora and fauna may signal the start of early middle age. Ten years ago a block paved garden with no grass or plants was my ideal view from the kitchen window.
I neither had the time nor inclination to mow, weed or prune anything.
Look at me now though ! I haven't killed anything in our new garden, but it gets better than that; I've actually introduced some new plants. A potted maple and a few other nameless treats from Homebase still looking healthy, despite me.
I looked at some old snaps of the girls this morning. A photo of Rebecca and I sat outside
`La Chat Noir` in Angouleme, France. She's on my knee and I'm cutting a crepe up for her.
She's three years old in ths snap, not the confident schoolgirl she is now, who runs off to class in the morning with no worried backward glance or homesick pull in my direction.
In the photo she's wrapped around me like a scarf. Children change so fast; we get a new modified version each year. They feel the same as the old version but with some new features added on, especially for you. Nobody else would notice of course, but we always do.

Spring Break