5 things Tuesday 11th

(Yes! It is I! Anna Pickard! Hello! Not dead, etc…)

1) Three weeks after moving in to our new house, the bathroom wall has so many tester patches of paint on it, it might as well be a patchwork quilt. After all these years of renting, the ability to make decisions about what colour rooms should be is harder than I ever expected. I always thought Id be bold and colourful, but no, no, just paralysed by the freedom to choose.

2) It is raining. From my desk in the co-working space, I cant see more than a block for the driving mizzle. This morning, I pondered working out how to put the heating on. Poor do, June. Poor do.

3) I just discovered that Edgar Allan Poe spent some time attending school in a wine bar around the corner from where we lived in Stoke Newington. That certainly would explain a few things: his later death from complications arising from alcoholism, the murderous looking orangutan that used to work as a conductor on the no.73 bus, and the fucking raven that once took up residence in our bathroom and wouldnt stop mumbling nevermore every time anyone went to the toilet.

Admittedly, the wine bar may not actually have been a wine bar at the time he attended school there, but lets just say it was. Lets just SAY.

4) After a week of commuting from New House to our office/creche on the train with his father while I was away working last week, Doozer has strong associations between the choochoo (and when did he ever meet a train that went choo choo?!) and Dada. So this mornings journey was one 25-minute-long string of Dada! Dada? Dada. Choochoo widada. Choochoo. Dada. DADA! He pointed at the train driver and shouted Dada!. He swung around to several different fellow passengers and pointedly asked Dada?, or exclaimed Dada! in an increasingly accusatory tone.

Thats not your dada I said, trying to set strangers minds at rest lest they were standing there trying to remember if wed ever met, let alone doinked. Your dadas gone to London today. I might as well have turned around to everyone and said it straight: We do KNOW who his father is, honestly. He knows, in fact. And its not you, I promise.

5) I was wondering about giving myself a random post title to try and write something every day for the next wee while as an exercise, so went looking around for random post title generators. I found a couple, but since the first suggested posts on this one were Six things I hate about Belize (I can barely think of two), I despise Malaysia (I dont) and Let me tell you about mayonnaise (Why dont we just not, and say we did if anyone asks later?) I have decided against it.

Ill think of something.

And time. Goes by. So slowly.

But mainly, I find, if you put full stops in the middle of sentences for no reason whatsoever.

SOME LISTS

Eight things I have been reading lately

1) Several books on grammar for people who are of the age when they decided that it wasnt worth teaching grammar in British schools. Well, I say several books. Im reading two. And in both of them, Ive got stuck on the chapter on tenses, which I have reread every night for a week. They still dont make sense.

2) The internet. All of it, at least once a day, sometimes twice.

3) Mark Twains Roughing It. Which is delightful, as historical travelogues go (and its still my favourite genre if you cant time travel, it is the next best thing) although it is horrifically racist about American Indians, which may be representative of the age, but by jiminy its hard to read.

4) A book on game design that I meant to read ages ago.

5) Something about how to do parenting without dangling rewards. It is very good, but I cant offer you any incentive to read it because that would be too much like implanting in your mind that the only reason for you to read it would be to please me or to expect reward for doing so, so Ill just leave it there. To be fair I havent finished it yet, so Im not 100% on the exact principles.

6) Food labels. Salt. Calories. Dairy or non-dairy? Does it contain gluten? What about liquid nitrogen, does it contain that? Unicorn protein? Ground-up mesopotamian artefact? Peanuts? Everyone round here is just so picky nowadays.

7) My teenage diaries. I was just packing stuff into a box to go into the loft. And dear heavens, theyre appalling. Part of me says that I should keep hold of them because one day Ill regret it if I dont, but then the other part of me says Really? Because twenty years has already passed, and they are NOT getting any less embarrassing.

8) Train timetables.

9) The Lelony Snicket books. Just because.

10) Plays. Bored of never reading plays any more, I started a play club with several similarly minded friends. Its like a book club, except you dont have to read anything between club meetings, you just decide on what play youre going to read on the night, turn up with a copy (and some wine/food etc), then sit around and read it, swapping parts so everyone gets to read and listen equally. It is not the most academic way to read plays (there are a *fair* amount of silly voices as the night goes on and people try to find ways to distinguish characters/change sex quickly. Oh, and as the wine kicks in, obviously) so you have to only invite people who wont be put out if its not Very Serious, but it is surprisingly amenable to discussion at the same time. It is GOOD. I recommend it.

Ten of the things Doozer now says (or tries to say)

1) CHOOOOOS. (as in Mother, if we are going out, I will need to wear these CHOOOOOS on my feet)

2) CHEEEEEEEZ (as in I dont care what youve been slaving over on that hot stove. Do you by any chance have any wensleydale? or in fact any CHEEEEEEZ?)

3) DATS! DAT! (He calls this insistently up the stairs as I fill the cat bowls. The DATS come running. They care little for proper consonant prononciation)

4) TOST (That adult-sized portion of porridge was nowhere near enough, are you mad? I will require some grilled bread. With marmite, if you have some.)

5) DOH! (Hes a big fan of doors. Hell often proclaim this, gleefully, while swinging one shut in your face).

6) SDTAHHHR (they are in the sdkhhhy, dont you know?)

7) MOR? (with pleading eyes and a single finger held up? Oh go on then. Just ONE more.)

8) STAIR (said with a serious nod, this can mean either upstairs or downstairs, depending on where he believes a banana is most likely to be hiding)

9) Oh. (I have just fed something through this gap in the floorboards. I am now unable to get it back, nor explain to you what it was due to my lack of vocabulary. It might have been a playing card it might have been your credit card. Who can say for sure?

10) THASSEEEEE (A lifetime of walking by it and saying Doozer, can you see the sea? Look, its the sea! has apparently paid off.

Ten things

1) I discovered that Doozers model pig has surprisingly detailed genitalia today. It was quite the thing to discover at 7 oclock on a Sunday morning, I tell you.

2) In the aftermath of this, I discovered that a Tyrannosaurus Rex from the same company (so, one assumes, one dedicated to verisimilitude in all genital areas) has NO genitalia. So thats the question of dinosaur extinction solved, then.

3) I have a blister on my toe.

4) Recently, I have realised why I dont go out to work in public places very much. Its because I pull the faces responding to whatever (or whoever) Im writing as I type.

5) What would be nice would be a holiday. Even a tiny one. I cannot work out how to make this happen.

6) I have two cats curled up, one on each foot. Best slippers EVER.

7) A few nights ago, I ate my first ever chocolate pretzel. I have eaten several others since.

8) I like my work at the moment. I like working. And I like my work.

9) Not all the time, obviously. Im not mad. Also I like my Doozer. I like both. And lots of other things as well.

10) Last weekend, Doozer posted two thirds of a set of jigsaws through gaps in the floorboards. We cant lift the floorboards here, and theres no other way to retrieve them, so, after explaining to him why we dont post things through gaps in the floorboards, and after he went to bed, I found myself carefully posting the other 4 pieces through. If someones going to get them one day, they might as well have the whole set.

Im going to try doing five things every day this week, again. Just for disciplines sake.

These were just some extra things, because I have been quiet so very long…

Wednesday, Wednesday

doo doo, doo do do do…

Actually, now I hear that out loud Im not sure its a song. Not that I do hear it out loud. Even if I wanted to sing something out loud right now, I couldnt. I still have no voice. I open my mouth and vague hisses and peeps and unintelligible whispers emerge.

This is a horrible situation for a shy person. I can just about get through professional and social situations by listening carefully, gauging tone, preparing what I want to say in my head and then saying it out loud at what I believe to be the right point. However, when that process is disrupted by the mouth opening/nothing coming out problem, it all becomes so much worse. Because then everyones staring at you. *shudder*.

So thats been the main identifying factor of the last two days: no voice.

Also:

I ate a tiny dried crab. It was horrific. I realise and accept that there are many people in different parts of the world who would replace horrific with a yummy yummy snack (and they are perfectly correct to think so, all ideas of deliciousness and desirability are, of course, dependent on culture and society and etc etc etc) but for the ten minutes after eating it, I would happily have those people committed, en masse, as they are clearly all certifiably insane. It was like I had a crab mausoleum filled with the desiccated remains of tiny crab ancestors in my mouth, and someone had blown it up with a bomb made of a pinch of salt, a little sugar and a whole tablespoon full of OH LORD, THATS DISGUSTING.

Not entirely sure what the precise laws on right-of-way are in New York City, but am becoming pretty clear on the fact that pedestrians come quite a long way down the chain.

Other stuff and oh now, the baby is crying. No more writing for me.

Some monday things

1) My voice is gone.

2) It is alarming how not-weird it feels living and working in this place for a while. Im not sure why that is I think because its a blend of so many other places Ive lived. But I was expecting it to feel more other than it does.

3) It is time for bed. I am alarmed that I have made it past 10pm tonight. That is insanely late for me at the moment. ROCK AND ROLL.

4) Several times today I had to walk across a large brige with subway trains rumbling across it. Having watched rats running along subway tracks all last week, walking underneath tracks does cause fleeting thoughts that maybe, just maybe, there will be rats that were running along those tracks that will have been thrown loose and sent flying through the air by the passing train, bound to land on my head, any second.

5) Today I renewed my dedication to one day writing a choose your own adventure game. Or book. I wanted to when I was 7, now I actually might have a professional excuse to do it. I will. Yes I will.

7/5: Sunday sunday

Here are my things for sunday (based on the same principle of the ones Ive been doing all week)

1) The vomiting has abated, let general celebration commence, and Doozer is gradually starting to return to eating food. Including, first, bananas, which he has never, ever agreed to eat before.

2) The longer I spend in an apartment that, weirdly, has no sofa, the more fetishistic I get about the greatness of sofas. Sofas are amazing. If you have a sofa and Im sure you do, it is the right and proper thing to do go to your sofa right now and tell it you love it. Sofas are amazing. You can sit on them with people.

Seriously, who has no sofa?

3) I am currently watching the latest episode of The Good Wife. It continues to be one of the most enjoyable, talkable-about TV series My Beloved and I watch together. I feel sad for people who dismiss it because its not on a special channel or thought of as having a female lead, so not as … I dont know, something.

4) Walking into the icy wind in New York, we discovered today, is quite a lot like having razor blades thrown at your face by a penguin. And also up your skirt. Those penguins are bastards.

5) We had hot dogs for dinner again. But they were artisanal hot dogs, so thats probably better. Right? No. Oh, never mind.

Friday things. And then Saturday ones too. Friday and Saturday things.

FRIDAY

1) It was neither a good, nor a bad sandwich day. It was a mostly neutral sandwich day.

2) I had no idea that there were different types of trains running along the line were staying on until I got on an express train by mistake and ended up several miles from where I wanted to be.

3) Doozer, still under the weather, was enchanted by a merry-go-round today. When he is better, we will go on one. Or just buy him a brightly coloured horse with fixed prosthetic legs and a large kebab skewer running through it that means it can only go up and down as some kind of pet. No wait, now Ive said it out loud, it sounds cruel. It all sounds cruel. BOYCOTT MERRY-GO-ROUNDS.

4) Bobbie got shouted at by some bloke in the street for putting the rubbish out in slightly the wrong place. I have been making up cutting remarks and crippling put-downs for this bloke all day. He had better hope he doesnt run into me any time this week, hell be there for HOURS. No one tangles with my family. Not when Im this short of sleep.

5) Things are happening. Im not sure what they are, but I am very bad, sometimes, at being aware of decisions being made and stuff moving on. So there we are. This is me being aware.

And obtuse.

And SATURDAY

1) Went for brunch at the house of two good friends and an adorably tiny dog. Friends Ive known for most of the last ten years, through blogging. As ever, I am happy and grateful for the bloggings.

2) Felt comforted and unbearably patronised by a 12-year-old pediatrician, all at once.

3) Hot dogs are a valid dinner.

4) In a park at the end of a nice walk, we found a large man making balloon sculptures for passing families, apparently out of the goodness of his heart, and a talkative stranger with a child named Walker. Walker is a surname.

5) We passed a laundrette with a very long involved sign that read: WHEN YOU COME HERE YOU ARE HAPPY/WHEN YOU LEAVE HERE YOU ARE SATISFIED. Which at first glance seemed like a large claim, but then, they just seemed so confident about saying it, it was hard to believe it wasnt so. Perhaps it is. I will go in and check for you one day.

4/5: Things of Thursday

(As part of this)

1) After a day of fever, Doozer spent half of yesterday and half of today in 24 hours of vomiting, with sleeping inbetween. Except for the night, of course, when he mainly seemed to be awake. There was one part with some projectile vomiting that meant everybody had to change their pyjamas. No exceptions. I have had better nights.

2) He is ok now. Better than that. He is lovely. I missed the transition between sick and well because I was in work though. That was sad. Still. That he is well is all that matters.

3) Working in an office reminds me of things like the rule of lifts that people will space themselves out evenly to occupy space in a lift. If there are two, they will either pick diagonal corners, or opposite ends of the longest wall, if a third person comes in, they will shift into a triangle. Another person enters, theyll moving into a square. I love it.

4) I had a very disappointing sandwich. In some ways, I guess I could blame myself for picking such a poor sandwich, but that seems needlessly self-flagelatory. So I’m just going to blame everyone else. Pull your socks up, Brooklyn.

5) The subway was full of people (men, mainly) carrying flowers of varying levels of fanciness. Some flowerpots full of pink flowers that already looked half-dead, some bouquets of exotic flowers that looked like theyd been grown on mars specifically for this day. It was both happy and sad.

Im going to make these shorter tomorrow.