So .. THIS is football ?

Yankees Win!!!  Baseball is totally my sport and the day that my team clinches the AL East Division Championship, I am one happy lady. Bring on October baseball I can not wait!

But I have a confession to make: as Mariano Rivera was inducing the final out that lead to a series win – a sweep over the Red Sox and a division title – I wasn’t even watching because I was far too busy trying to wrap my head around quarters, downs, penalties, field goals and wide receivers… whatever they are. Yes I am trying to understand the game you guys across the pound call football.  So, as my baseball boys were pouring champagne,  I was watching the NFL battle between the Chicago Bears and a team from Seattle that I believe are called the Seahawks.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I just enjoy listening to American commentary on sport.  I don’t know if is the accents, the enthusiasm or what, but I’m entertained even when I have in all honesty no clue whatsoever whats happening and if is good or bad for the team I’ve randomly decided to root for. Today, that was the Bears because, well, I’ve seen Soldier Field, bizarre building that it is. I’ve been in a car watching the vast numbers of people making their way to a preseason game in the rain. And, well, honestly… it came down to the fact that I prefer the orange and white of those Bears to the team who’s alternate jersey was so bright lime green that I was reaching for my shades. No no no… I am not disrespecting the Seahawks. OK before you go and get all mad at me internets, remember I have NO knowledge of this game, its rules or the teams. It’s not like I have allegiances. I just find sport holds my attention more if I can find a way to care about the outcome of the game, ok? That being said, my initial reasons to root for the Yankees were equally … random… so you never know.

Let’s talk about color for a second. NFL football is so colorful and apparently they actually wax those helmets to get them so shinny, you know! The game looks great. the crowd looks great. People really go all out for this sport. So much fanfare, passion and pageantry; it’s thrilling.  This over the top fun may be a reason for some Brits to be put off and I have to admit to finding the whole thing bordering on silly, but it draws me in because it’s utterly American and looks like one hell of a party. Did I mention the NOISE? Those crowds are bigger, louder than anything I’ve ever seen.  It’s mind blowing.

So, some observations:

This game will be a lot more enthralling once I actually can remember/understand the rules and follow the play, but I really enjoyed it and that makes me want to learn more.

These guys are HUGE. No, I mean HAAYOGE. Check out those guns, ladies. Yeah they kind of scare me a lil bit.

Anyone… aherm KM… who thinks that this game is just a pussy’s version of rugby… HAVE you seen it? It’s brutal. More than once I was all OOO OUCH… AIIIII … OW OW OWWW and hiding behind my hands while watching these gargantuan men take each other to the deck by any means necessary. Brutal, I tell you. BRUTAL.

There isn’t really a game over here in the UK that has this type of format with separate offense and defense sides of one team. It’s so strategic, it really is like a general and his troops fighting a battle. But I find that the game has a lot of stoppage time.  It kind of disrupts the flow of the things. I could see why this would irritate especially since I don’t yet understand the need for all this stopping and whistle blowing.

I never knew before how much I could enjoy watching guys slam/smash into each other HARD. RAAAWR … mmhumm turns me on a little bit and THAT is why I may have been hiding my face but I was always peeking through my fingers 😛

There appears to be less scratching, spitting, rearranging the furniture on camera with this game, but the gap is clearly filled by all the shots of football player asses in tight lycra. I seem to spend a lot of time looking at guy’s backsides whether I want to or not. Is this normal?

Gotta say a thank you here to Gadget Guy.  He was incredibly understanding, answering all the bazzillions of questions during the game. I know nothing and I want to know EVERYTHING and I understand how irritating it is when you’re trying to watch a game, to have this nagging female voice in your ear who just doesn’t get it. He’s a patient man.

The Bears won.  25-19 YAY!

… There’s a game next week right!???

Ali xX

Road block.

Usually I love to receive post letters, parcels, postcards… and today I thought I was doubly lucky. The two items that KM woke me up with this morning looked nothing like bills, so I ripped open the envelops with a little to much gusto and overflow of curiosity… and that’s when I knew today was one of those days.  Uuugh bite me Saturday. I mean, I expect this kind of behavior out of Monday but on a weekend for real?

I will receive no financial help with my tuition fees for college despite being on a very low income because I already hold a higher qualification (BA in Drama and English and clearly not going to help me chase this midwifery dream).  There is nothing they can do for me. So what were a few hundered pounds that I was struggling to find is now a full wack bill for around a grand and I am – to put it politely – screwed.

There is no way I can find that type of money before the enrollment deadline in mid October. No way. I need to call on Monday and find out how much exactly I owe. I need to figure out if there are any payment by installment options. The thing I dread most of all: I may have to go cap in hand to my mother and ask for help, which at 27 is embarrassing and makes me feel pretty worthless and I do believe I would feel that way even if I was close to her which I’m not. I don’t hold out much hope that the humiliation will keep me in college but at this point I’m grasping at straws anyway so what the hell. Keep your fingers crossed for me.  By the end of the week I’ll either be out of college or utterly flat broke for the rest of the year :S

And then we come to the second item: a letter from the Women’s Hospital where I am trying to volunteer to say that they have not received the required references yet they were requested back on the 19 of August and I have already chased both of them more than once. I have till the 16th to get the references back or the hospital will close my application to volunteer. So, of course, I got right on the phone to find out exactly what was needed from me  only to realize after leaving an answer phone message that today is Saturday and the office is closed.. Cue me feeling stupid.

Volunteering is an entry requirement for my university choices and without it… well I may as well give up on finding those fees.  There’s a good chance I’ll be financially crippled for a year only to fail to gain a place. I have got to make my application as strong as I can.  It’s so incredibly frustrating that I have done everything required of me and it looks like I’m going to fall at the last hurdle. It’s go big or go home time for me.

I feel like things have fallen apart today, my hands are tied till Monday …

Can you say Stress!?

Ali xX

Thinking of you.

Warning!! If you’re here from the ALI community and are feeling fragile you might want to skip this post on the subject of loss.

As part of my efforts to make myself a more attractive candidate for a sought after place on the degree, I recently joined a forum for prospective midwifery students. It’s been great sharing the stories of other hopefuls, getting tips on the application process and generally talking with like minded people… but tonight as I logged in I read a story that brought such a lump to my throat. I haven’t really been able to stop thinking about it this evening.

The heartbreaking news was that one of the women lost her baby in the beginning of September at 23 weeks gestation. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and my thoughts have been with this lady and her family all evening. There are no words when a perfect little girl just passes without any real explanation. There are no words. Reading the story of her sleeping baby’s birth had me in fighting back tears I don’t mind telling you.

I know that in my chosen career I will come across families in this agonizing situation and to be honest I’m concerned that hopefully somewhere in my training I’ll be given some small idea of anything I can do to support those who end up in my care after such a tragic outcome. People say in life you can always find somebody worse off than yourself and I believe that’s true.  I may be unable to conceive but I will never have to endure  this pain.

I realize as a professional I can’t fall apart when a baby in my care does not make it. I know I will have to be strong and realize that while the grief is terrible it does not belong to me. It wasn’t my child.  I need to remain professional to provide the best possible support and care.  However I don’t believe I would make a good midwife if I wasn’t affected by the tragedy. Surely caring for your patients properly means that you do CARE when things don’t go to plan.  You take pause and try to learn all you can to make things better. Perhaps you go home, light a candle for the memory or shed a few tears in the bathtub after your shift.  Is that wrong?? ‘Cause if it is,  maybe I’m not cut out for this.

But recently I’ve been thinking families experiencing loss also need a midwife to reach out to. Mothers still need care and most of all compassion. Someone has to step up to the plate and be there for the children born into heaven.  Maybe if I could find the strength. I would train to be that person…..

Ali xX

Little lies and angel eyes.

I’ve not told anyone before, but I believe in angels. While many of you may not agree it is this belief that keeps me somewhat sane.  I am just a mother waiting for her time.  It may be that I am not destined to meet my babies in this life but I feel them as part of me. There would not be such a hole inside if nothing was meant to fill it. My heart would not ache so. I am incomplete, and yet now the dust has settled for a time and I am not presently languishing in despair at the bottom of a crater left by the meteor infertile, but rather standing above looking down as a tourist who surveys the Grand Canon in awe.   I wonder if the pieces are out there somewhere to fill this gap. I can’t see or grasp them.  I have no idea when, if, or how they will appear, but I have this feeling… and perhaps a little faith.

If you believe that those who have touched our lives and gone to a better place can be watching over us, guard us, guide us in the whispers of your conscience or the pull of your intuition.  That one day we can be together again somewhere that neither pain, nor illness, disability nor injustice can touch us. Then is it not also possible that the souls of those yet to arrive surround us in the same way? My children are with the angels not sleeping but rather yet to awake in this world. I would say they are angels but no child of mine would be angelic… and I’m quite ok with that.

Whatever the reason this burden has been placed on me… who knows. I must learn to be patient and live my life in a way that would make my special spectators proud. Somewhere in heaven mischievous sprits are giggling and giving their angel nanny a rough ride… and in their quiet time when they are behaving and watching the goings on down here with that unique curiosity and sparkle of children’s eyes. I shall give them reason to point at me with a big smile as they whisper… that’s my mommy!

I read this poem written for a child lost and I hope you will not hate me for reposting as a woman who may never see hers arrive:

Ask my mum how she is

My mum, she tells a lot of lies
She never did before
But from now, until she dies
She’ll tell a whole lot more

Ask my mum how she is
And because she can’t explain
She will tell a little lie
Because she can’t describe the pain

Ask my mum how she is
She’ll say that ‘I’m alright’
If that’s the truth, then tell me
Why does she cry each night

Ask my mum how she is
She seems to cope so well
She didn’t have the choice you see
Nor the strength to yell

Ask my mum how she is
‘Im fine, I’m well, I’m coping’
For Gods sake mum, just tell the truth
Just say your heart is broken

She’ll love me all of her life
I love her all of mine
But if you ask her how she is
She’ll lie and say she’s fine

I am here in heaven
I can not hug from here
If she lies to you, don’t listen
Hug her and hold her near

On the day we meet..
We’ll smile and I’ll be bold

I’ll say ‘you’re lucky to get in here mum,
with all the lies you told’

Ali xX

Happy ever after ?

30 years ago today… Gadget Guy and his girl were married.

**30 YEARS** What an achievement. No, seriously. That’s like longer than I’ve been alive! So today I find myself looking at another old photo of two smiling friends and wishing I had that time machine set to the 15 of September 1979 just so I could watch and see the people they were then, maybe so I could have a smug smile on my face because I would know this one’s a keeper. This topic has been on my mind a lot lately as me and KM contemplate the possibility of perhaps booking our wedding.  Marriage. The rest of your life.  That is a long time. How do you make these things work anyways? This is Gadget Guy we’re talking about here. He has to have the manual to successful marriage because  the pair of them sure seem to know something few people do these days. It turns out nope, no instruction book to be had :S  I personally reckon they should write one.. There are plenty of other self help books out there. I’m sure it could be a best seller.

KM, this morning after, of course, adding his congratulations turns to me with a sheeks 30 years… you reckon we will have had a good run and got over it by then?  While he was kidding, I know how the man feels.  30 years. I can’t even imagine. Ok maybe I don’t want to. I’m the girl who’s having a minor crisis about her 30th birthday coming up. I can’t see past 31 right now and I was only forced to plan ahead that far as that’s the age I hope to qualify as a midwife.

All I know is its clear to me from the short time I’ve known Mr. and Mrs. Gadget Guy is that there is hope. It can be done. What they have is working. It should be obvious to anyone who takes the time to quietly observe that these two fit together so well it’s scary. I don’t know if they would believe in soul mates but if not they are a pretty good imitation.  Now I could not comment as to what goes on behind the scenes,  but I do know this:  I have never herd either of them bitch about the other and in this day and age that’s refreshing. All I saw were giggles, shared in-jokes and a lifetime of great memories. Two people who clearly still enjoy each other and have fun as much as possible. They don’t seem to be touched by the bitterness that can sometimes be seen between two people who have been married a longtime.  Alongside the old picture,  I wish I could hold all this in a snapshot  the way they are together as I saw them 2 years ago. It’s priceless and should give all the would-be weds reason to stop and think. So that’s just what I did.  I spent the day with my other half foraging for blackberries and laughing myself silly at this grown man so frightened of spiders. He did the heebie-jeebies dance with arms and legs flailing. As he squealed like a girl i fell in love with him all over again. I don’t know if we’ll make 30 years, but I sure hope so. You have to figure some people are just worth the risk of getting hurt.

I’m a “Pretty Woman” girl. Noooo I’m not a hooker, but I certainly have a Cinderella complex. “I want the fairytale”. Today I was thinking about this too. Why is it that so few marriages are passing the 10, 25, 30, 50 year mark? What makes divorce rates these days so high?  Is it that people now feel they have the option where as in years gone by d-i-v-o-r-c-e was taboo and not the done thing? Is it that people these days are to quick to marry?  I have to say this argument is losing its credibility for me lately. The two long-time married couples I know did so in their 20’s and the couples I’ve watched marry certainly seem to have considered the commitment.

Perhaps it’s this last and all together more worrying theory: maybe popular culture is to blame. The fairytales we read, the chick flicks we watch,  the endless stories…  boy meets girl blah… blah… fireworks… champagne… rings… flowers… dresses… weddings… and a happily ever after. The end.  Happily ever after. It sounds so simple doesn’t it?   Prince Charming comes along sweeps you off your feet you get the most fantastic shoes (I told you Cinderella was my favorite :P). You marry and everything is wonderful from then on. Your stepsisters have to work in the kitchen and you get on with your love’s parents famously! HA! What a joke, right?   The idea that all you have to do is find THE guy and everything will just take care of itself. Maybe that’s the problem.  Do we in this generation expect to much and compromise to little?

I’m certainly guilty of  fretting about the small stuff,  seeing all the ways in which me and KM differ and worrying that he’s not the perfect guy… that the grass could be greener…  that commitment is too permanent too much like… commitment. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that he’s only human.  He’s not Prince Charming . And anyways Prince Charming always seemed a little metrosexual to be my type 😛   We need a new kind of fairytale… where the ending is not about never having any obstacles in your life  but about how couples work together to get through them.  We should spend less time looking for imperfections in our partners but rather trying to fix them in ourselves. Happily ever after shouldn’t be about castles, crowns and fancy dresses but about a girl and a boy living a mundane mid life together with their bunny somewhere outside Chicago and spending a day at the zoo on their pearl wedding anniversary.

It looks pretty good to me.

Ali xX

The cogs are turning…

I was not expecting to score 86% on my science test and be placed in the top group in college, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t put a smile on my face. Surprises like that give you just a tiny boost of confidence that maybe I can pass this course! This week I’ve been busy revising all I need to know about atoms; what they are made of, how they join together and why we need a periodic table. Can I just tell you of all the sciences, chemistry is the one I really sucked at in school… so us starting with that feels like cleaning all the rust away in the “knows about science” part of my brain and attempting to turn it on after 10 years of being powered down and forgotten about. For a while there I don’t mind telling you the lights were flickering but nothing was happening. I was getting worried and then slowly but surely things started to fit back into place and make sense. Now I’m having such a good time learning again! It makes me feel useful and gave me back a little self confidence that yes I do have a brain and when needed I can use it pretty well!  Something which I desperately needed reminding of after almost 3 years out of work.

Now I have homework notes to write, things to read. I have purpose and ambition .

And its sooo frikkin’ cool … just saying

Ali xX