Knock, knock, knock – Magic Marker Monday


In the 87 degree heat, I net the school for a swim.

Lucky us!

I dither. Maybe I could read my book whilst they swim, but “Bill Bryson” eludes me. Those last 22 unfinished pages, have haunted me all summer long. I still have the book mark but not the dratted book.

Probably just as well, as there are already far too many distractions.

Nonna announces that she will retire to her room to rest, due to a combination of heart burn and leg cramps, two facts that she mentions in an off hand manner, over the shoulder, a mere after thought, but diabetics are like that.

After very little thought I grab the lap top, bound into the garden, open the pool safety cover and park myself on the edge.

Whilst the children swim, I research with a combination of brain burn and crampt cranium, as well as a slightly numb bum. I calculate the odds. If the lap top is splashed or drowned, will this provide sufficient grounds for my husband to divorce me, ignoring all other contributing factors?

In the house, Nonna knocks on the open window to attract my attention, just enough attention to startle. “There's someone at the door Maddy!” she calls. I reply with hand signals, 'no! can't leave the children!' She signals back 'o.k never mind.'

The Pokemon swimmers are in full battle mode complete with volume. I shall wear them out, come what may. I strongly suspect that the more they swim, the more strong they become, so the more output is required to reach the original state of tiredness, but it's just a theory.

After 90 minutes I have drawn no conclusive evidence for any one of my competing theories, as my attention is too fragmented. With the pool cover locked, I shower three small people, dry them and assist dressing. As I examine a split toe nail, the source of much weeping and wailing, I notice a shadow in the hall, a dim figure, an unfamiliar adult male person. I bark and shoo children away to the family room, the furthest away.

I step cautiously towards the hall. I realize that I should have adopted American sports after all. We must be the only family in the locale without a handy base ball bat. I do not recognize the blue T-shirt, jeans and white sneakers, nor the wide shoulders, thick neck and black hair with a glint of gel. I calculate our respective BMI, Blimp to Male Index. “Hello? May I help you?” He spins around to face me. Good grief, the painter from 3 weeks ago. “His Miz Maddy. I just come to check. To …er …..follow up.”
“Oh…..I see…..but…….”
“Yur mom let me in. I'm happy to wait, it's o.k. I dun need to be nowhere. I liked chatting with you last time.”

I blink.

He must have been waiting…….an hour and a half, at least, in 87 degree heat, in the hall. Clearly I need to brush up on my hand signals. “Well come along into the kitchen then, I'd better make us a cup of tea. Um…..on second thoughts, you go ahead and put the kettle on, I just need to check something,” I beam.

I leg it over to Nonna’s room and take a peek. She lies on the bed in the darkened room, covered by a tropical print cotton sheet. Slightly tousled with open lips, her small frame is inert. A faint waft of eau de “Moustiques Mortes” and Tick Tacks. Her limp arm flops to the floor with her glasses directly by her finger tips on the carpet next an over turned coffee mug. A small dark treacly brown stain and not a breath of air in the fustering heat.

I see the elusive, unfinished “Bill Bryson” gently rise and fall on her chest.

Ahh tea!

Afterall it's thirst quenching and very good for shock.

p.s. Yesterday I inadvertently used a phrase that’s common enough in England but may not translate well into American. What I meant to say was ‘unable to orchestrate a convivial social gathering in a Californian Winery’ not ‘couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.’

My apologies.

Although free mo’s are in very short supply, please nip across and say hello at my “new blog,” if only to admire the technical genius of my first, nearly proper, blogroll.  [make sure you leave your URL!]

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Awards for friendship and bannana yummies


I have been remiss of late as real life has interfered with blogging. So now as I sit quietly, nay silently on the sofa with an ice-pack tied nappy style around my jaw, a bottle of germ killers, liquid centrum and a crate of Ensure, I thought I would catch up with a little bloggy housekeeping.

“Miss Nelson” over at “Meaningful Outcomes” was kind enough to give me this Banana with yummies award. Thank you “Miss Nelson!” As it turns out this banana award is turning into more of a boomerang, flying across the blogosphere with ferocious speed. As a result I feel the urgent need to pass it on again before it starts to rot as nobody likes a rotten banana, although ripe one’s do go rather well in smoothies. I’ll keep it brief as the Vicadom might wipe me out.

It is therefore my pleasure to hand it over to a few of my favourite arty types:-

“Karen” at “Art in the Garage.”

“Robin” from “Around the Island” has mistaken for someone else entirely, poor wee soul. This delightful little award seems to have become attached to my blog as Robin’s more of a half full type, where as I’m more of a half empty type, or possibly down to the last few driplets that are probably a week old and grown fur.

But I’m more than happy to pass on some furriness.

First to “Angela” at “Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy.”

“Blissful Mama” at “Mum Keeping Sane.” [Or It’s All Okay] depending upon our mood!

Also to “Casdok” over at “Mother of Shrek.” She may be taking a little time out but there is still lots to read and learn in the meanwhile.

Then to “Michelle” at “House of Lime,” who definitely has the best day trips.

When I think of smoothies, I also think of “Velma” doesn’t that just sound like velvet, reallll smooth. “Velma” is over at “New England Mamas” and despite the distance we share a common experience.

As we all need a little support and encouragement from time to time.

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Since I am trying to play catch up after far too much ‘real life’ I would also like to thank “Kittymamma” over at “Okasaneko Chronicles” for this fabulous award.

Maybe “The Domestic Goddess” could do with a little pick me up, rather than the constant ‘cleaning up!

Then to “Chelle” at “Soodz” as she is always upbeat and calm, something I aspire to achieve on a good day with a fair wind behind me.

Then to “Beth” from “Fragile X” as I have nothing but admiration for people who struggle with the old B & W blog, and she always brings a smile to my face, even if I don’t reveal my teeth.

Also to “Rachel” from “prevent autism prevention.”

With a smidge more catch up I would also like to thank “Angela” from “Jack’s Blog” for being so kind as to give me the ‘excellent award’ which I am delighted to receive. I have been most remiss in my thank you’s and I apologise if I have inadvertently caused anyone a blob of angst or hurt feelings. I am merely a tad overwhelmed on occasions.

Oh course there are a zillion or more blogs that should be dubbed with the excellent award but here are a few of my favourites:

“Kristina” over at “Autism Vox.”

“Kevin” who writes over at “Left Brain Right Brain.”

“Bev” over at “Asperger Square 8.”

over at “Joy of autism.”

And “Susan Senator” at “All Families are not alike.”

As part of my housekeeping assignment I would like to include “Mel” from “Random Thoughts,” who tagged me with a meme about the 10 reasons why I blog. I only wish that there were ten reasons “Mel”!

Firstly I blog because I like to keep track of my family. If I write it down and make it public then I find this tempers my opinion considerably, especially 24 hours or more later. After things have percolated a while I can usually take a more positive perspective.

Secondly, I have a small hope to reach other families who are similarly situated. I’m not sure if it’s a ‘safety in numbers’ viewpoint or a wish for cameraderie, but it’s probably a combination of the two.

The third reason is a greater hope, a less realistic one, that Joe Blow or the guy on the Clapham Omnibus will take a moment to think. Then just maybe, they might think a little differently. [Although I think Casdok’s already got that covered.]

So I tag “Marita” from “Stuff with Thing.”

from “O Mighty Crisis.”

Also I’d like to know why “Meno” at “Menosblog” does what she does.

“Mr. Bloggerific” at “Your Packaging Sucks.”

And “Furiousball” at “In my Diatribe” but I suspect he just can’t help himself as he seems to have a finger in every pie.

Now I find that another meme has winged it’s way towards me, a book meme by “M” from “American Presidents Blog,” an area in which I find myself woefully ill – informed. Why me? More public humiliation! The rules are as follows:-

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

So my nearest book, hot back from the dental chair is “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, A Memoir,” by Bill Bryson which I would thoroughly recommend if you are need of distraction from a set of torture tools brutally mangling your jaw and teeth – can’t get much better a recommendation really.

“They even suggested that nuclear devices could be used to alter the Earth’s weather by adjusting the amount of dust in the atmosphere, forever banishing winters from the northern United States and sending them permanently to the Soviet Union instead. Almost in passing, Teller proposed that we might use the Moon as a giant target for testing warheads. The blasts would be visible through binoculars from Earth and would provide wholesome entertainment for millions.”

How very apt!

I tag “Steve Memphis”
“Bob” at “when your only tool is a hammer”
as it shouldn’t be too onerous, I hope.

Now I shall go and pay off the baby sitter and replace my ice pack. Humble apologies for any hic-cups in this post but I’m only function with half a brain cell.

Today I am also over at “Trusera” with “Slice and dice – midlines and autism.”

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Let them eat brioche!

I am faced with a moral dilemma of gargantuan proportions. [translation = as well as a minor etiquette issue] Tis the season of school wind down when invitations proliferate. Kindly folk at the school wish to offer thanks to their volunteers and show their appreciation for inadequate services rendered.

I find this a particularly delightful element of the American psyche. British people generally believe that they have a complete monopoly in the polite department, in both quality and quantity. Yet I do not ever remember experiencing such an outpouring of well wishes for minor services. [translation = although things may have changed in that last couple of decades]

One of my favourite authors, “Mr.Bill Bryson” has also remarked, much more eloquently upon these perceived differences.

I now find that in addition to the above, I, as well as all the other mother's, have been invited to attend a 'Mother's Day Celebration' in Junior's class. I am led to believe that the sub-plot to this deal, is cake eating. I have two difficulties here. Firstly, following jaw surgery and an extravagant amount of elastic bands, I am unable to eat solid food. Secondly, even if I were able to eat solid food, 'cake' would not be high on my 'preferred' list of gastronomic delights. [translation = it would come directly after chocolate covered cockroaches] Whilst I am more than happy to bake cakes, decorate cakes and give cakes away, I cannot even recall when I last had occasion to force myself to consume the dratted stuff.

Cake by it's very nature suffers from several fatal flaws. Now don’t get all distracted here, as I know that the ghost of ‘fruit cake’ has descended upon my erstwhile little American pals. Perish the thought! [translation = for reasons that are still not entirely clear to me, just the words ‘fruit cake’ are a cause for gurgles of hilarity on this continent.] Ban the vision of fruit cake and replace with American cake e.g. ‘white cake,’ or pound cake, especially as the latter is available on both continents and is the same. For those who are not bakers, pound cake is not dollar cake here, as the ‘pound’ refers to weight, not the rate of exchange.

The first flaw, is that cake is sweet. This puts it in one of the highest categories of 'loathsome.' Additionally, cake is often smothered in a wide variety of sweet slime. [translation = frosting or icing, or sometimes both if you a truly unlucky] Slime of course takes the prime place on the 'loathsome' scale. [translation = slime and sweet combined, would trump the latter, so truly aversive as to be vomit inducing]

So what is a mother supposed to do in such situations? Refuse the invitation and avoid the whole issue? Attend, but refuse to eat the cake?

Tempted as I am by either or both solutions, I have to swallow my misgivings and attend anyway.

I sit on a chair the size of a Toadstool. To complicate matters still further, all my children are aware that I dislike cake. This particular son, favours chocolate cake with ganache, but never ventures from this preference.

We examine his cake offering. [translation = a muffin the size of Manhattan]
“It is dah big!”
“Indeed it is.”
“It is dah vanilla which is being dah white.” [translation = unnecessary, he is clearly bilingual]
“Too true.”
“Dah frostin is dah pink.”
“Quite so, the very worst colour in the entire universe.”
We continue to gaze at the confectionery piece. [translation = joint attention, a rare and truly under valued quality]
“I am finking.”
“You are? Thank you so much for telling me that! Can you tell me what you are thinking?”
“Dat maybe you are not liking to be eating dis.”
“You are such a thoughtful little chap. Thank you.”
Who would have guessed at the depth of his magnanimous nature? [translation = “Sally- Anne” can keep her dratted marbles]
“What we be doing about dis problem den?”
Self generated problem solving techniques! Be still my beating heart.
“Not a clue. A real toughy! Do you think we should throw ourselves on the floor and scream a bit?”
“No! Dat will not be dah helping. I fink we be needin dah compromise.”
It’s official, ‘compromize’ is now my favourite word, enough to allow a ‘z’ to take preference! What has happened to my child? Who has zapped him? What did they zap him with? [translation = undoubtedly self initiated]
“Maybe……maybe I am eating it for you?”
“Really! You'd do that for me?”
“It will be being dah new food for me I am finking.”
“I cannot believe your bravery, and all for me! Thank you.”

I watch him attempt tentative ‘eating.’ I resist the urge to nibble part of him and content myself with one hand entwined around his middle. He snuggled back onto my lap, his fingers tremble with the paper muffin case. [translation = tactile defensiveness people often hate the texture of paper, especially on highly sensitive little digits] I pull it off for him as he made his attempt and I don’t want to tempt fate. The muffin rests on my palm, a plate.

The tip of his tongue edges out to brush the frosting. He remains like that for some moments before he slowly retracts his tongue. As he does so a little electric current courses through his body and mine, but for different reasons. I break off a piece of the crumb, tiny and hold it for him. We repeat the exercise.

He turns sideways to tuck himself under my chin and wipe his mucky mouth and face on my pristine white T-shirt.

That’s it! I’m finished. [translation = done] Now I can die happy. [translation = all will be well]

Greater love hath no neophobic child, than to eat cake for his mum for Mother's Day. [Or any other day come to think of it]

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