Friday, July 15, 2016

Seven Quick Takes 37: Totally Random Takes

1. I only decided to write a post last minute this week, because, although life was a roller coaster, it involved dealings with the Federal government and happenings that introverts don't share, which is just about everything. But then ideas fell into place. I'm banging this out while packing for the UK, so please overlook any typos. No, actually, hack into my account and correct them, I beg you, in case I die before I get to edit this.

2. So here is Monday's story, with details made fuzzy so that men in back suits don't land their helicopter on what passes for our lawn and whisk me off to Syria.
I had to make a four-hour round trip to the 'local' federal government office on the case of  ______. Once there, I waited for ages until out shuffled this person who pretty much looked like the witch queen of somewhere I won't mention, but isn't New Orleans. She immediately let slip that the problem was her office should have _______ when I came in previously. But, in a lightning-quick feat of backtracking, she declared that it wasn't possible they made the mistake, so it must be my fault. From here, for no apparent reason, she decided to prove I was actually a criminal who was really living in the UK and only visiting the US (this detail is the actual truth, folks). She kept me in the office for an hour until she had to give up and give me what I'd asked for, which was a stamp in my passport. And that wasn't even the worst part for me - what really stunk was having to be sweet as sugar to her the whole time for fear something terrible would happen to me. I can only hope that my attitude spoiled her whole day.

3. I picked up a Beatrix Potter board book in the consignment store this week, based on her rabbit books. I pass lightly over the smoking and drinking bunnies, which to be honest I didn't even register until my husband pointed it out (cultural differences, I suppose). It was the plot inconsistencies that blew my mind. In feats of time travel that Dr. Who would admire, we meet two Mrs. Rabbits coexisting in the same plane. Then, on one page we have Flopsy surrounded by her children, while two pages later she is a baby rabbit gathering blackberries. I think someone in Frederick Warne has been smoking too much "rabbit tobacco."

4. Proof to me that baby boys need to come with a warning label - and that children really do have guardian angels. Alcuin was playing quietly with the contents on my bedside table, so I decided it was safe to take a pee in the en suite bathroom a few feet away. In the twenty seconds I was not at his side, he had dismantled a photograph, chipped the edge from the glass plate and made about twenty gouges in the table with the cut glass, with no more than a pin prick on his thumb.

...and he reads Beatrix Potter board books


5. I've been nearly 47 years on this planet, and what did I notice only this week, on my daily walk with the baby? That horses can have different coloured manes and tails. Who knew?

6. May I just add: Mick Jagger plus 29-year-old pregnant girlfriend. Eww. I mean, I love the Rolling Stones' music, and I used to think the young Mick Jagger (of the sixties) was beautiful, but...well, just but. The Torygraph summed it up nicely:



7. That was it. Now you've wasted your time, hop over to Kelly's at This Ain't the Lyceum for some honest and entertaining quick takes. See you in the UK!

Friday, July 1, 2016

7 Quick Takes 36: In Memoriam Memoriarum

1. I have only one public comment to make on the Brexit (very mild language warning - the delicate of nerves should cover their eyes and go to #2).



2. Talking of childhood, and seguing into my actual topic, I've begun the mammoth task of sorting through photos and sentimental items, as a slave to the cult of inspired by Marie Kondo's Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. (More on our saga with this book here.)

I began by pulling out several archival boxes of stuff. I opened my elder daughter's box, which was brimming with art work, oversize photos, random decorations etc., most of which I could no longer remember why we kept. Anyhow, I ploughed through it, and then called out my middle daughter for the fun of sorting out her memories. We hauled the huge box to the middle of the room and eagerly opened it - to find about half a dozen items. Oops. Thank goodness she saw the funny side. And at least she has a baby book - I never even bought one for Alcuin. He's thirteen months, and I already can't remember when he began to crawl or talk. I guess I'll have to make it all up.

3. In my own box, I found my primary (elementary) school project on our home town of Thornton Heath. it includes an "I spy" trip we made around the streets. Question number one:

"There is a pub at the end of the road. What is its sign? Why do you think that is?"

Erm, I think it's because it's a British school trip in the seventies. The teachers didn't even have to bother to be as 'subtle' as ending at the pub. "You just walk up and down the road, kids. I'll be right here when you're done."

4. Have you had the discussion about when your baby actually looks like the girl or boy he is? We pretty much agreed several months ago that Alcuin was 'definitely' a boy. Then I found this from 1998.


Compare:
Oh, well.


5. I don't know whether it's just that reading Marie Kondo put this in my head, but I find myself agreeing with her that sorting sentimental items helps you come to terms with the past and embrace the future. In sorting through all these photos, I have been able to celebrate lifelong friendships or confront those that faded away, remember - and be thankful for - what I have learned from people in those photos, get a little closer to letting go of people who hurt me, have a few laughs at times remembered (and some of our ridiculous moments), and start to make peace with an expanding waistline and greying hair. (The last one was sort of a lie, but it sounds good.)

6. Going though photos, I'm not only meeting people again, but clothes. I'm no fashionista - I keep my clothes until they're worn out. That cosy cardigan that went with everything, the blue floaty skirt that made me feel so boho - it's like seeing dearly departed friends. Even more satisfying is to realize which clothes are still trooping through life with me. Like this jumper (photo 1998). I like to wear it with leggings and boots, in what my husband dubbed my Legolas outfit.



Or this dress, which I bought for my going away outfit for my wedding twenty-two years ago (the photo is from 1997, NOT my wedding, before tongues wag), even though we didn't actually have a honeymoon. But I have to confess - it's a teeny bit tight right now because I have a mummy tummy for the first time in my life.




7. And to end full circle: I'm just about in the "older" demographic of Britons whom some of the younger generation are accusing of being racists and bigots. In response, I offer this fuzzy picture of a school camp trip ca. 1980 (I'm down the bottom in the yellow top, by the way).



People called us: English, Jamaican, Pakistani, Mauritian, Greek, Turkish, and African.
We called ourselves: Friends.

For more modern quick takes, visit Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum.