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Barbarians At The Gate

I wanted to write a new story but I didn’t know what to write.

Once I had my specific audience in mind, though, all it took was a few minutes of relative quiet and a few rows of knitting, to get the ideas forming in my brain.

The problem now, is not so much getting ideas, as getting them to shut up while I attend to the things I have to do to keep my family functioning.

Now that I’ve discovered them, the characters are stomping around in my brain, living their lives, and telling me what they’re up to.


Round, frozen, hard, white.
Watery now, shedding your ice.
Patting, drying, there-there.
(Heating butter, adding garlic, a dash of oil.)
Take a teriyaki bath, there you go. Scrubba dubba.
Time to come out now!
Lift you, Sea Scallops, gently out of your tub.
Thrust you into the searing, flashing, firework pan.
Scorch your edges.
Throw some acid on top.
Press you into the hot metal until you squeal.
Grab you with shiny tongs and turn your unharmed side down — to the point of the burn.
There there, now. All done.
Cradle you, lay you down.
Admire you.
Devour you.

Snow Delay

[audio:|titles=Snow Delay]
Snow delay for the kids today. It was barely worth it for a dusting.

There was no policy for this when I grew up. Here, now, everyone knows that a delay means the day starts two hours late, A snow day means everything is canceled but work.

Growing up, there was just snow, and people gazing out of the window at heavy skies, and frantic phone calls among the people who decided things. I was sent home early once, as the snow coated the hills between my home and the school, the bus crawling and sliding through muffled afternoon darkness.

Back In The 1980s, Kids…


Photo: Lex In the City Used with permission


Yesterday I bent down and slid legwarmers over my feet for the first time since 1985.

Instantly, I was 13 again; in my bedroom in my parents’ house, faintly worried. Will I look stupid? Is my hair right? Will he notice me? Where’s my electric-blue eyeliner?

But these were a modest brown, not the fluffy white monstrosities of 25 years ago. My hair’s fine, he loves me and I don’t wear eyeliner any more.

Later, I again remembered my schooldays vividly as, after a day of wearing a skirt in winter, I huddled and tried to warm my bones.

The Crazy Uncle

Every family has the crazy uncle, right?

I had two. One related by inclination, the other by marriage.

Growing up I saw one almost every weekend, the other much less often. I miss them both.

One was witty and daft and completely off the wall; kind and generous and possibly quite brilliant; more like my parents than not. The other was loud, silly, trendy, moody, passionate, insecure, kind and generous, like but more unlike my parents; perfect uncle material.

One of them has a birthday today. Happy Birthday Uncle 70s-Afro-Jam-Tart-Eyes-Rescuing-Stranded-Nieces-After-Concerts Mike.


I want a fresh start.

Isn’t that what the New Year is supposed to be all about?

But it’s not.

It’s half way through the school year. It’s a third of the way into a work commitment. It’s almost seven years into one son’s life, five for the other. It’s us on the way to our 15th wedding anniversary. It’s another Sunday, the same old friends, the bathroom still needs someone to clean it, and all my unfinished projects still need to live or die.

And sometimes all those things are wonderful.

And sometimes I just want to run away.

Where’s My Vertiport?!

At the Helicopter Museum today, saw a diorama all about ‘vertiports’ and how, in The Future helicopters would ferry everyone from the city out to the airports or nearby cities.

The skyline behind the artist’s rendering of the Heliport was New York pre-Twin-Towers.


So where’s my vertiport? Where’s my hover car? And where the hell is my robot butler?

But wait, I have a Roomba, and it’s cleaning the floor in my kid’s room while I type. OK, so maybe living in The Future isn’t so bad after all. I do have a Star Trek-style communicator too…

Happy New Year At Last

So here we are on a cold and mercilessly bright New Year’s morning.

I kind of hate New Year’s Eve, but as soon as midnight rolls around I have the happy, fresh-slate feeling that comes as a surprise every time. I’m always very pessimistic, fatalistic, on Hogmanay, which is not like me. But maybe I’m just using up the old year’s store of pessimism. Unused misery needs to be wrung out and not carried over into the shiny New Year

My eldest son was certainly using up the dregs of his 2009 Badness allowance over the past few days!

Mother Of The Year

Stop hitting people, stop touching them as you walk by, don’t barge between them, don’t swing your lunchbox.

Sit still. Use your knife and fork. Put your fork in the proper hand. Use your napkin not your sleeve! Sit up, sit down, don’t talk with your mouth full.

Stop saying “no” before I’ve even finished the question. Stop looking at me like that. Look me in the eyes when you talk to me. Don’t you dare talk to me like that. Answer me when I ask you a question.

Love and respect me and forgive me when I say so.