3/5: Wednesdays things

(As part of this)

1) After a long night of fevers and not much sleep, we took Doozer to a doctor nearby. He wasnt terribly sick, but his temperature had hit the numbers where youre supposed to see a doctor if you can, and besides: were too far from home to not be cautious. He has a cold, and a bit of an ear infection. Were to continue doing the things we were doing and cuddle him just as much as we were already. This cost $100.

2) When given access to a refrigerator of free fizzy pop, the idea of fizzy pop gets boring quite quickly.

3) I ate a biscuit that was peanut butter and curry flavoured. I liked it.

4) On arriving home, I was greeted by a sloppy kiss, tiny arms tightly clinging round my neck and, after a few minutes, my cupped hand full of vomit. Parenthood: its very swings-and-roundabouty. But mainly swingy.

Or roundbouty.

Whichever is the good one.

5) I am starting to pine for a sofa. When I get home, I am going to walk straight up to my sofa, and shake it warmly by the sofa.

There. Done.

1+2/5: Monday (which isnt today, it was the day before yesterday) and Tuesday (which isnt today either)

I am stealing a brilliant idea from the lovely Non-Working Monkey that, she admits, she stole from Oprah Winfrey Magazine. Lets just take a moment at this point to judge her quietly for reading Oprah Winfrey magazine.

OK, Im finished judging for now. Are you finished?

Dont worry, I can just wait here until you are…

Right. So. The amazing Non-Working Monkey is writing down five things from every day just five moments that are not particularly good, nor bad, just things that happened, and (according to the aforementioned execrably sentimental magazine) can be a reminder that things are good, or bad, but everything just carries on and life is a mixture of them all.

So, being typically unable to break a set, and wanting to be as neat as possible, i am going to start with five moments from yesterday, and then i can feel freer to continue with five things for the rest of the week.

MONDAY. Moments.

(It is worth mentioning that I am in New York for two weeks working, otherwise this makes considerably less sense.)

  1. Walking though snowbanks and frozen puddles in the pouring, pouring rain, realising that neither my shoes nor my coat were waterproof. They might be showerproof, but the thing I was walking through was not a shower. It was a deluge of water from the sky. It was basically like a New York snow globe filled with very cold water being shaken up by an angry giant.
  2. I managed to get on the subway and ride three stops to the stop nearest to where I live without feeling confused or overwhelmed. Or rather, no more confused than normal, and just my regular level of whelmed.
  3. We ate New York style pizza, in Brooklyn. It was not very good. I think we chose poorly. Never mind. This is always more pizza.
  4. I had a first day working with new people in a new office, and I did not drop coffee on anyone or say anything too offensive. I think.
  5. The floor in the brownstone where we are staying is so uneven I feel like I am drunk. Or on a boat. Or drunk on a boat.

Am I meant to remark on whether this means the day was good or bad. I am going to say mainly good. If a little wet and cold. But what could be a more exciting beginning to the day than walking through a new city getting to be like a local (albeit a local with no umbrella) and see how the other inhabitants deal with the pouring rain? (They mainly deal with them with umbrellas, it turns out. So thats a useful local tip).


1) After only three days, tiny Jetlagged Doozer woke up at 5.30am! Which sounds terrible, but its actually when he usually wakes up at home. Which, now I mention it, also sounds pretty terrible. Whatever, its not great, but its better than waking up raring to go at 1.30am and having to get up for a bit of a play.

2) I remembered things about working in an office, like meeting rooms, and conference calls, and meetings. These were not bad things at all. They were just things.

3) At lunchtime, I got myself an insanely expensive sandwich, walked a block from my current office, and sat on my own looking at a very impressive view. It was nice.


4) The apartment where we are staying has no sofa in the living room. It is times like this that I realise how much I like sofas. I like sofas a lot.

5) Walking the thin line between not-quite-tired-enough and suddenly-way-too-tired, I ended up watching two episodes of sitcoms that I had already seen. That would be a good time to read a book. Or go to bed. I did not do either of those things.

And those were some things, on monday and tuesday.

One hour and thirteen minutes

I am sitting at a rented desk space in a big Victorian building. Downstairs, Doozer is in the creche. This is a very clever arrangement. Or it would be, if I actually could think of any work I could do. Not that I dont have work to do, but in my current state of wobbliness, sitting here wondering of Doozer is ok, or whether he is still pulling the sad and abandoned wailing face I saw as the door swung shut, I cannot actually concentrate on any of the pieces of work I have to do.

So I am writing a blog post instead, and drinking coffee. Lots of coffee. In fact, now I think of it, the coffee may not be helping with the concentration issue. My current list of Things I Would Rather Be Doing Than Doing Work goes, in order of attractiveness:

  1. a) Run downstairs, snatch up Doozer, bundle him into my arms and run away home, far from the strangers and the weird open office.

2) write this blog post.

  1. c) get another coffee. Right, got one. I should remove this list item really. No, fuck it, I can always have another-nother coffee.
  2. d) Read everything Ive ever written on my blog and take screengrabs of any particularly good sentences for using on the back of my business cards.
  3. v) See whether I can run straight up the wall if I run at it fast enough. I think I probably can.

6) Thinking about what haircut I should get and where I should get it. Maybe I should get a perm. Are perms still a thing? Ive never had a perm. Maybe I should get one, if theyre still a thing. Ive drunk a lot of coffee.

Daycare is a necessary thing. And a good thing. Im not just telling myself this to feel better about the look of panic on his face this morning as I passed him over to a soft and smiling stranger and started backing out of the door. But soon I will be working most days on something new. And, though I have been cramming work into evenings and shoehorning it into nap times for the last year, this is not a sustainable way of doing things. If nothing else, it would be nice to use evenings for other things. Reading. That is a thing I used to do. Going out and eating dinner. Another very pleasant thing. Knitting. Something I have never successfully conquered, but could do, if I had evenings. See also: Quiltmaking. I have never actually attempted a quilt, but I feel that if I did, having evenings in which to quilt would be something that would be useful. And besides: Doozer is a happy, but sometimes shy little person (very much like his parents, apart from the little bit. We are quite the opposite of little), and being in a creche should, I think, help him feel more secure with other people and about mingling with other babies, etc. Yes.

My back is a bit stiff. This is due to an exercise class I went to yesterday, and nothing to worry about. Shouldnt have mentioned it, really, but my fingers had finished typing the sentence before I thought through whether it was a sentence that needed to be typed or not. Goodness, dont your fingers work fast when they are given the right fuel. I should go and get another coffee. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

38 minutes to go until Im supposed to pick him up. Maybe I should go down a bit early? No, no, I shouldnt, we have paid for three hours, and three hours we will use. Three hours and unlimited use of the coffee-making kettle. I bet they thought that deal would work out in their favour. They were wrong.

What can I tell you? In Brighton, it is raining. That is not merely conjecture, for those who might be new to this blog it is evidence-based fact, and no mistake. I am in Brighton, looking out of the window, and it is raining. There. Anna Pickard: liveblogging the important stuff like weather, since 2001. Did I start this blog in 2001? Crumbs. It seems so long ago. I wonder how much coffee Ive drunk since then? Quite a lot. But not quite enough. Im going to go and get a cup of coffee.

Good lord, but coffee is amazing stuff. Did you know that in 1908, they managed to propel a cow into space just by …


And at this point, the post ended. Not because I died of a caffeine-related heart condition though goodness knows that would have been fair but because, leaving the office space to head into the kitchen and get another coffee (yes yes) I heard a crying coming from downstairs. And you know when it is your small person crying, even though I had always imagined that all screaming babies sounded the same. So I tiptoed down the stairs to check (no idea why, it is an extremely large and well-insulated building, there is no reason why tiptoeing would make any difference, and yet, I did) and though I peeped in the door as surreptitiously as I could, I was spotted, and then there was no disappearing again. With tiny arms wrapped like climbing vines around my neck, I gathered my stuff, and ran home as fast as I could, there to cuddle and kiss the top of his head and mentally swear (erroneously) that I would never let him out of my sight again.

Next time it will be better. This time, it was not fun. I couldnt waste this post, though. It was the only thing I only managed to get done in the time there

Na na na na na na na na na na

Is not, as you might expect, the last verse of Hey Jude. It is the sound of my offspring being a fire engine.

Or rather, the typed version of my version of Doozer being a fire engine. However, it is very new, and very adorable, so I thought I should attempt to share it with you, no matter how poor the written word turned out to be as a medium for the impression.

He is not, I should note, ACTUALLY a fire engine. He is just pretending to be one. Which is lucky, because if he was actually a fire engine, hed be a very bad fire engine. He has no wheels, for a start. No capacity for carrying hoses, and is absolutely terrible at taking 80-foot ladders from place to place.

The siren thing he pretty much has down pat, though.

Apart from a) the inflection in the siren noise (while I definitely have been playing with his fire engine toy with a nee-naw nee-naw noise, his version goes na na na na na na na, which is incorrect, or at least I think it is apart from the fact that…) b) Im pretty sure that fire engines dont actually make that noise any more. Im not sure what noise they do make, mind, but Im pretty sure it isnt that one. I think they may make some kind of weee-oooo-weeee-oooo noise. No idea.

This is not the only new thing, however. The far more exciting new thing is that hes using the na sound to say no.

I had no idea it was going to like this. Watching them learn things day on day, going from not understanding to understanding to trying out to doing to mastering. It is something I need to note down somewhere. Oh look! Blogging!

No means that the conversation I had yesterday while reading a book with large exciting flaps (hey now…) that went:

Anna reads: Is Maisy in the boat?
(Doozer lifts a flap)
Anna reads: Oops! Not here!
(Doozer turns the page)
Anna reads: Is Maisy in the barn?
(Doozer lifts a flap)
Anna reads: Oops! Not here!

(Yes. My life is that repetitive. Honestly, the days just fly…)

The conversation today runs:

Anna reads: Is Maisy in the boat?
Doozer solemnly shakes his head. Makes no move to lift the flap. Nuh he says.
Anna stops. Oh. Well, no, youre right there.
*turns page*
Is Maisy in the…
*shakes head*. Nuh.
Well alrighty then. Shall we read Snaily Whale instead?

And so we do.

Snaily Whale (alright, alright, The Snail and the Whale) is a book that was given to us when he was born, and which has such a catchy rhyme scheme and is so lovely to read out loud that weve read it most days, and occasionally Ill get a couple stuck in my head like a non-musical earworm, and itll lodge there all day, rocking back and forth like a little rhyming torture device. Occasionally I worry that Ill sit down to do some work, and all that will come pouring from my fingers is that couplet, over and over again, filing the page with snaily whaley madness.

Anyway. We used to read it all the time. This evening he wouldnt let me get past the page with a fire engine on because he wanted to talk to it in stilted, lilting, accented Fireenginese. Na na na na na na na! he said. Na na na na na!

So it goes.

First (unfinished) thoughts on an idea about disappearing socks

Thoughts being about a childrens book about the adventures of socks when they disappear, this is just to clear the rubbish rhymes that were in my head about it, which are more parent centred

You may well have noticed, since spawning a person
that most things in life remain much alike
But OTHER life things will suddenly worsen
like socks. Tiny socks. And their impulse to hike.

In the middle of night time, when everyones sleeping,
you sometimes may notice a soft, silent creeping
You might rub your eyes and be not quite believing
But yes, it is true: the socks they are leaving.

Not all of the socks, and not all together
That would be too obvious, socks are not silly
But slowly but surely, and quiet as a feather
Theyre running away, their dreams to fulfilly.
(To be fair, theyre not so much running as hopping
but whatever theyre doing, it is clear theyre not stopping).

One sock, a tiny sock, little and red
who previously used to hide under the bed
has got it in mind she should go into space
so thats where shes gone, a big smile on her face
(for those who dont know where a face might be found
on a sock: just follow the sniggering sound)

Another good sock (a BEST sock: with stripes)
has gone far away to swim with oh cripes!
to swim with the SHARKS this brave socklet has scooted!
(in wee scuba mask and one flipper a-booted.)

(etc etc several other verses about the kind of adventures small socks might want to go on,
Im running for president! Im on a yacht! Ive just been arrested for smuggling pot! possible runaway sock sentiments, thought-train to be continued etc etc)

See? I TOLD you I might be some time…

…Said that bloke who said that he might be some time, opening the tent flap and greeting his fellow polar explorers who, presuming the bloke had been made comprehensively dead by the killer snow outside, had started to eat his ration of biscuits. They quickly looked at each other, tried to pull faces that suggested that under their balaclavas they had the moustaches of mysterious and polite but possibly threatening strangers and said to the colleague attempting to re-enter the little fabric shelter No we is sorry there mate I think you will find you are have the wrong tent? OK no problem thank you have a nice day bye!

He paused.

Really? He said.

Oh yes for definite this is totally a different tent to the one you are looking for. Whichever one that is., they confirmed.

Oh. Oh ok. Thanks then. Ta ra. And backed out of the tent, into the howling icy wind, never to be seen again.

Is how I think that story goes. People pretend it doesnt, in order to preserve the dignity of the explorer classes, but lets face it, alls fair in death and biscuits. It is such stories of stoic barbarism in the face of baked goods that we should remember when the weather reaches extremes of coldness.

It is very cold. Not very cold in the universal scheme of things. Space is very cold. Siberia is very cold. Most freezers are very cold (although not my freezer, but that is because the seal is rubbish and it keeps swinging open, though I really dont want that one case to undermine my point).

The UK at this time of year is not cold, in comparison to those other cold things, and quite cold, in comparison to how it is the rest of the year, and very cold, in comparison to, say, the sahara.

The Sahara during the day, that is. The Sahara at night is actually pretty cold.

I should have picked a different example of hot, really.

Anyway: given how the British react to it and in particular the British public transportation companies you would imagine that this was, in fact, the coldest place on earth. Instead, it is just a bit cold.

The main way I know this is because it has been snowing all day, but no polar bears have so far wandered past my window. You can only imagine how disappointed I am by this fact. I am also considering that maybe, just maybe, we should hang the expense and actually buy something other than a lightweight summer duvet. Or at least I *think* thats what we have under those half-dozen throws.

Basically: weather. What else to we British people talk about when we want to open a conversation and have no idea what else to say?

What else has been going on? Well, for me: mainly, working (and also spending a considerable amount of time chasing work, like a moth chasing a thing that moths chase not a flame, because that would mean that I was chasing a job that was eventually going to kill me by setting my tiny hairy body on fire, wings first, and frankly thats not a job Im looking for chasing something moths like that isnt a flame. Moth-treats. Mothbars. Mothdrops. That kind of thing), looking after a baby, and, apparently, eating in my sleep, because I suddenly discover Ive exploded out of all my clothes again and need to do something about it. STAT.

I like saying stat. Sometimes I consider retraining as an emergency room surgeon, just so I can say stat in a proper context. Then again, that would distract from my idea of retraining as a lawyer (in New York), in the belief that having seen every single episode ever made of Law Order, I could basically pass The Bar right now without even trying.

Anyway. So Im now doing all manner of exercise, and the worky things, and the baby things.

Doozer is fine. I dont talk about him much here because Ive never quite worked out how to handle the public/private balance of that. I save most of my writing about him for emails sent to him, to an account I opened before his birth. Ill give them to him one day or the password to the account but whether hell care about them when I do, I have no idea. I like to tell him about the things hes doing, liking, trying to achieve as theyre happening, whether they have any lasting value as pieces of writing or not. It feels as real and happy and easily communicative to me as blogging always did.

Id like to find a way to talk about him in public that didnt feel too intrusive, though. Or to talk about motherhood, which is lots of things, and none of the things I was expecting, all at once.

I always feel aware that it is a life experience that people moan about having to read about on blogs, facebook accounts, twitter etc mommy-blogs are shunned, shut up about your baby threads run rife on facebook, and frankly, I dont want to add to that. BUT but but but. It is just a life experience, like any other. And I have to sit and watch everyones HILARIOUS pictures of their drunken weekend shenanigans flittering through my filters and if thats allowed, then why not talk about the life experience that may end up being one of the biggest of my life? And certainly the thing that takes up most of my time, at the moment?

Maybe. Maybe I find a way. A nice, non-intrusive, fair-to-him way. We will see. We will see. I really miss blogging.

I miss rambling in an open wordpress window, lets face it. I honestly should just do it more often for the sake of keeping my fingers warm.

ANYWAY. There we are:

  1. a) it is cold
  2. b) but not that cold

3) I have been eating too many mothdrops, but at least have some work coming out of it.

  1. iv) And a new diet and exercise regime, which I am loving JUST as much as the last diet and exercise regime (and the one before that, and the one before that, and the one before the one before the one before).
  2. e) Everything is lovely.

Everything is always lovely. Even if you dont have any polar bears wandering past your window. And perhaps even BECAUSE you dont.

How are you?

What what YEAR is it?

Yesterday, we went to the zoo. We are in San Francisco (for a couple of weeks), so we went to San Francisco Zoo (it seemed to make the most sense, any other zoo would probably be a little out of the way).

There were lions, and tigers AND bears (oh my), and also otters and meerkats and koalas, but no tapirs, because the tapir died (sad story, we may come back to that later). These, however, are not the point of my story.

The point of my story is this: at some point during our visit (just before the end, if it is important to the story. Im not sure it is, but I have included it now, so it seems more trouble than it is worth to go back and remove all mention of it) I went to the toilet. There was nothing particularly interesting or unusual about the toilet. It was a clean, well-functioning public facility with around a dozen stalls, a dozen sinks, some paper hand towels and some baby changing equipment. Nothing unusual there. There was nothing unusual about the way I used the toilet either (I know you were wondering), and certainly no explosion of lights or ear-shattering WHOOOOOSH! noise as I flushed the toilet. This will become important in a minute. No one else was in the building. It was a quiet day at the zoo. This may not be unusual, but felt somewhat eerie.

It was as I left the building that something unusual happened. I had washed my hands that isnt unusual and, as I stepped out into the sunlight, cool air against my still-damp fingers, I felt a strange tingle, like I had, in passing through the restroom door, passed through a portal that had thrown me through time. Back, forward, I had no idea. Whatever the case, I had a strong feeling that I had passed through some kind of slip in the space/time continuum. (SPOILER: I hadnt. But that is not the point right now).

There seemed to be very few people around. And those that were were wearing really unflattering jeans. Was it the mid-nineties? Had a timetravelled back 15 years? Or five years into the future, where people were wearing 90s-style jeans as some kind of ironic nostalgic homage? Or were these just tourists from middle-America, where these were the newest latest styles, and I was merely judging them with my cutting edge european sensibilities? Who could say?

I walked faster. If this was the present time, My Beloved and Doozer would be waiting in the car park for me like nothing had happened (SPOILER: It hadnt. But lets not lose the flow of the story right now). But if I had time travelled, then where would they be? If it was the past, say five years ago (I was passing someone with a haircut from around 2005 in the queue for tickets, I almost stopped and asked them who the president was right now, but decided they looked like the kind that might punch you if you did). If it WAS 2005, my Beloved might be back in London, or in Brighton. Doozer wouldnt be born yet. If it was actually 2020, then both of them might be elsewhere, reminiscing about the day that Mama disappeared from San Francisco Zoo.

Either way, I wasnt sure if I had my bus fare back into town.

The feeling became stronger, by the time i reached the car park I was almost running. Well, walking slightly faster, anyway.

But there they were. just like nothing had happened. Which it hadnt.

Oh! Hell, I have to go and feed Doozer his lunch. Anyway: point is: yesterday should go down in history as the Day I Did Not Time Travel (But Kind of Felt as if I Might Have Done. But Hadnt).

Edited to add: it has just been suggested to me on twitter that it is perfectly possible that I might have time travelled on the way INTO the restroom, and then again on the way OUT, causing the weird feeling but explaining the complete apparent lack of actual time shift. This explains everything. I have urinated in the future, people (or possibly the past), people. You can be in awe now.

(Also: Hello blog, I have missed you.)