Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

I like trying new things, especially in the safety of my own home

Many thanks to Rachel for the lovely parcel I received yesterday, which included this:



I tried it out after having a shower, and wondered if I could tick number 9 off my list. However, I thought really I should use it in a real-life situation, so wanted to check how easy it was to use while dressed before taking it out and about.  Perhaps it’s that my jeans were a bit too tight. Perhaps it was that I was just a little too desperate for a wee.  But just as I started wondering if I might have a problem with overflow, I felt a stream of urine running down either leg. More practice may be required.

Note to self: when experimenting with portable weeing devices, don’t wear trousers which have just come out of the wash.  It’s a waste.

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“All of my dreams I dreamed with you, now they will die and never come true”

Recently I’ve been listening to ‘I wish I never saw the sunshine’ by Beth Orton, fairly obsessively.  I’m glad I’m listening to it now rather than a year ago.  Now I think, well Beth, you may be taller but I am definitely more cheerful.  Based on this song anyway.  A year ago I would have thought, well Beth, this song sums up how I feel, everything is dismal and I shall never be happy again.  And then I would have put my head under the duvet and cried for an hour.  Or cleaned poo out of the bath. Again.  Single parents don’t even get to wallow in abject despair properly.  Life is so unfair.

It has made me wonder, though, about my dreams.  I’ve always been a girl with a ten-year-plan.  When I was seven I wanted to go to Oxford and be an academic.  Aged twenty I wanted to do a PhD and write a new economic theory, be ‘like Karl Marx but better’.  I’ve always dreamed of writing a novel, something that people will feel has changed how they see the world.  And then Ex-Husband and I dreamed about moving to ‘somewhere a bit more rural’, about having a house with a garden.

I liked sharing dreams with someone.  I liked finding the overlaps, the tension between what we both wanted shaping our goals.  I’m not sure that Ex-Husband ever realised that we would never find that rural location that actually suited us both, as he essentially wanted a house in a field and I’m not really comfortable with the idea of being more than a short walk from a coffee shop, library and railway station.  Now, apparently, the world is my oyster, but with a whole world to choose from I feel a little bit lacking in focus.

And at the moment, I am too tired to dream.  It’s a bit like when you’re walking, and you’re really tired, and you’re dragging along, too tired to do anything but look at the ground just in front of your feet and hoping you’ll be there soon.  I’m just too tired to lift up my head.  My life is crowded with nappies and sleepless nights and exhaustion and tantrums and washing up and worrying about my children and arguing about access and the divorce and more work to do than time to do it in and having no idea what I’m going to cook for dinner.

I have goals, of course.  Souffles and sewing and climbing.  But dreams?  Just now I want to get through today, and tonight, and tomorrow.  I do not have time, now, to do more than I need to (ahh, I dream of actually having enough time just to do everything I need to).  And so much has changed in the past 18 months, my life has been derailed in such an unimaginable fashion, that I think I can’t trust that I can imagine what the future might be like.  Now I know that I don’t know anything, how can I dream? How can I have hopes for the future when the future absolutely cannot be trusted to do what it is supposed to?

I have recently set up a feminist reading group on facebook.  We are going to read feminist books and then discuss them. I like the idea of living by myself and having a house that is untidy because I am too busy having interesting thoughts to do housework. I’d like to have piles of books and papers.  Eventually I’d like to study again. I occasionally have discussions about things like the rape conviction rate or welfare reform and get satisfyingly (or alarmingly) shouty (depending on whether you’re me or the person whose direction I’m shouting in).  I think about trying some kind of comedy performance again.  And when I think about these things I think perhaps, just maybe, I can believe in a future where I get enough sleep and enough thinking time to have some kind on internal life inside my head again.  I no longer expect to outdo Karl Marx in the world-changing stakes, but I do believe I am going to have amazing dreams and I will make them come true.

And I hope I can work out what I can dream of for my future with my children.  I have no model of a single-parent family to emulate or aspire to. I know people who single-parent very well. But it’s not what I expected and not what I would have chosen. It’s still hard work and painful.  It feels fractured, because there are all those gaps where my children are away, we are not functioning as a family, they are having another life and they are too young to understand it.  We are all tired and struggling.

So I hope to find a way to dream some dreams for my little family, for the three of us, to let go of my old expectations and hopes and make some new ones – to dream with my children of the sunshine we can find together.

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Definitely not an exhaustive list of everything I’m going to do in 2013

New Year’s Eve and Day found me, with the assistance of Col and Jo, making a list of 12 things I’d like to do in 2013. I know, if I was cooler it would be 13 things for 2013.  But I’m not cool, I’m awesome.  On the whole, these are things I sporadically think I’d like to do and then forget about, or never quite get round to.  There are a couple which were influenced by the company I kept while making the list (numbers four and seven) and one which is not something I’ve ever aspired to but seemed funny at the time.  I’ll leave you to guess which one that was.

So here’s the list.  It’s not exhaustive (I expect to do other fun and interesting things in 2013) and it’s not a commitment (don’t come here complaining in 2014 that I’ve only done half of them) but I’m hoping it will encourage me to try some new things:

  1. Make a souffle: It’s one of those things which is supposed to be slightly tricky to get right; therefore, of course, I want to try it.  Unfortunately I may need to buy a new oven first as mine is temperamental, which makes it a bit more of a big thing than just mixing together some eggs, milk and flour and putting it in the oven (I know.  I don’t even know what you put in a souffle.  I’m just guessing really).
  2. Watch a 3D film
  3. Go to the opera: I was supposed to go and see Don Juan when I was at school but I was ill.  I think it would be interesting.  Any recommendations for a good starter opera, if such a thing exists?
  4. Climb a Wainwright: There’s a collection of mountains and hills in the Lake District which someone called Wainwright climbed and then wrote about.  Or something.  I’m hoping to climb a small and easy one and then make it sound really impressive.
  5. Become a dancing bear: Put on a bear suit and dance.  And this was suggested before we’d started drinking.
  6. Go on a narrowboat: I’ve fancied, for a long time, going on a narrowboat holiday. I can’t see that working with Big Girl and Small Girl but I’m sure I can find some sort of narrowboat activity to engage in.
  7. Eat goulash at the Dog and Gun: Col posts pictures of the food he eats after he walks and this is particularly highly recommended.  I have no idea where the Dog and Gun is, but I’m fairly sure Jo and Col will be happy to show me.
  8. Go to an outdoor film: Each year Spinningfields in Manchester hosts a series of films on a huge screen outside.  People sit in deckchairs and watch them.  I have really really wanted to do this for quite a long time.  2013 will be the year I achieve it.
  9. Use a she-peeIt’s possible that I only added this to the list after I’d drunk enough to forget that I would then have to tell the entire internet about my plans.  Still, I’ve been curious about she-pees since I first heard about them.  I’ll give it a go.
  10. Make bunting: Lots of people have lovely bunting decorating their houses.  I would like to have some but have never got round to making any.  Also, it’s something that requires less organisation or purchasing of major household appliances than a lot of things on this list, so there’s a chance I might actually make it in 2013.
  11. Sell something on ebay: I love buying things on ebay but I’ve never sold anything. It looks like slightly more effort and commitment than I’m ever willing to put in.  I’m going to give it a go.  One day…
  12. Go skiing: While a trip to the Alps would be lovely, it’s more likely to be Chill Factore. Just as long as I don’t break my leg – my life is challenging enough.

So, that’s my list. If you’d like to join in, let me know – I’d love to have company! What new things would you like to try in 2013?