Well there you go. This is the five-hundredth post. There are six thousand comments in all as I type. As for spam, 9,384 have been caught by my spam filter. That’s a lot of words. Mine and others. Some of the words are better than others. Without doubt.
While you are reading this I am off at work. Doing the other thing I do. The other me. Well one of me anyway. Then again you could be reading this while I am home, cooking a meal, nagging about homework, or faffing on twitter. Perhaps I am drinking gin. What would a 500th post be without gin?
So here I am at post five hundred. Here we are. Some of you have been here from the start. Others have come and gone along the way.
What I’m about to say is not startling. No revolutionary statements. But true nonetheless.
Blogging has given me voice. Granted I had one before, sometimes though it got lost. This little pocket of the internet gave me the nudge I needed to speak my words. More than that it gave me friends and a community. Ah, those old clichéd chestnuts.
Clichéd yes, but true all the same. Through this blog I found friends living just down the road. People I can call on, drop in on, lean on. People who I know can do the same to me. It also gave me friends across the country. People who when we meet natter like old friends. People who get the need to write things out, and over share on the odd occasion. People who don’t think it odd to take photos of inane objects, or to tweet while out and about.
Some days words have tumbled out. Spilt across the page mixed with hot heavy tears. I have asked for help, sought out comfort. Offered thoughts to those in need. I have met people I would not have otherwise.
I have learnt to rage quietly. Use words with caution and economy. I carry my heart on my sleeve. But some days I wrap it tightly and keep it quiet. Not everything is for public consumption. Not all stories are mine alone for the telling. There are days when subtext is more present than text. Days when words sit heavy and will not out. Days when self doubt slithers. This blog gave me back my running legs. Gave me words and a will to write. Taught me that sometimes the best thing is to say nothing at all.
And because this is my 500th post, I am going to keep it at five hundred words. I will drink my celebratory gin. Raise my glass and think of where I have been and where I am going. I will thank my little blog for the connections and friendships, the laughter and tears. I will end with a song. As is my wont. And then, when tomorrow comes I will post again. Because that, after all is what it’s all about.
In a day of highs and lows I have decided to dwell on the highs.
This week marks the celebration of the Hindi festival Diwali, The Festival of Lights.
This afternoon if you glanced through the windows of the kinder, you would have seen a mother joyfully dancing with her daughter, teaching the rest of the children and staff how to Bollywood dance. You would have seen two bent heads, as Indian mothers painted henna on hands. You would have seen feasting on home cooked food. Rice, vegetables and delicious sweets.
There were balloons, streamers and candles. There was laughter, dance and song. Red, glowing faces, from the exertion of dancing to Jai Ho.
There was a room filled with joy.
This is the stuff of life people. This is the stuff of life.
Today I have a guest posting on the blog. Mrs CC and I met on twitter and were united by our common love of gin. Now we are ladies that lunch. Well, if you call hastily eating when we can find mutual free time, in between trying to work, ferry children and remembering to buy more gin. Take it away Mrs CC.
I am not a fan of the greys, sparkling in the sunshine, reminding me of my age.
Yesterday I took myself off for a couple of hours to spend time in the company of my smart, funny, brutally honest hairdressers, and get my hair done.
While we rabbited away, my eye was drawn two women entering the salon together.
Well, one woman really. She looked shy and nervous, but her hair. Oh her hair.
At the roots it was the colour of pearls, then it darkened to a shimmering silver and flowed out to pewter at the ends. And it was curly. Nicole Kidman, pre-Tom, spiral curls, fanning out to her shoulders. It was both ethereal and striking.
With her was a slim, blond woman. They both smiled at the hairdresser and then I heard the blond woman speak.
“I’m thinking a base colour all over and then some highlights”.
It took me a second to realise that she was talking to the hairdresser about her silver-haired friend who was being shown to the chair.
My hairdresser noticed me look and explained that the women were sisters. The blonde sister had decided that her grey-haired sibling was looking ‘old’ so had booked a hair appointment, massage and manicure as a birthday treat.
I couldn’t stop looking over as the quiet sister sat calmly while her sister and the hairdresser talked over her head.
It made me unexpectedly sad.
Did the silver goddess want to colour her hair? Did she mind being given a makeover?
I desperately wanted to ask her.
As my hair was rinsed I studied her more closely. She looked down while colour was painted through her glorious silver hair. Her face was flushed and she had a resigned look on her face.
‘Happy birthday’ I whispered.
Mrs CC is trying to find her bliss while raising her two boys (one with Asperger’s and one without) and driving her husband to distraction. She is three parts woman. One part gin. Mrs CC blogs at Present Imperfection and can be found on twitter here.
This morning the alarm was set for 3am. The Blue Eyed Boy and I were in the car and driving to the city by three thirty.
Heavy rain fell relentlessly. Wipers worked furiously to clear the windscreen.
He wondered as we drove if the other cars going our way were also heading to the service. I imagined many were.
As the clock turned to four we parked. A rustle of rain coats, hats and scarves. Last sips of warm milo and tea from travel mugs. A walk, at quick pace through a sleepy city. Soft trudging on wet gravel; low voices carrying muffled conversations under yellow street lamps to stand and wait for the dawn.
A stranger standing near by offered her blanket to the blue eyed one. Asked him why he came. A conversation was struck between us as the crowd gathered, the wind whipped and rain fell.
Why would we do that? Stand in the cold wet weather to wait. Hands and feet going numb.
We did not fight.
We did not go.
If anything my leaning is towards pacifism.
But stand and wait I did. With my Blue Eyed Boy and a woman whose name I don’t know. Under a shared umbrella and blanket.
‘I like to come here,’ she offered, ‘because it’s a shrine of rembrance. Not a war memorial’.
‘The name,’ she said, ‘makes a difference to me.’
I thought on my own reasons for going. Other than because it’s something I do with my boy. Something I know we will continue to do as the years pass by. Is it out of respect? Out of pride? I know it is not patriotism. A word whose meaning sits uncomfortably with me.
Surely, the people who served, and those who felt their loss deserve to be remembered. Deserve to have their stories told; as is the case each year at the Shrine of Remembrance. Surely, politics aside, those deployed now deserve respect no matter personal feelings on war.
So I go to remember. To respect. To let people, such as the mother and sister there today who’s son and brother died last year in Afghanistan, know that their loss is felt. Their son, their brother remembered. His name ringing out through the rain as I stood close to my son. A piece of me going out to them. I would want nothing less for my own child.
And that for me is why I go. Shared time with my son, who will never go to war. Shared time with strangers and a remembrance that war past and present may not be my way but it is there none the less. And that though I may not understand wars, may not believe they are the answer, I can stand in the rain and remember those who went. I can stand as my feet freeze and listen. I can put aside my politics and share in the silent understanding that no war is ever wanted, but come they did, come they do and many die as a result. Many more bare scars seen and unseen. And because at the end of the day, the words often spoke this day ring true.