So for those of you who saw my Twitter feed or Facebook over the weekend, you’ll have caught up with my not-so-exciting news. I fell over during roller derby training on Thursday night (I wasn’t even skating, I was just turning around to listen to our coach and my feet got in a tangle) and I managed to break my ankle in two places and dislocate it at the same time.
Here’s my leg, just about to go to surgery (I went along for the ride)
Unfortunately when we got to the operating theatre it turned out that my ankle was too swollen to operate on so I’m now on total bed rest, with my foot raised at all times, waiting for the swelling to come back down. When it does – hopefully later this week – I’ll be back to surgery for something called an O.R.I.F. which is a posh way of saying they’re going to put a whole load of pins, a metal plate and some screws in my ankle to hold it all together. Ouch. And then I can’t drive for three months, or put any weight on it, or basically do anything. All of which is a bit difficult for the only driver in the household – with a school run of 12 miles a day – and for someone who doesn’t sit still for more than five minutes I have NO idea what to do with my time. Apart from write and potter online or learn to crochet properly. And learn how to be a mother from a fixed point. I suspect it might actually be quite good for me, in some ways.
So I’ll be here. Not gardening (but hopefully directing the gardening from a chair) and not doing anything too physical. So if you’d like to share with me your tips for dealing with boredom, or your favourite blogs to visit, or anything else at all – please do!
Over on Tara’s blog it’s week 140 of The Gallery and the theme is ‘Self Portrait’.
I’m mostly behind the camera, partly because I like taking photographs and also because as soon as anyone points a camera at me I tend to pull a ridiculous face, like a five year old.
I took this one myself. I turned 40 this January and decided this was the year I was going to do things – to publish the book, to take up roller derby. It’s the first of May today, five months into my year of being brave. I suppose some people would consider putting an untouched photograph of myself with no make up to be brave, but I happen to like being 40. My mum went on a gap year at 46 and maintains her 40s were her favourite decade. I’m inclined to agree with her. This article about turning 60 says it all for me. I like getting older. I actually like myself more now than I ever have. I don’t take any crap, I’m brave enough to do things that scare me, and I know when to walk away (even if that does mean disappearing to bed halfway through a night out because I’m exhausted by midnight).
This week I’m madly decluttering the house. This is an annual thing for me and always seems to be quite therapeutic, because it reminds me that we don’t need all the mountains of stuff we carry around. With four children living here, and another two some of the time, there’s a lot of stuff which accumulates in corners. I’m recycling, giving things to charity, and clearing my head at the same time.
I’m going to London tomorrow with a girlfriend for a 24 hour child free break.
I’m also failing TERRIBLY on my post-every-day mission. So here’s a little update.
Given that I look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards and have out of control eyebrows, I thought perhaps I should try and make an effort to make myself a bit respectable. There’s a gorgeous day spa near our house, so I pootled in, hair unbrushed, no make up on, and managed to bag a last minute appointment.
The spa is breathtakingly beautiful. Set in an old synagogue, it’s all stained glass windows and floaty music and candles.
The beauty therapist opened the door to a gorgeous treatment room.
Therapist: “If you can just take off your top, and slip your bra straps off your shoulders. I’ll step out.”
Me: *removes top, slips bra straps off shoulders, stands awkwardly in room*
Therapist (on returning to room): “Er, if you could just get onto the bed?”
Therapist leaves room.
Me: *gets onto bed thing in manner of person at doctor, wondering about shoes on covers*
Me: (Feeling like a complete moron) “Gosh I feel a bit awkward with my shoes on this nice blankety thing.”
Therapist: (looking like she’s wondering if there’s a secret camera in the room)
“Er, if you could just slip your shoes off and pop under the cover? I’ll give you a moment.”
Me: *Lies down on bed in awkward manner, with cover half over my body in the hope that if it’s not right it’ll look like it just sort of fell there*
Therapist: (slightly exasperated but hiding it well) “We’ll just” (pulls cover up over my chest) “cover you up. Have you had a facial before?”
Me: (gabbling) “Gosh yes heaps of times. Well, once. My sister’s a beauty therapist you know she worked for Virgin as cabin crew and now she works for Aveda which is nice because I get lovely presents. Have you tried Aveda stuff? It’s lovely.”
Therapist: “If you could just lie back and close your…(I swear she was thinking mouth) eyes.”
Me: (three seconds later) *BIG SNORTY SNORE*
Therapist: “All finished. We’ll just do your eyebrows…”
Next stop nail salon. I was wearing the remains of last week’s dark purple nail varnish and my fingernails were filthy. Oh, and I have a giant festering cut on my thumb from a roller derby fall.
Nail bar man: “You’ve never had gel nails? Ooh, this is going to change your life!”
Me: “Er. Right.”
Nail bar man: *files fingernails with alarming machine*
Me: (inwardly) “Eek”
Nail bar man: *shaking my hand in most unrelaxing manner* “Relax your hands!”
Me: “I didn’t know they were tense!”
Nail bar man: “RELAX YOUR HANDS”
Me: (Trying to think relaxing thoughts) “I’m trying.”
Repeat x 35
Lovely nails completed.
Nail bar man: “You see! Life is transformed, yes?”
Me: “Can I get back to you on that in a couple of weeks?”
I can’t help thinking some of us are designed to be low maintenance.
I was reclining in my study this morning, listening to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 and drinking some coffee when the doorbell rang. The delivery man stood on the doorstep, box in hand.
Actually that’s a big lie. I was standing in the hall half dressed, wondering where the hell my jeans had gone and having just yelled at one of the children. I had to shout upstairs for someone to get the door because I don’t think the delivery man needs that sort of trauma at 10am on a Thursday.
So anyway, in the time-honoured family tradition of unboxing videos (more often scooters and computer games round here) I bring you the Sealed with a Kiss debut, filmed by Archie.
(the link, for those of you with awkward laptops like mine, is here)
We decided that it’d be nice to have a photo of me with the books, like a Proper Writer. If I tell you these are the best of the bunch, that’s probably all you need to know. I pull so many faces and talk so much that it’s impossible to get a picture of me.
I can actually hear my mother telling me to stop being silly.
I hate hate HATE having my photo taken. I was once interviewed for a newspaper article and the photographer took 1500 photographs in one afternoon. I had my eyes closed or my mouth open in every single one.
Look at that. One photo where I don’t look like a complete lunatic and actually look like a proper grown up writer. A bit of a tired one, mind you. Pass the coffee…
And look: proof that I’ve been a disaster in front of the camera for a very long time.
The exciting bit. To win a copy of Sealed with a Kiss with anything you want written inside (not the sequel, before someone suggests that) just leave a comment below telling me your favourite comfort reading.
I’m giving away one copy in the UK, and one overseas, so if you can mention where you live, that’d be lovely, too.
terms and conditions here
The US edition is up on Amazon (you can buy it or the Kindle version here), The UK version of Sealed with a Kiss is available here via Evertype. Meanwhile you can buy it on UK Kindle here (still only 77p this weekend!).
Congratulations to Inheritance Ade and Joyce from Alabama! Hooray. I’ll be in touch tomorrow to find out your addresses and what you’d like written in your signed copy.
I warn you now, this is a rambly one. You need tea, or gin, and possibly something else to read instead.
I was chatting to blogging friend Eva Keogan, aka Nixdminx yesterday about her plans for a 30 day life overhaul. It’s spring (nobody told the weather, but it is spring in theory) and it’s time for starting afresh. So I’m joining her with a mission to blog every day this month and try and make some changes.
I spent a long time making internet friends because I’m an introvert. I’ve got internet friends going back 15 years. (Hello, my name is Rachael Lucas, and I’m a geek.)
The thing about being an introvert is that I want to engage with people. But simultaneously, I want them to shut up and go away. I like to be able to put you lot down and go and have a bath and know you’ll still be there when I get back. I’m a writer so I have to write stuff down: it’s how I process things. This means I quite often write stuff, press publish on here then hide in the bedroom, terrified to look at the blog because I can’t believe I’ve been so open.
What I love about this world of blogging is the introverts who pour it all out here and then run off, feeling sick. They do it, and then readers say “You too? I thought I was the only one” and the sharing, the communal feeling of we-can-do-this is beautiful to behold.
I don’t do religion at all. But after years of evangelistic atheism I found myself absorbed in the gorgeous world of Momastery. It’d be easy to take the usual slightly mocking British approach to the God-stuff part of Glennon’s blog, but you’d be missing SO much. Thousands of women from all over the world, holding hands and being brave.
Momastery is a place to practice living bigger, bolder, and truer on this Earth. It’s a place to practice disagreeing with love and respect. It’s a place to remember what you already know: that Love Wins and that We Can Do Hard Things.
“Here’s my hunch: nobody’s secure, and nobody feels like she completely belongs. Those insecurities are just job hazards of being human. But some people dance anyway, and those people have more fun. On my deathbed, I’m not gong to wish I had danced like JLo; I’m just going to wish I had danced more.”
I’m resolving to be braver. To write more, celebrate success, be positive, support my friends. Do hard things. Starting here.