...with love all things are possible

Believe ...

Believe ...

Thursday, 31 May 2012

... a bathtub!

            Knock and the door shall open – seek and you shall find.  Ask through a blog and it will be given you.  I cannot believe it, by little blog was read by so many people and all sorts of creative ideas came spurting forth.
            However, like all good competitions, (not that this was an official competition), I have narrowed down the entries (very difficult I must say) and we have a winner!
            Thank you to my friend Lynnie in Bucks for this bathtub!  Right up my alley and perfectly within my budget.  Thanks to a precision pair of scale Vernier Calipers (in inches) I was able to ascertain that the bathtub was indeed the perfect size and most importantly: DEPTH!
            That's when the penny dropped.  I couldn’t have that bathtub. No how.  No way.  It was in therapy …

            Thoughtful as I am, I quickly changed my sights and I do have my eye on this one – I think I’ll put in an offer tomorrow after I find those scale Vernier Calipers … now where did I put them?

Friday, 25 May 2012

All I want is ...

The problem begins with the fact that I have English genes, albeit bastardized genes these days, but at their root they're English, so I like to soak.  In a deep hot bath, that is.
The bastardized part comes from living my life in Uruguay and the US, where showers are king.  I like having showers, don’t get me wrong.  Showers in the morning, showers at noon, or before supper after a hard day’s work – yes, those showers are great.  But after supper?  No.  Now way.  Showers don’t cut it.
After supper it’s lights-out-candles-on and time for slipping into a piping hot pool of peace.  Alone.  Winding down to steam off the day’s layers of whatever.  Peace, perfect peace.
So, since we’re fixing up the little house we've just bought, I’ve been commissioned to find a tub for myself.  Simple. Home D should do the trick.  Ya think?
They have ankle warmers, kiddies’ paddle baths and their deepest “soaker” wouldn't even reach my bum.  OK, OK, I know I have a very large bum these days, I’m conscious of the problem there, but it wouldn’t cover your bum either!  Unless you were under ten.
So it’s off to the dreaded Lowes (or Low S as Carlos calls it).  Unhelpful as always, they direct me to a large counter where a 3-foot-long horizontal-pole-bound collection of wretched catalogues awaits me.   But after a while I find what I’m looking for!  Hooray!  Claw foot, 60 inches by 30 inches by (bliss) 22 inches depth.  I’m so thrilled I even forget my Low S grudge. 
Grinning from ear to ear I approach the salesman again, who’s still (s)talking to the saleswoman about their weekends.  I have to wait until they reach a point where I can politely interrupt. 
“The price is in the back of the catalogue,” he points to the place I’ve just come from.  They resume their conversation and I’m banished to the Low S library again.
Who cares?  I can do it without them; I enjoy self-checkout lines and self-serve gas pumps.  I get to the page and suddenly every ounce of Low S hatred returns.  It costs almost as much as my car! 
Stubborn though, I plow through three more tomes.  It’s impossible; they’re all just as useless as the Home D tubs.  Every page I flip tells a similar story and I get more and more frustrated.  Can’t one of them help me?
I turn to look at them, sniggering and chatting together, no, they're too busy, so I stalk off towards the exit.  Yeah I have a big bum, yeah I came in dressed in my shorts and flip flops, but I came in on a mission.  I came to spend money.  Obviously I wasn't the type of customer who'd be in a position to spend that kind of money (oh Richard Gere where are you?)  and they sussed me out.  They were right.
So I’m hunting online now.  Carlos is hunting online as well.  In fact, because he gets up earlier than I do, he’s probably hunted more that I have.  But there isn’t a single soaker, in my price range, to be found.  
Maybe I’ll get a kiddies’ blow up pool and put that in the bathroom instead.  I’ve been known to do silly things like that.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Goat on float

Goat on float

A boat!
A boat!
That day
On the Moat
His window
Boy spied
A little red boat

The boat
Was afloat
On the Moat
Near O’Groat
And a man
Came out
And got into
That boat.

Then a
Second man
Dressed in
A float,
Walked out
And came
Down the
Path to that boat.

The man
With a float
Had a cake
And a goat.
A goat with
A bell and
They got into
The boat

Mouthed the man
As he raised
A hand.
Out! Out
Boy ran
To listen
To their plan.

“Wait,” said
The man
“Have you brought
My float?
Have you brought
My float
Which I left
In my tote?”

“I forgot!”
Said the man
And he slapped
His head.
“Hang onto
My goat
I’ll go back for
Your float”

The man
With a float
Got off the boat
As his friend
Held the collar
The throat
Of the goat.

Soon the man
With the float
Came back
To the boat
He came out
To the boat
With a note
And a tote

“Not the tote”
Said the friend
Still holding
The goat
“Just the float
That’s inside
That silly
Blue tote”

“That’s the thing”
Said the man,
The man
In the float,
“That’s why
I came back
With this note
From your

“A note
From my tote?”
He said holding
The goat.
“Yes one
I’d earlier
Pulled from the mouth
Of my goat”

“And what says
The note
That you found
By my tote?
What says
That note
Almost eaten
By your goat?”

Dear Joe,”
Says the note,
Read the friend
In the float
Dear Joe,”
Says Peyote
Your old friend
In Remote.

I’m borrowing
Your float
From your tote
At Remote,
Your float
With the sleeves
That looks
Like a coat.

It’s cold
Here tonight
In Remote,
He wrote,
I was cold
So I took
Your float
From the tote.”

“Well, well,”
Muttered Joe,
“Well, well,
What to do?
Seems I’m
Stuck now
With note
And no float
For my boat."

"What now?”
Said the friend
To the friend,
“What to do?
Now I’m here
On my boat
And it’s there
In Remote?”

He let go
Of the goat
And groaned
As he wrote
With a finger
In the air

“We can’t
Go for a ride
Not even
A float”
And as he spoke
The goat
Jumped right off
The boat!

“Oh no!”
Yelled the friend
In the float
“I can’t swim!
My goat!
It can’t swim!
It will sink
In the Moat!”

“Help! Help!”
Yelled the men
As they looked
For the goat.
“Help! Help!”
They called out
Not seeing
The goat.

Boy ran
For his float
Then ran out
Like a shot
And hurled
Donut float
Attached to a rope.

He knew
By rote
How to save
In the Moat
So he called
To the goat
“Hey, Billy!
Grab that float!”

In a mountain
Of foam
Billy Goat
The water broke
Reached the float
Was tied a

“Pull! Pull!”
Cried the men
From the
Bow of the boat
“Save the goat!
Save the goat!
Someone help!
We can't swim!”

“Good boy
Billy Goat!”
Boy called as
Goat’s teeth
Sank deep
As it grabbed
One side of
The float.

“That’s it
Billy Goat!
Bite tight
Don’t let go!”
“Pull! Pull!”
Cried the men
Getting off
Their red boat.

“Swim! Swim!”
Boy yelled
As the goat fought
The Moat.
“I’m pulling!”
Boy yelled to
The men
From the boat.

But the goat
Was big
And the boy
Was small
And the men,
Who were foolish,
Feared crossing
The Moat.

Downriver was
A bridge, our
Folklore told,
‘Neath which lived
Dote troll
Who ate things
The Moat

Dote spied them
And caught them,
His dinner
To make;
From the bridge
Or the water,
His prey he
Would take!

The men
Were afraid,
So they called
And they yelled.
But boy’s hands
Slipped and bled
On the rope
To the goat.

One last tug
Might have had him,
But on handovers
So the current took
The goat
On the donut

“Oh no!”
Cried the men
As they watched
Boy fall.
“Oh no!”
Boy yelled as he
Tumbled off
The wall.

With a splash
Boy was in
Right after
The goat.
Then the current
Sucked him down,
To’ard the
Bridge of

The bell
Of the goat
Did clang as
He fought
And the float
Kept him up
As he howled
From his throat.

“To the bridge!”
Boy called,
Now desperate for
Some help,
As he swam for
The goat
And his life
To’ard the float.

“The cake! 
The cake!
Take the cake
To the troll!”
He spluttered
As he swam
Best he could
In the Moat.

The troll popped out
As the bell
He heard,
Stamped his feet
Rubbed his hoofs
And with
A grin
He did gloat.

Boy swam,
Boy fought
Till he reached
The rope.
Then the goat
With a shriek
Bit onto
Boy’s coat.

But the Moat
Pulled the boy
And the goat
Way on down,
As the men
Now emboldened
Carried cake
To the troll.

Old Dote
Got his net
And yelled
“By Bloat!
What a meal
I shall have,
From above
And below!”

That’s when Joe
From the boat,
The one in the float,
With the cake
Reached the
Bridge and
Yelled out
To the troll:

“Hey troll!
Lookie here
Come ‘n see
What we’ve got!”
And together stormed
The bridge
Just as Dote
Cast his net.

Boy screamed,
Men stomped
And the goat
On the float
Bleated loud
As the troll
Did emote:

“Get the goat
On the float?
Or the boy in
The coat?
Or the cake?
Or those
On my bridge?”

If you
Were a troll,
By the name
Of Dote,
Would you eat
For dinner:
Boy, float,
Or goat?

Does say,
(Tho' not confirmed,
No way!)
That the troll
Called his
Friends and
The lot
They ate.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Oncologist

            She sat on the other side of the doctor’s desk, hands clasped in her lap, palms damp with nerves. 
Unlike regular doctors’ offices, where everything was the same sterile white, including sinks and cupboards, Dr. Johnson’s office was warm, his desk filled with pictures of family and cluttered with books, papers and a few toddlers’ drawings.  It was tastefully furnished in deep cherry and plush carpets.  The chair she was seated in, like its partner, was comfortable and deep.  She knew this office by heart, she could draw it in her sleep but today it was veiled in a grey mist.  Even the enormous painting of the endless path into the woods was out of focus.
How naive she had been when she brought first her aunt then her mother here.  She would point out the d├ęcor, the brightness, the photos.  She would ignore their mechanical “Mmm” responses.  Chattering on she would do anything to attempt to distract them from their awful plight. 
Now she was in the hot seat nothing else mattered.  If something had changed Sophie didn’t notice nor did she care.
He was due to walk in any moment, but the anguish was just too great.  She was sure it was cancer.  After all, so many members of her family had had it before her, she’d seen the signs, she knew the signs and she’d nursed her own mother right to the end.  She swallowed deep, the knot tightening her throat.
It had all started with a simple infection.  Not quite the way it had happened with her mother, but everything she’d read on the Internet, told her the symptoms were the same.  Ticked all the boxes.
The door opened announcing the doctor’s arrival.  She looked up at him, bracing herself for what she knew was coming.
“Hello, Sophie,” he said walking towards her with a small smile.
“Hello, Dr. Johnson,” she greeted her mother’s oncologist.  Her oncologist now.
“It’s so wonderful to see you after all this time, how have you been?” he said letting his 6 foot 5 frame sink into the chair.  Not his great grey chair behind the desk, but in the seat beside Sophie.  Only one reason why he would do that.
“It’s good to see you too, although I’d rather not be here,” she squeezed her eyes shut with her thumb and forefinger, “if you know what I mean.”
“I know – I’m not a very popular person.” He said with a hangdog expression.
“Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to hurt you,” Sophie touched his forearm, “it’s just that … well, it’s tough coming back here.”
“I know, Sophie.  Everyone who walks into this room is afraid.  I can smell it, feel it. Do you know I have to take special classes and counseling on how to talk to people?  Every year I attend different sessions just to make sure I’m staying sensitive – because my news is almost always pretty awful.”
“I didn’t know that, no.  I never thought of it that way.   It must be really hard for you.”
“Hmmm, it is, yes.  But I live in hope that one day, one day, Sophie, we’re going to crack this one and find a cure.  That always makes me think positive.  I just wish we could have found it already.  So many wonderful people, your Mom, your aunt Lucy … Lucy ...” he sighed.
Sophie’s throat tightened again, “…and now me …”
“And you … and you?” he looked up, the glazed expression cleared as he focused on Sophie  “No! Not you.” He said, clasping both her hands in his.  “Not you, Sophie! You’re fine.  You have nothing wrong except a little stubborn fungal infection which you can get rid of with this,” he said pulling a packet from the pocket of his white lab coat.
“Not? I’m not … I’m OK?” said Sophie blinking back the tears,  “are you telling me it’s not ca …”
“It’s NOT cancer,” smiled Dr. Johnson, “You’re absolutely fine.”
“Oh my God, I can’t believe it.  Thank you!” she said hugging him so spontaneously that her thumb knocked his glasses off, “Ooops, I’m so sorry,” she said bending over to pick them up and in the effort, she knocked over a picture. “Thank you!  Oh dear ", sorry again!” she said she teared up with joy.
“Who’s this?” she asked noticing the picture of a new baby in the photo she'd returned to his desk.
“My granddaughter, Lucy.”
“She’s gorgeous, Dr., Johnson, how old is she?”
“Lucy … she was five months in that picture.  Named after your aunt Lucy.  She died three weeks ago.  Brain cancer,” he whispered, turning away towards the never ending path in the painting as he often did.
“Oh.  Oh, no.” Sophie watched this gentle giant slump as his shoulders shook in silent sobs.  Again she touched his arm.
“One day,” he said, lost somewhere in the woods, “One day...”

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

End of childhood (2)

Feminism.  This play is still running riot in my head and I thought it would be enough to just spit up what I did a week ago.  But it’s not!  Now that I took the cork off, the rest is just tripping over itself to come out. 
Feminism, I spent my childhood watching old traditions slam into new behaviors.  Listening to adults talking about the young generation of women and their attitudes.  I was born in 1960, so there was plenty of fodder all around.
But it didn't fit me.  If it had wheels I wanted to ride it; if it had branches I wanted to climb it; if it involved hand-eye coordination I wanted to play it.  Anything you can do I can do better …
If it involved skirts, fashion, and dolls I wasn’t interested.  Yet this boy somehow had stolen my little girl heart in the summer of 1973 and proceeded to smash it after the sun had set on the end of a magical season.

By the time we got back to the Clubhouse, my mother was in the parking lot, waiting for us.  Broken and disgraced, I rode in the back of the car after the party, while he sat in front.  I said nothing.   She spoke to him, sweet and gushing as always.  After all, he’d been in “Arsenic and Old Lace” with her the year before - all grown-ups and him.  He carried on an adult conversation with my mother as if nothing had happened between him and me in the dark damp shadow of the juniper trees.  I said nothing and then he was gone.  He didn’t even say goodnight to me.
I knew everything was my fault; he'd told me I was “such a baby” and then he'd said nobody would be interested in me ever again.  At 14 believed him and I watched as the rest of my life disappeared into a nothingness. 
It was hard enough at home, being the second of four.  A wonderful family and I love them dearly, but I spent so much of my time feeling like a flyover zone, like a banana skin.  The First was always the Best.  The Boy was the Only Boy.  The Last was the Apple of everyone’s eye.  And then there was me.  A failed number one because I came second.  A girl, when they’d spent nine months expecting a boy.  Trouble.  I spent my first week in this world with no name, because my parents hadn’t planned for a girl.  Everything was blue, the names were for boys and the champagne went back in the fridge. 
To top it off, I spent the next six months of my life screaming, starving and battling for my life with a strange digestive disorder.  Trouble.  I can’t think anyone wanted me much then either.  My older sister used to bang her head against the wall in despair at my screaming.  My father would holler and punch holes in walls.  My mother never confessed how it affected her … so I knew it was bad.

I crawled into bed that night and cried myself to sleep.

It was the very next day I made the pivotal poor choice.  I didn’t plan it, it just sort of happened at the last training session of the summer.  I found a moment and walked towards him.  Anything you can do, I can do better …
“About last night …” I whispered, looking at my long second toe.
“Oh, puh-leeze,” he said, dismissing me with a wave of his hand, turning towards the other guys.
I touched his arm, “about last night … I …” my second toe seemed even longer.
“Listen, just leave me the hell alone.  OK?” he hissed, then added, “baby.”
That was no term of endearment.
Anything you can do I can do better.  I can do anything better than you.  No, you can’t. “Please … whatever that was last night …” I swallowed hard, my tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth, “whatever it was … I .. can we try … a – a – again?” the last words rushed out of my mouth before I even realized.  I had no idea what was happening.
“Really?  Well … look who’s growing up in a hurry,” he said, carelessly tossing the words over his shoulder.  “Well, we’ll see what happens later.”
I should have realized from the searing pain in the pit of my stomach that this was a very, very bad idea.  A very poor choice.  But I had no idea what was going to happen.
A tomboy can do anything boys do, right?  That’s how I felt.  Like George (Georgina) in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five Series, I always felt I was more of a boy than a girl – so whatever it was he was planning, I was going to have to grow up quick and learn.
Anything you can do I can do better.  I can do anything better than you.  No, you can’t. Yes, I can.  No, you can’t.  Yes, I can.  Yes, I can.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Living with Alzheimer's - part III

“I don’t have a daughter in America,” says Mum and with a click the international connection is broken.
Holding my cell phone to my ear, I stand, transfixed for a heartbeat and then I howl.
I’ve lost my mother.

She came into the room where I was tucked into bed, waiting.  It looked as if she were floating on a magic carpet, her silky blue sparkly dress swishing along the floor as she moved towards me.  I’d begged her to come for a good night kiss before leaving for the ball and she did.  She always did.
I sighed with pleasure, because even though she’s always beautiful, she looked like a fairy princess tonight, her hair piled high up on her head, pearls around her neck, and the dress like glittering water all the way down from her shoulders to the floor.  It twinkled as she moved and when she sat on the edge of my bed, I saw she’d painted her eyes, her lips and her nails.
“Goodnight, Noony darling,” she whispered in my ear, “sleep tight,” she kisseed me on the right cheek leaving behind that never-to-be-forgotten imprint of Madame Rocha’s perfume.
“Night, night, Mummy.  You look beautiful,” I whispered back, somewhat timid because tomboys weren't supposed to notice nice clothes and things, “You look like a fairy,” I said touching the dress then the sparkling bracelet on her wrist.
She smiled, but before she could reply, Daddy walked in, her knight in shining armor, magnificent in a tuxedo with a blue bowtie.
“Are we ready, darling?  It’s getting late.”
He held out his hand to her, her dashing blue-eyed knight, blew me a kiss and in a swirl of silk and perfume, they were gone.


I wipe my tears and blow my nose.  I know it’s too early to be crying like this.  After all, it’s 2008 and Mum’s only just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year ago.  I call back and Dad picks up.
“Wazzup, Noony?” he teases.
“Hi, Dad.  I called five minutes ago and Mum didn’t recognize me,” I say to the knight in shining armor, perhaps using that little girl voice again.
“Oh, was that you?  She didn’t have Fred in, so she couldn’t hear.”
Relief washes over me like a warm blanket.  Fred, her hearing aid, was to blame for the misunderstanding and all was right with the world again. 
Because, forty years on, she may not be wearing the twinkling blue dress anymore, but she’s still my Mummy and I’m not ready to miss her yet.

Like a fairy princess ...

Saturday, 24 March 2012

End of childhood

I left the theatre last night in a bit of a daze.  Carlos and I had gone to see our son, Christian, in a seminal play called “The Other F Word.”  He was incredible in his performance and the play itself – an original, devised play based on true stories – was a revelation.
My immediate reaction to the title was to insert Fuck.  That’s the F word, right?  I totally missed the subtlety of the preceding word, “Other.”  While Fuck plays a very important part in the play, it is not the protagonist (for once!) but occasionally is the catalyst.
Feminism.  That’s what it’s about: a hard look at changes in feminism and women over the past 20 years.  We’re already a long way from the shivering male-dominated women of the past and still moving away. Moving away from the hard-nosed angry feminists who forged their blazing path.  Moving away from the bitter man-hating.  Moving away from burn-your-bras.
Feminism.  Aspects of women and their real life struggles:  women through the eyes of men, women through the eyes of women, women through the eyes of themselves.  Society’s look at women, lesbians, gays, friends, lovers, partners.
Sitting there in the packed black-box theatre, with scores of people turned away at the door, we, the lucky ones, sat mesmerized by the performance.  I was transported to places in my memories, then in my values and finally into my soul.
How we have changed.  How we have evolved.  While I might not agree with some of the trends that are taking place, I can empathize with them all.  It stirred up some long-buried hurts inside me, of events that changed the course of my innocent, idyllic life in Montevideo, Uruguay.
It was the summer of 1973 when I finally caught the eye of the most amazing boy at the swim club.   He was everyone’s jock, everyone’s hero, everyone’s friend.  At four years older than me, he had always been my idol and now that he’d left his long-time older girlfriend, I finally stood a chance.
I knew nothing about dating or boys at the time, but I was determined to learn fast.  He was breathtaking and I hung on his every word.  Summer flew by, long days of swimming, training and competitions.  Great camaraderie and towards the end of summer, in February 1974, I turned 14 and we'd been close almost all summer.
It happened at the farewell summer dance.  We danced, we kissed, and there was beer and smoking.  Those crazy days when cigarettes and drinking had nothing to do with sports.  Exhausted by the heat of the clubhouse, we wandered off down to the rugby fields, far from the noise and chatter. He smoked and drank as we walked and talked, this enormous strong boy and I; and I knew I was in heaven.
It’s dark out where we are, all the floodlights have been switched off and the club is hidden way behind the tall juniper hedges. Then next thing I know, he’s kissing me and pushing me to the ground.  He’s kissing me and rolling on top of me.  His whole mouth is inside mine and without warning, his hand is inside my shirt, under my size nothing bra and I freeze.  I’m not kissing him anymore, I’m screaming, I’m crying, I’m scared.  And I’m squirming.
My insides have turned to jelly and I’m shaking and pushing to get this man off me, who’s twice my size.  He’s jamming his knee between my legs and pushing them apart while he continues to rape my mouth.
Everything inside is screaming STOP!! STOP!!  I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t like what’s happening.  STOP!!
“STOP!!!  Please stop!”  I’m clawing, twisting and heaving to move him off my skinny body.
We’re fully dressed but I feel naked.  I’ve just managed to get his hand out from under my shirt, but he’s panting and slamming his groin into my hips.
“STOP!  Please stop.  I don’t like this!!  What are you doing?  It’s …  not  … r – r -right ...” I’m sobbing now, all of my strength dissolved into tears.
Something has made him stop.
“What?”  He hoists himself up on his hands still pinning me with his hips as he stares at me from above, his head blocking out the night sky.  “Why the hell are you crying?” he grunts.
It’s my chance.  With every ounce of strength I twist and roll, knocking his arm so he topples and I’m out from under him.  I’m still sobbing, but I don’t think I notice at the time because all I can focus on is standing up.  I can’t stand up!  My legs are like Raggedy Anne legs and I seem to have forgotten how to breathe.  My shirt ... torn.
“What the fuck are you whimpering about?” he barks, standing up and brushing off his jeans. 
“I – I … I don’t think … that was … very nice …” I blubber.
“God!  You’re such a baby.  I knew you were a baby.” He hisses straightening his shirt and walking away.
I’m humiliated, but my mother is coming to pick us both up.  I have to catch up with him and we have to leave together.
“Please … please wait,” I gasp, horrified as I watch my idol walk out of my life.  “Please, help me up.”
“Get up, then,” he barks, yanking me by the hand, “God, I can’t believe I’ve wasted my time with such a baby.  We’re done.  Nobody’s ever going to be interested in YOU, I can assure you that.”
He storms off and I follow him, broken, afraid and disgraced.

Christian came back on stage and was crying. His performance was so riveting I forgot he was my son.  This lovely man who'd made us laugh, wrung us out and let us into his world became a broken man, twice jilted who only sought normal.  He was crying and he made me cry. The actor touched my soul.  I cried for him and I cried with him.
I cried for his loss.
I cried for his failed relationships.
I’m crying because his performance for some of us is so real.