Rechercher dans ce blog

samedi 9 janvier 2010

Things can only get better, right?

Pretty all round crappy start to 2010, it has to be said...

Yeah, of course, money is still my number 1 worry, but that's not really what I'm talking about...

Put it this way: there are 8 flats in my building, one of which is only occupied about 3 months of the year (that's the one directly above us). The top floor flats each have one single lady (one aged 46, one aged 83). On the next floor down, a just-retired-but-very-dynamic couple and an out of work graduate. Next floor down, a youngish couple and their 18-month-old son and the aforementioned not-often-occupied flat. And on the ground floor, an elderly couple (late 70s) and us, a couple with 2 young girls. So, that makes 14 inhabitants (plus the elderly-ish lady who comes 3 months a year). Well. Since 2010 started, two of those inhabitants have died. Spooky, or what?

The first was the 77-year-old man on our (ground floor) landing. He was in great shape for the first half of the year. He and his wife went away (as every year) all summer to their house in the country. When they came back in September, he apparently had "back problems" and looked like he'd aged about 15 years. He got steadily worse, but it really did seem to be back-related - he was in good shape apart from walking and stuff. He was scheduled for surgery on 30/12 but went for the pre-op blood tests in mid-December. They discovered leukaemia. And he went downhill from there, dying on 2 January. Swift and relatively painless for him, so we've been told, but tough on his family. The funeral service was on Wednesday, the only really beautiful day we've had here since we came home.

The other was the 46-year-old lady on the top floor. She'd been a wreck for a few years - colorectal cancer, multiple operations (a few of which were seriously botched), long-standing anorexia and depression, multiple suicide attempts. But she was a lovely person, really kind and the girls loved her. She tried to kill herself for the umpteenth time in early December and was hospitalised, first here, then in Toulouse to be nearer her family (such as it is). She spent Christmas with her brother and his wife in Albi, but drank hydrochloric acid on Christmas day, fell into a coma and died last night.

Holy crap. What a way to die. I hope she's found peace at last, wherever she is.

Surely, surely things can only get better now? Please don't say bad news comes in threes - I'm freaking out badly enough as it is...

God speed, Mr B, and God speed, sweet, sweet S...

Here's to a brighter future.

samedi 2 janvier 2010

The long one

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

It's been a busy couple of weeks, I can tell you. We somehow managed to fly from and to just about the only airports in the western world still operating on 20/12 (flew from Girona in Spain to Birmingham in England and then Edinburgh in Scotland - most of France was closed (Paris, Lyon...), most English airports too, and most Scottish too. And Edinburgh airport closed the next day...) and reached a snowy Scotland.

I haven't seen so much snow since 1996 in Lyon! Of course, it meant we couldn't do very much - icy roads, doubts about buses home and so on, but the girls had fun in the snow and my cousins invited us to their fabulous house so they could go sledging, make snowmen, have snowball fights and stuff.

Christmas was good. Lots of presents (though not for me - I received very little, in fact, but don't really mind. No, really!), lots of fun and games. D and my dad got on fine, no arguments for once.

And my angel, my sweet girl, my baby, C, turned 8. How did that happen? She seems so grown up, so big. But still my baby girl. Oh, I love her so much! But 8! Holy cow... adolescence is looming large...

L was very well behaved, too. She loved her Lego pirate stuff, and she loved the Tinkerbell costume my dad bought her, and she loved the snow and my cousins' cat Mack. She was cute as a button and I was very proud of her!

We came home avoiding all the bad weather again - it was -16°C when we left my dad's house on Tuesday morning, +17°C when we arrived in Girona the next day (we spent the afternoon and night in Birmingham - had fun at the hotel, at the great science museum ThinkTank, at an Indian restaurant...) - and were delighted to get home to my sweet Tom, who was in great shape thanks to our lovely neighbour.

We spent New Year's Eve afternoon shopping in a packed and decimated Carrefour, then the evening itself quietly at a friend's house (just an English friend and her 8-year-old daughter). We chatted in a quiet and civilised manner, the three girls dressed up and played beautifully together till after 1 in the morning!

And there you have it. I've spent New Year's Day a) in bed till lunchtime b) out in the "cold" (why does the cold here seem so much colder than in Scotland?) with the girls as they rode their bikes and c) working. Of course. Shitloads to do, as usual, so I end up working on 1st Jan! Grrrrrrr

And now, in honour of the title of this post, I'm repeating Linda's questionnaire (as I did last year)! Unsurprisingly, many of the answers are the same as last year - talk about stuck in a rut!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Wrote what I suppose you could call a "novel", though I have serious doubts about it and am not sure how much further (if any further) I'll be going with it...

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Never really make any serious resolutions because I seem to be pathologically devoid of any self-discipline

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not really close, but yes, I know a few people who had babies this year, mainly mothers at the girls' (Catholic) school.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not really, but people I know (and have known all my life) died unexpectedly, it's just that they weren't particularly close to me

5. What countries did you visit?
England, Scotland, Spain (briefly three times)

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Less money worries

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No particular dates stand out - this hasn't been a very memorable year

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Writing the aforementioned novel

9. What was your biggest failure?
Putting on so much weight from eating so much crap

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really (thankfully)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our "new" car - a turquoise blue Renault Scenic II. Yeah, it's put us horribly into debt but it's a cool car, a car that looks good and that WORKS!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Obama, for pushing his healthcare reform through

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My MIL on (many) occasions (not all the time, I swear, but a lot lately)

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills and paying off debt (mine and D's)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Not much - 2009 wasn't, as I said above, a particularly memorable year

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Nothing jumps to mind, though C has recently "discovered" "High School Musical" so we've been hearing a fair amount of that. Oh, and the various religious "songs" that the girls come back with from school...

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? About the same
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter (unfortunately)
c) richer or poorer? Poorer, I guess (more in debt, anyway)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating crap

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my dad's house in Scotland, lots of snow, very cold, very icy. A good Christmas, even if we couldn't get out and about very much!

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Don't really watch TV

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Malcolm Pryce - "Aberystwyth mon amour". Daft but hilarious

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I think I'm too old for this question!

26. What did you want and get?
The aforementioned Malcolm Pryce book, plus its sequel "Last tango in Aberystwyth"

27. What did you want and not get?
Body Shop eau de toilette, Nigella Lawson cook book (can you believe I was hoping for the same things this Christmas - and didn't get them again?!)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Our friends, P, S and their son, T came to lunch, then D organised for other friends to drop round all afternoon. Nothing wild, but it was nice. I turned 40, God help me

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not having to worry about money all the time

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
I think I look pretty cool but no one else sees it that way + sporting the muffin top

32. What kept you sane?
Blogging, getting time on my own and my fantasies

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Johnny Depp, always and ever

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Obama's health care reform (even if I'm not American)

35. Who did you miss?
My friends, J and M in England

36. Who was the best new person you met?
One of the mothers in the PTA at the girls' new school (same answer as last year, but I'm not talking about the same one!)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
I'm getting older (and old, as far as most people are concerned) and should try and embrace it rather than just freak out

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Like Linda, I'm going to go for a simple quote for this: "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" because really, things haven't changed much in a year - my life is still dominated by worrying about money, about D not having work, about me being fat and eating crap...

Of course, I haven't really made any resolutions this year, but if I did, it would be "get my life in order" - get fitter, get tidier, get better hours, work more efficiently, save money, earn money, pay off debt, do my accounts...

A tall order, of course, but I'm giving myself a year to get things in motion.

Happy 2010 to you all!