Life · Personal

Goodbye 2010. Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Arse on the Way Out.

Each morning, Sausage and I get up, go through the usual morning ablutions, make breakfast and then we sit together and eat, whilst she watches CBeebies and I check my Facebook/Twitter/Gmail/blog stats (yes, I’m a compulsive stat checker. Judge if you want, I don’t care!). This morning I have noticed a running theme amongst my Facebook friends’ status updates and the general consensus is that 2010 was a shitty year for most people.

I was sitting here thinking “Well 2010 hasn’t been too bad for me”, and then I really thought about it, and I’m with everyone else. 2010 was SHIT. In the space of a year, we’ve lost many beautiful, important people, some after long illnesses, some who should never have been taken from us at this time. People who were just too damn important for us to know how we would live without them. We’ve coped, but we didn’t want to.

One thing that I would like to say is that, in the face of all of this loss and sadness, there have been a few people who have stood out as shining stars in a world of darkness. People who have taught me the true meaning of grace, hope and bravery. I would never, ever in a million years wish sadness upon any of these people, but I would like to thank them, from the bottom of my heart and soul, for showing me what strength looks like. 2010 has been a terrible year, but it has taught us all many things, and I can only pray that the people who is has been the hardest on can look forward to 2011 with hope.

I think that, at this time of year, it is only natural to look at the events which have broken our hearts and our spirit, and to feel angry and sad. But we could also look at how well we’ve dealt with these events and take some comfort in the fact that we’ve got a lot of the fighting spirit in us that we so admired in the ones we lost.

I was going to write this post as a dedication to the people we’ve lost in 2010, but I think I’ve changed my mind. I want to dedicate it to all the people who lost someone in 2010, the people who are still here and still holding their head up.

I hope 2011 is a better year for everyone.

 

 

Christmas · Life · Personal

Reflection.

I’ve not posted here for a while, for a few reasons. Firstly, I’ve been extremely busy over the holiday period and I wanted to make it all about Sausage, so my days have been spent baking, making homemade decorations and playing with the MOUNTAIN of toys she received over christmas.

Secondly, I felt a bit tongue-tied. I had some ideas of what I would like to write about, but on several occasions, sat at my laptop and couldn’t quite get my fingers to make the words.

The final reason was that I went into a bit of a depression in the days leading up to christmas. It doesn’t help that, whilst I absolutely LOVE christmas songs, some of them are a little bleak (I’m talking to you John Lennon, Band Aid, The Pogues etc.) Husband and I were walking along in the snow, complaining about how it had disrupted things, and it just occurred to me that there are people living on the streets in this dire weather, and we’re complaining about our Amazon delivery being a little late. And once I’d started thinking about it, I couldn’t stop, the floodgates had opened. The only way husband could make me feel better was to promise to make a donation to Centre Point, which made me feel a little less impotent.

When I was younger, I did various charity work and I really enjoyed doing it. It’s fantastic when people donate money, but there are so few people willing to give their time. These days, time is something I have a lot less of. Between being a full-time mum to a two and half-year old, trying to complete a degree as quickly as I possibly can, plus all of those other things one has to do on a daily basis to maintain a house and a marriage, it’s not as easy. And I wish I could do more, but I can only stretch myself so thin.

So, I wanted to make a list of things that I want to achieve this year, kind of like a pre-New Year resolution list, but since I don’t believe in New Year resolutions, we’ll call it my ‘Aiming for in 2011’ list.

  1. First, and most importantly of all, I need to get in shape. I need to exercise, eat better, start taking my tablets properly and get myself out of this state of denial that I’m in. I need to start remembering that I am a diabetic and start behaving as such, otherwise I will lose a foot, or go blind, or DIE, way before my time, and therefore limit the time that I have with Sausage. Any behaviour to the contrary is selfish and stupid.
  2. Redouble my efforts with my studies and gain at least 120 points by this time next year, thus making up for my flakey attitude last year. Remember that I want my degree before I’m 30.
  3. Do more things with Sausage. Make sure she and I get out of the house more and get involved in some physical activity. Don’t let her become a victim of my indolence.
  4. Try and find the time for some charity fundraising. Potentially something like a fun run, which will force me to get fitter in preparation (well, they do say that there’s no such thing as a selfless good deed).
  5. Try to spend more quality time with Husband (quality time being something other than waiting for Sausage to go to bed and then falling asleep next to him whilst attempting to watch a film).
  6. See my family more.
  7. Be a better friend and stick to arrangements. Most importantly, make the effort to meet those two beautiful little men that I have yet to  introduce myself to.

That’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure I’ll hit ‘publish’ and realise I left a load off, but I think my days are going to need to be 70% longer with the ones I’ve already written.

Also, if any of my readers know of any worthy causes or charities I could get involved with, let me know, I’m always open to suggestions and I like to help charities who may not necessarily get all the help they need through not being one of the better known causes.

Overall, I’m hoping that 2011 will be a more productive year, a more positive year, and the year that I can look at my reflection and not flinch at what I see. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

What are you hoping for in 2011?

Short Fiction · Writers' Workshop

Fist fight.

A few weeks ago, one of my fellow Mummy bloggers recommended Mama Kat’s Losin’ It to me, and I started reading, and throughly enjoying it. I was also intrigued by her weekly Writers Workshop, where she issues a list of prompts to inspire other bloggers. One of this weeks prompts was ‘a fist fight’ and with it I embarked upon my first foray into short fiction. So here is my effort, please be very gentle with me! (I mean really gentle. Posting this is way out of my comfort zone and it’s making me feel a bit nauseous, putting this out there):

As he flexed his hairy knuckles, he knew this would not end well.

His opponent was younger, bigger and had a fire in his belly. Oscar knew that he wouldn’t give up without a fight. As the new boy took the first swing, Oscar braced himself. He twisted out of reach, glad that his reflexes and flexibility still served him, despite his burgeoning years.

New boy advances, determined to take Oscar down a peg or two. Determined to show him that he could take his woman, take his life. Another swing, this time connecting with his jaw, and following it up with a kick to the ribs. The old man crumbles, his determination being no match for the new boys youth and voracious appetite for domination.

Oscar recoils. He knows he’s beat, but he wants to do as much damage as he can on his way down. He sees New Boy drop his guard for just a second and he charges, sinking his teeth into his forearm. New Boy screams in pain, grabbing a handful of Oscars hair and wrenching him and his teeth away. He throws him aside. Oscar’s down, it’s over, he know what’s coming. New boy unleashes hell, fists, teeth, kicks, punches, no one dares drag him away.

When he’s done, finally worn out, he stops, surveys the damage and his new kingdom.

They wouldn’t forget him in a hurry.

There’s a new chief in the Chimpanzee enclosure.

I’d love to know what you think (in a constructive fashion, of course!)

Christmas · How To

Mum’s the Word gets crafty.

I’ve had a couple of requests from people asking how I made my homemade snowflake decorations, so I thought I’d do a step-by-step to show you all how!

Before you get started, you’ll need:

6 pieces of paper, I used white, but you could use any colour, or even something a bit sparkly. It also looks good if you use paper which is one colour on one side and another colour on the other. Also, some sticky tape, scissors, a stapler and some festive ribbon.

 

1. Take all six sheets of paper and put them together. The paper needs to be square, so fold one edge in and cut off the remainder. You should be left with six identical squares of paper.

 

 

2. Keep your six sheets of paper together and folded in half and turn so that you have a right-angled triangle, with the right angle at the top. Along the bottom edge you need to make two cuts on each side, which are parallel to the side, but don’t meet in the middle, as the pieces will just detach from the sheet. (I’ve probably made this sound a lot more complicated than it should be, just look at the picture and you’ll get it)

3.Open out your sheets of paper and take one from the pile. Starting in the middle, take the points of the cuts you made and fold inwards, overlapping them, and secure with some tape.

4. Turn the paper over and fold in the next set of corners, securing with tape.

 

 

 

5. Repeat with the final, outermost corners, and you should have a tube.

 

 

 

6. Repeat steps 1-5 with the five remaining pieces of paper, until you have six identical tubes.

 

 

 

 

7. You now need to attach the tubes to each other. Take three of the tubes (arranged as per the picture) and staple together. Repeat this process with the three remaining pieces so you have two sets of three.

 

 

8. Now take your two sets of three tubes and staple them together in the middle. Make sure your staple goes right through all six pieces of paper, otherwise they hang funny. You may need to smoosh down a couple of sections in order to get the stapler to the middle of the snowflake, but it’s easy enough to smooth it out after.

9. Make a small slit in the tops of one of the points and thread through a piece of festive ribbon or tinsel for hanging your snowflake. AT this stage, you could also add other embellishments, such as glitter.

 

 

10. Hang your snowflake and enjoy! (Once you’ve hung your snowflake, depending on the stiffness of the paper you’ve used, you may need to add a couple of pieces of tape to stop it from flopping. This is easily done and won’t affect the beauty of your work!)

 

 

So there you go, a cheap, easy and lovely looking homemade decoration which anyone can make. I’d urge you all to go and have a go, it makes one feel terribly christmassy and clever, and I’d love to see your creations, email pics to jaynemumstheword@gmail.com. I’ll feature the best ones here! Also, let me know if you have any questions, as I’ve never done a step-by-step before and may have made it about as clear as mud!

Money · Opinion · Parenting · Rant

For shame.

You know how there are those professions which discerning, self-respecting people would never go near? You know the ones, traffic wardens, ambulance chasers, defence lawyers who work for paedophiles, Conservative politicians…well I’d like to take this opportunity to formally add one to the list. Todays entry is Marketing Executive, specifically those who work for toy companies.

As I’ve mentioned before, we let Sausage watch telly, and as much as Husband and I favour CBeebies for its no-advert, generally educational programming, Sausage’s favourite shows are mostly on Nickelodeon, which means that she’s subjected to a barrage of targeted, and sometimes not so targeted advertising. When we first had Sausage, I always vowed to never let her watch the channels with ads after my sister-in-law recounted a story to me, which at the time, I found horrifying. She was in the kitchen one day, doing some cleaning and her son, who must’ve been about three at the time, walked in and said “Mummy, why don’t you use Cillit Bang? I gets rid of the grease every time”.

It astounds me that companies who make cleaning products advertise on kids’ TV, but it goes to show that it still pays off for them, when even kids end up touting their wares! But it’s the toy adverts that bug me. Fortunately, Sausage is still largely unaffected by them, she hasn’t quite hit the “I Want” stage yet, but Husband and I still try to stay abreast with whats out there for kids, so if we see something which we think Sausage will like, we’ll inevitably look it up and see how much it costs. It was on one of these “Ooh, she’d love that” occasions that I found out about those toys on the market which are so cleverly advertised, but prohibitively expensive.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce the Puppy Lane range. This range of toys is extensive and includes a cottage and dog, sofa, garden, kitchen, postal set, car, which combined will set you back around £250. Then when you factor in the Strawberry Stables add-ons, you can almost double your money. Now, just for the added effect, in the advert, these things are all pictured together, which means when your kids see it, they want the whole kit and caboodle, which is only natural. It’s just such terrible blood-sucking behaviour from the toy companies and it’s the parents who pay for it, with both money and guilt. Shame on all you Don Drapers out there.

Husband and I have always gone out of our way to make sure that Sausage has everything she needs, without turning her into a spoilt brat. Our families are also hugely generous as she’s an only grandchild on my side, and one of three on Husband side. The girl has MOUNDS of stuff. But on principle, we’ve steered away from the Puppy Lane gear. If she were to say that she desperately wanted it, I’m sure her Daddy and I would crumble, but ’til then, Worlds Apart wont see penny one from us.

It’s the families who have more that one child that I feel sorry for, the ones who have to please more than one set of big, pleading eyes. It must be tough, and I know you could argue that they chose to have that many kids, but by the same token, the toy companies chose to price a lot of us out of the game.

So, you, Marketing Executives will be added to my list and forever more be added to the Douchebag Hall of Shitty Professions. I hope you can live with that.

(Just for the record, these shit-heads earn a ridiculous amount of money, and so probably never worry about the price of things, and sleep soundly in their big houses, whilst the rest of us rant about Strawberry bloody Stables. Knobs.)

Update

Husband has just reminded me of a quote from a man who could, quite frankly, say everything better, more concisely, if a little swearier than me. Looks like I’m not the only one:

By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising…kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I’m doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan’s little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. Seriously, I know the marketing people: ‘There’s gonna be a joke comin’ up.’ There’s no fuckin’ joke. Suck a tail pipe, hang yourself…borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something…rid the world of your evil fuckin’ presence.

The late, great Bill Hicks.