Sunday, 31 March 2013

Remover of Obstacles

31st March 2013

My niece, recently returned from Nepal, gives my husband a  fabulous carved wooden mask of Ganesha - the Elephant God. He is known as ‘The Remover of Obstacles’, the' Lord of Success' and the' Deva of Intellectual Wisdom'. He holds it up to his face and we all smile and laugh at his transformation.....

Tonight we sit on the sofa with a bowl of little eggs wrapped in gold and blue, pink and  lime green silver paper -  one of his wonderfully abundant birthday presents.   

What are these? he says.

Easter eggs.

They aren’t eggs though.

No they are chocolate - in the shape of eggs.

He unwraps one.

Do you know what Easter eggs are?

Not really.

I wonder if I prayed hard enough to Ganesha he could dissolve my longing to talk to my husband like I used to .....because I'm afraid it could get in the way of my loving him.....

Friday, 29 March 2013


Good Friday

I wasn’t planning to but I end up making a fish stock for the prawn risotto   - inspired by Jamie Oliver’s seafood version - for my husband’s birthday lunch tomorrow. I don’t have any of the mussels or scallops or John Dory that he suggests but I do have some smoked haddock and a whole bay tree outside our front door and I throw in the woody stems of the asparagus spears to add a hint of spring. It’s not really fishy enough though.....

It’s traditional to plant your potatoes on Good Friday. My husband plants red onion sets at the allotment instead. I put a volumionous Pavlova into the oven and go out into the weak sunshine to cut, or rather chew up, the long wet grass of our back lawn, snapping off one of the plastic blades in the base of our ineffectual lawn mower. By the time I come inside I can smell the burnt nipple quiffs of the meringue, like hot candy floss, scenting the kitchen. Luckily I can do a cream and strawberry concealing job tomorrow and hope no one will mind.....

When my husband comes home after his long walk with my brother-in-law, we lie on the bed with the light fading outside and we count off the names of our family and friends and see how many my husband can remember. For some reason he finds it easier to recall long or unusual names - like his mother’s middle name, or pairs of names  - as in married people - it confuses him if I refer to them separately.

I notice he often says things are getting worse and worse. Which isn’t how I see it....the worst already happened so now it’s how I can find the good....moment by moment...word by word - choosing love over fear. As a dear friend sometimes reminds me ..

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Or plant onions if you haven’t got potatoes....

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Rescued By Cake (Love)

I don't’ think I’ll come tonight, says my husband, I’m a bit tired.

I recognise his ‘I’m crap and no good and don’t deserve to be here’ face.

You have to, I say.  Because after the meditation there’ll be birthday cake - especially for you.

And it’s a magnificent cake layered and smothered with chocolate frosting, baby sugared Easter eggs marking out a six and a zero in the centre, all lit up with gold and silver candles.....and a pile of beautiful cards...... and a bunch of daffodils cut from a garden and sixteen voices in a circle all singing happy birthday to my husband.....even though it’s not till Sunday.....

And no-one minds when he opens his cards and reads the names signed inside and I match the faces to the names of our friends for him - because they know that love isn’t trapped in words..... 

And it’s their love and their kindness that rescues me tonight ....melting yesterday’s ice floes in my heart....bringing me home to myself....with each sweet mouthful of cake...and the smile on my husband’s face....

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Petticoats of Ice

I’m back home  - with writer's block.....blogging block anyway.....far far away from myself locked behind petticoats of ice.....

with a mouth full of sponges  - the fall out of being torpoedoed with novacaine yesterday for my broken tooth - my left cheek like a football moon....

and the wreckage of this month’s haircut fallling around my ears -  a raggedy eagle in flight....annoying the hell out of me..... 

and the cold, the cold...... reaching it’s blue fingers under my skin.... slowing me down to a crawl so that even a smile requires a mental debate....

From the darkness of the bedroom the white mound of my husband asks me how I’m feeling.

Rubbish I say.

Which seems to wound him.

I wish I could say full of the joys of spring and looking forward to supper and a movie.

Which of course I could if I slipped out from behind my icy petticoats even for a moment and laughed at my nonsense......

but that would require a decision...and might just catapult me into the broiling sea of anxiety always a hair’s breath below the soles of my feet....

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Patiently Waving

Funny how I’m supposed to be getting lunch ready - cold baked mackerel fillets and salad - but I end up cleaning the fridge (which was horribly grubby) at the same time.....and lunch is a bit late but it doesn’t matter as my husband has a streaming cold and wants to sleep a big longer.....

Funny how I’m collecting our passports and tickets together and find all the details I need to fill out an insurance policy for another holiday booking....

Funny how I find the leggings I’ve been looking for for ages which I thought I’d somehow thrown away, when I’m trying to decide what to pack in my suitcase.....

So sometimes things just get done when you aren’t really paying attention to them. Although, like loving kindness, they are always waiting in your periferal vision someone patiently waving through a gossamer curtain....

No more blogs for a while till we come back from our holiday....

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Juicy Gems

We planned to walk to our appointment, but the air is bitterly cold so we allow half an hour to find a parking space at the hospital. It's already snarled up and chokka block when we get there. My husband says he knows a place not too far from where we need to be where you can park for free for 2 hours. I’m sceptical and scathing -  I hate being late....but  he’s right and we are 10 minutes early.

Our lovely clinical psychologist says we are both stuck in an old script - and associated feelings - which was there pre-diagnosis, where we take on unhelpful roles of critical mother and resentful child.....I have an image of being tangled in a fish net - my fins snared in the ropes - still under water but not swimming anywhere....

I like this man and his powerful listening......I feel lighter when we leave -  buoyed up with the thought that we can still make a future together even if it’s not the one I fantasized about.....and the future starts with how to be now and now and now....

Lying on red towels on the massage bench, I gasp with an OUCH when our lovely chiropracter judders a little machine into the knotted muscles down my spine. I feel like a pavement being drilled....
She says all my locked up tension is the result of years of chronic stress.....

Tonight bashing out the glistening ruby red seeds of half a pomegranate with a wooden spoon I marvel at how easily they fly out, splashing the plate with their juice, and leave their creamy beehive cells completely clean - as if they’d never lived there......

I’m wondering if a few emotional jolts and jabs will help me on this slow healing release the juicy gems of my Self that wants to swim upriver....

PS Thank you Nigella Lawson for the pomegranate wooden spoon bashing tip.....

Monday, 11 March 2013

SOFT And Bright

Unexpected late orchid flower in the kitchen...

Pomegranate spilling its rubies...

Trying to capture snow flakes like falling ash....

11th March 2013

Driving to my yoga class this morning, hunched against the freezing air, I find myself repeating over and over a mnemonic I invented ages ago as a sort of joke to describe how I felt...SOFT


all of me hurting and resistant - pounding myself with the ‘truth’ of my words.

Then it hit me that if I was going to chant anything it could at least be kinder I tried the Hoponopono mantra - 

I’m sorry
I love you
Please forgive me
Thank you

saying it like my 2x table -  blotting out the dull pain in my back.....momentarily.

 My husband's car is in the garage so after lunch I drive us to Newton Abbot for our Chiropractic appointments.  I don’t feel like talking - sometimes I’m afraid we have nothing to say to each other - except about diary arrangements and putting out the rubbish, and what’s for supper....people and places and memories often draw a blank now. So I put my hand on his knee while I drive instead.

In the waiting room, after his appointment he makes everyone laugh - they stop what they are doing - reading a magazine, writing a cheque, shuffling papers behind the desk and look at him. Their faces are smiling and the room is suddenly full of light and he looks happy - momentarily - spilling out into brightness.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Watermelon Baby

Mother’s Day

I wrote this on April 12th 2000.

This afternoon
while the sky rained on the garden
we took root in the red earth sofa,
my beautiful niece and I
hugging cushions and the moment.

I read to her
my last poems.
She read me hers.
I wrote of endings
the end of waiting,
of ovaries dying.

She wrote of small berry breasts
and a watermelon tummy
full of her seeds.

So maybe one day I will be a great-aunt
since I won’t be a great mother.

Just a different ending.
Still full of promise.
For both of us.

And 13 years later, snow flakes falling from a lead sky, I sit on  another sofa - my sister's - next to this beautiful niece - with her baby daughter in my arms..... sweet and heavy as a watermelon. Filling me with seeds of joy.