Sunday, 31 January 2016

Put Your Best Foot Forward

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Now where did I hear that? I guess it's one of those sayings you take for granted, that is until your best foot betrays you.  About six weeks ago, I missed my footing, not seeing a step down onto paving with the result that I felt a jarring right up my leg into my hip.  Thereafter followed a painful few weeks during which I got some physio help and had to just wait for things to heal. Unfortunately, during that time I hurt the same side again - lost my footing on a dirt road (slippery pebbles on the downhill) while we were walking ahead to see if the 4 x 4 vehicle could handle the terrain around the corner.  Same story - another four weeks, I was told.  Then we had that flood three weeks ago: lost my footing the next day in a remaining puddle in a dark part of the house. There is no way you can save yourself if you slip on water, so down I went again, same side. Each time I had started from a stationary position right foot first. Another four weeks. Is this something to do with being right-footed? If I attempt to kick a ball, it has to be with my right foot, playing the piano was always easier with the right hand; my joints have swollen on my right hand more than on the left.  Whatever the explanation, since my right foot has turned traitor, my best foot is now my left.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Loving Couple

Our very own

While I admit we are vegetable virgins when it comes to planting seed, you can at least be assured they are organically grown but wouldn't make it to the shops. A bonus though is showing the odd ones to one's grandchidren, who are suitably intrigued and able to take the mishap to school for "Show and Tell". I might also add that we have also had quite a respectable number of regulation-shaped carrots to bring to the table, along with some nice beans and one large beetroot.  I realise that one could Google 'mishapen vegetables' if one were interested, but it doesn't come near the excitement of parental pride when pulling the thing out of the ground oneself.

Friday, 22 January 2016

A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

An absolutely amazing book

I rarely write book reviews unless I come across an exceptional book that has really moved me and will be unforgettable.  "A Little Life" is such a book.  At 720 solid pages, it is hard to believe that this author managed to write this in only 18 months, but she did.  Despite it's many heart-breaking pages it is an uplifting work dealing with what I can only describe as very, very, very great love between life-long friends.  I first thought I would need two months to get through it but I couldn't put it down and it took me a week. Such are the privileges of being retired.  If we can't indulge in a lengthy read at this stage of our lives, then when can we? It is only in the central character's tortured mind that he has a 'little life'. For an onlooker, one can only be humbled to read about his. Even though one knows (certainly hopes) this is a work of fiction, it is a powerful, life-changing read. I remain extremely grateful that my own life has been ordinary and average.  I don't want to say more, the story is too complex. Try it. I believe it is the author's second book and as well-received as her first.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Sometimes 'Sharing' is not Good

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Having asked a dear friend for advice last month, I was touched when she phoned to cheer me up by telling me that it had been her 42nd wedding anniversary that week-end and for the first time ever, her husband had not given her flowers. In the light of my recent experience, she briefly wondered if perhaps there was a sinister reason for this and pointed out his omission. However, he was very contrite: he had indeed only forgotten, bogged down even more deeply than usual in pessimistic thoughts about the fate of our country and the world in general. He has always had these thoughts but increasingly since his retirement three years ago. My friend has also at times wondered why he sits up late at night and watches old movies or the fashion channel, long after she has gone to bed. They are Italian by birth and inclination and it is really that he just loves clothes and to hear a little Italian spoken in the background. (I can't hazard a guess as to whether he likes the tall, skinny, flat-chested models). My friend says this is her worry as she is only 5' exactly and 'nicely-rounded' and could never wear those clothes. He is perhaps a tad under 5' . She did her best to cheer him up by putting on some vinyls from the 1960s and the two of them spent a couple of happy hours dancing together in their lounge. He bought some flowers the next day.

Monday, 18 January 2016

All Hands on Deck

Ok, it wasn't this bad, but it felt like it

It never rains but it pours.  We've had suicidally hot temperatures lately and so much time has been spent in the pool.  This week-end was no exception especially as we had big son and his family with us. Sunday afternoon found all of us cavorting in the pool and finally I decided to get out and attend to food.  As I walked up the steps to the front door I heard the sound of water running. To my horror I saw a torrent pouring down the stairs already on it's way to my carpeted downstairs bedrooms. I raced outside shouting "Flood, flood", galvanizing big son into action. He raced upstairs to find the leak while my husband gazed around bemused trying to work out what was happening (hearing aids out for swimming). When he could be made to understand, he dashed off to the pavement to cut off the main water supply.  Water still pumping downstairs, I rushed to barricade the entrance to the bedrooms with towels.  The culprit? Not immediately obvious, no faucets left on in any room: eventually traced to pipes behind the new cupboard hubby has just finished in the pantry (our living rooms are upstairs for the view). We used to have our washing machine there but moved it to another room about a year ago. The two pipes were blanked off at that time. One of the 'blank-off' fittings - made of pewter -  had rusted through and finally sheared off. The brass one (they should all have been brass) was fine.  When we had finally finished mopping up operations I started wondering, "what if we had been away??" No-one comes into the house except us.  I can't imagine when the leak would have been noticed as water coming out under the front door (having first flooded the whole house upstairs and down) would have gone down the steps and into the pool, not visible from the street. A ghastly prospect, so now hubby is going to install a cut-off tap in the driveway just before the water supply enters the house. When we go away next time, we'll turn it off. At least the last time we had a bad flood, small son still lived at home and both sons were in the neighborhood to clean up the mess. Note to self: get to know our neighbors better, leave keys with them and ask them to look in occasionally.  That should go some way to peace of mind when we are away.

Monday, 11 January 2016

All's Well that Ends Well & Theatre of the Absurd

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I hadn't yet finished preparations for my argument when I lost it while we were watching an episode of "Fortitude" this week in which the policeman (along with other men in the tiny town), is besotted with the very pretty Spanish girl. My husband made a disapproving remark about their age gap and I couldn't help but snap at him that he had no room to talk considering his own fantasies!!!  I think he had not realized I was still upset with him (have tried to be normal),  and two days later he declared that he was very depressed and must clear up whatever was wrong with me. In the end, I asked him to explain his feelings for her and his feelings for me during those years. At which point I could not withhold ugly tears and also somewhat ridiculously sobbed that I wasn't yet ready for this discussion as I hadn't got my make-up on and was sweaty because we had just got back from our morning walk.  This aside, I got some very satisfactory answers in the end which explained everything and felt I could forgive him for his stupidity that night. We concluded that he must have been making a big joke, considering that M had always been 'one of the boys' to him. In retrospect, things have been very loving and romantic since, and I wonder if one does not need this kind of reassurance top-up every few years, especially as we age and life becomes so regular and routine.  In fact, I have jacked up my own behavior, trying to be more patient re deafness etc.etc.  Must avoid becoming a nag as well.  Maybe it was good to have a bit of a shake-up, considering that it ended well. I think I must find some new interests to occupy my mind:  I am afraid of becoming boring.  As an afterthought, I have fished out the long, blonde wig I bought a few years back, bought some new underwear and have successfully dyed my pubes!  None of this will have any effect on him (apart from amusement) but it makes me feel a lot better. Oh yes, my friends were, predictably, very supportive and sympathetic, not to say, very ego-boosting on my behalf.  It's great to have friends.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Regarding Coping with the Fallout from the "Party that shall not be Named"

It's nearly four weeks on and I still feel as hurt as ever, but in order not to bore, I shall not dwell on this side of things.  Snowbrush's comment made me think: do I have any shameful hidden secret desires?  I can't think of any but he gave me an idea: I am going to invent some. At the moment, I am set on revenge, well not really revenge, just finding some way to get my husband to understand the way I feel. At the moment, he is not approachable, just gets irritable, saying he has never been 'the kind of guy who has affairs',  (is there a type?) and that M has always been 'just one of the boys' to him. So I am rather exploring ways of getting through to him when I have finally fine-tuned my argument. This whole thing has in another way got me thinking about other things. From where does the sub-conscious get it's ideas? I intend to do some research on this because I find I am not myself completely innocent when it comes to unwelcome thoughts coming to me in dreams.  e.g. When our sex life has been on a bit of a downer for more than a week, I have sometimes had sexy dreams featuring, not my husband, but some kind of an anonymous lover. Occasionally, I have woken up and puzzled about what this might mean: I've never been one who has had sexual fantasies about other men/film stars/pop stars etc. Even as a teenager, I had no posters on my bedroom walls. I have never wanted any other man than my husband since the day I met him. So how does one explain such things? The other thing is, I am somewhat cynically trying to be extra sweet and nice to my husband at the moment, anticipating his least desires, to lull him into a false sense of security before I deliver my hammer-blow i.e. a please-explain why he thinks he could have made this remark.  He will say, at best, that it was just a joke, but is there not a wise saying, "Many a true word spoken in jest" ?

It's amazing that the following two quotations have come my way this week, one in a magazine I rarely buy, and the other on the frontispiece of a book I am reading:

"You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars each partner carries on their tongue, earned from years of biting back angry words" 
  (Elizabeth Gilbert - not a favorite author of mine, but apposite in this circumstance).  

Actually, the nasty remarks I have bitten back in the last weeks would be the first scars on my tongue. We've never before said ugly things to each other but now I can see how it can happen.

"Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. they never did, and never can, carry us beyond our own person, and it is by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations."   Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments

 This is for those who think I am making a mountain out of a molehill.  I haven't answered your comments yet or looked up the reference Sextant gave me.  I will get to that soon. Meanwhile, I have e-mailed 3 of my trusted female friends who have known us as a couple for the past 35 years, to see what they think.  I await their replies....