Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sad before Christmas

OK, I am supposed to be all excited and happy, getting my last presents ready. But the truth is that when husband brought home our christmas tree, I was sitting in the living room, stared at the thing and felt annoyed that I have to fuss around it. My Christmas spirit is gone. I was looking forward to this year's festivities since the end of summer. I suppose the reason was because our weather this year (specially here in Manchester) was so magnificently miserable since the freak 'week of summer' in March ended, the only think I could look forward to was the Winter. The days are supposed to be cold and miserable, but it is Christmas so ho ho.

Why am I suddenly so melancholic? My cat is gone. My dear old friend passed away during last Sunday night, I found her on Monday morning behind the sofa. She just went there and died quietly. Judging that she seemed quite OK during the weekend - although not herself anymore, I hope she didn't suffer. I didn't have to make the painful decision and take her to the vet, she didn't seemed to get worse or having any pains, she was just slowly disappearing in front of our eyes and then decided to die on Sunday night, alone.

One of the things about this Christmas was that it was supposed to be our last Christmas before we have a baby, our last Christmas in this old group - cat, husband and I. But it will be different, just the two of us. I am very emotional and sad about all of this, but somehow bad things always happen in the worst possible times, when you hope you will just simply enjoy yourself - boom - you are suddenly confronted with a whole new issue to deal with. Christmas lost its magic for me, it will not be the same. I know it is only a cat, but to me every animal is a member of the family, end of story.

Yes, I will put myself together, clean the house and prepare the decorations (we are a little bit late with them, our street is all festive, in our window is a single little star and tree still stands without all the decorations), do the food shopping, prepare a  feast and be glad that I have my great husband, my family (although far away from us) and good friends which we will see during the holidays. I will just think about cat, the way christmas tree used to freak her out and how I always had to watch out so she doesn't try to climb it or attack it, the way she enjoyed jumping around wrapping paper and chase ribbons and my heated arguments with husband that she indeed did understand I am giving her a special christmas gift.

I had to get rid of her things straight away, her bed and every toy is a sad reminder, so I am already working on the big clean. Our house will look as a house with no pet for the first time since we moved in. Next year baby stuff will fill it instead and we will see if our family will grow even more.

Of course I am not writing, I am not in a state of thinking about my characters or pushing my word count forward. November with its writing challenge seems so faraway now! January, promise.

One thing I discovered? Pregnancy yoga, what a life saver. I did some classes and practiced with DVD before I got pregnant, but now I experienced how much it can do for me not only in pregnancy but also when going through something challenging and personal. I am definitely hooked. The physical exercise helped me to make my body happy, breathing calmed me down and final relaxation was just amazing. I slept all night with no waking from discomfort or bad dreams. I spoil myself with a private class because at the moment I am not in the mood for a chit chat but I realized I may meet lots of lovely pregnant ladies and make some good friends. Anyway, the teacher is great and I hope I can discover something about meditation with her, too. Suddenly I am experiencing a need to be quiet and more 'with myself'. It may help me with my creativity and discipline, too. Looks like January will be an exciting month and so will be all of 2013...

Whoever is reading my blog, thank you and have the best Christmas and all the best in 2013!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

December so far

My word count for December is a big fat 0. I miss nanowrimo. Since it ended I started to do all the other stuff that was needed, all the forgotten or put away things and my novel is lying on the side, waiting patiently. Some people in discussion forums said they didn't take any break as they would miss the story too much. I miss it, too, but somehow I can not bring myself to writing - at the moment I put the other things before writing and before I know it the day is over.
A weird thing is that I feel somehow slower now that I am pregnant. One way, pregnancy makes me busy because there are new things to take care of and plan plus some appointments. I made a firm decision that I will only start to buy and prepare things next year, but I am already quite busy researching practical things around pregnancy and birth preparations. On the other way I feel generally slower, as if everything is taking much longer. Well, definitely walking, I am a good walker as I don't drive but lately I am taking a while to go around. With the icy roads I am a little afraid, too, but the cold without rain is so nice and christmasy..
What takes most of my thoughts at the moment is that my dear cat isn't very well. I inherited this wonderful fury thing after my aunt passed away and it was my condition to move together with my then boyfriend to come with a cat. He hates cats and claims he has got an allergy. There is the occasional sneeze but since we live in a house with a garden and the cat is free to move it isn't that bad. He has got his spray and something to complain about.
Anyway, cat is old and it is getting weaker and weaker, I am so sorry to see it. I am not sure if she will make it through the end of the year or meet my baby. I will do all I can to keep her comfortable and make sure she doesn't suffer. If she could only tell me....
Animals tend to get out of the way and seek privacy when they are not well and I miss our plays and cuddles. It will be hard without her but I have to prepare myself for it.
I am not sure if there will be a new cat any time soon. Husband wants a dog, I want one too (and a cat or two!) but at the moment he is freaking out we will not be able to have an animal as everything is getting soooo expensive and there is a baby on the way... We will see. It will be weird not to have a pet, I suppose we will get one sooner or later. My dream is to have house filled with animals, I see myself right there as a 'mother earth' surrounded by them.
It is hard to sit and write about my characters when there is so much going on and so much stuff on my mind. But I will get there. Writing is too important.
During November I stole a better chair from my husband's desk (we both work from home so there are two desks but only one really good chair which used to be his as I am more out and about and he likes to sit by his computer for hours) and discovered a power of a onesie. Two things that definitely helped me to get through nanowrimo: good chair to support my back and growing bump and a onesie to keep me comfortable and warm.
To cheer myself up I ordered one more. The one I have is pretty civilized, well as far as a onesie can be, but there is a giraffe on its way! Can't wait. It will be huge which is good because I worry my bump will outgrow the one I already own and I have got all winter to go through being more and more pregnant. Husband will be ecstatic. He already noticed my 'playful' pregnancy hormones didn't really kick in as he hoped and now I will walk around looking like a clown. Well, whatever makes ME happy, right?

Monday, 3 December 2012

Hairy Dilemma

I have got an unusual fashion dilemma. Being in the 24th week of my pregnancy, my bump is now noticeable but I am still pretty much able to see myself. I mean I can see myself down there, the bump didn't make the bottom half of my body invisible yet. I am aware that being pregnant and giving birth means my body will be seen more than usually. So I wonder: what is the appropriate hair style in my pubic area? Or, to be specific, at what age is a landing strip inappropriate? I started thinking about it few weeks ago, while shaving, thinking how long will I be able to see what I am doing? And then it dawned on me: very soon I will be pretty much on display. Time to think about my image...
While growing up it was clear that past thirty a woman (obviously a married mother of a family) would not be expect to wear short skirts, even jeans may be considered a little bit too much, to make it short a woman over thirty was settled and should look the part.I suppose she wouldn't even consider touching the pubic hair. When I was little girl grandmothers looked like grandmothers and mums looked like mums. Basically, women were attractive before marriage, than they had kids and their looks went away, making way to the practical things in life. I grew up in a small town in the continental Europe but I believe England wasn't too different. I am thirty five now, expecting my first baby. I married when I was thirty two. It is hard to compare myself with my mother because I remember celebrating her thirtieth birthday with her. She grew up in the times when people married much younger and had families sooner. They didn't have contraception, careers or a sense of entitlement and freedom. A girl would ruin her reputation if she behaved the way we do now.
While I was making my life the life I wanted it to be I had to constantly listen to the comments: 'When I was your age, I was already married and had you and your sister! How hard can it be?'
My dad dated her with the awareness that if he wanted to get serious he should propose and that sex in their relationship might bring pregnancy which would lead to a marriage.
I dated guys who expected me to be on a pill or go on a pill and they would freak if I left my toothbrush in their bathroom. Guys of our generation wanted to enjoy themselves but so did we!
The same thing is about looks. We expect to go with the fashion and keep ourselves looking young for much longer than our mothers. We are no longer considered selfish because we go regularly to a beauty salon or update our wardrobe, it is normal to look good, have hobbies and 'me time' and still function as a wife or a mother (thanks for that!).
I started to shave my pubic area pretty soon, I just didn't like the hair. I worked as a model and a dancer for a while, so hairless look was pretty much normal. I didn't consider the feminist question around it at all and went for it because I liked it. To keep my landing strip was a part of my usual beauty routine done without much thinking, the same way I keep my underarms and legs smooth. Only lately did I start to think about it more and wonder: is there an age limit when too little hair starts to be inappropriate?  Will I look like I am trying to hard? Will I shock my midwife?
I am not prepared to send my razor to a retirement, but I am considering a new look. It may make my life a little bit easier as in few weeks time visibility will become an issue and I am not prepared to make my husband my beautician. On the other hand, if this is the only problem I am facing at the moment, isn't my pregnancy going really well?

Friday, 30 November 2012

50.211 words later

I started Nanowrimo on 2nd of November after a moment of contemplating. Will I be able to do it? I learnt about nanowrimo last year but it was too late to join in. This year, I had a note in my diary.
However, I wasn't sure if I am ready. But the fact that I am pregnant was a great motivator. If I don't get myself to do it now, will I even think about it next year?
So I started and now, on the November 30, I am not frantically typing away trying to catch up on my word count, I printed my certificate (how silly but nice) yesterday. I was pretty much on target and I didn't even write every day. OK, I did mention in my last post that I worked with an idea already scribbled in an outline, but yesterday, with the end in near and knowing I need only some 1600 words, I suddenly felt lack of inspiration. What to do with the character? There was an outline but it needed to change, she was having to decide on something and I am not ready to decide now. I could not afford to wait for the muse to sit next to me and whisper to my ear, I suppose all muses were overbooked this November anyway.
I sat myself by the computer and scribbled away. Then, considering I am not really moving the character on, I looked up my word count and there it was: 50211. Middle of the chapter of an unfinished book but who cares right now?
There was pile of laundry, muddy floor, dishes, empty fridge, unanswered phone, mails, pile of papers and books and a long to - do list hanging by my desk. Cat was watching me: 'Where is my play time?' I logged to my nanowrimo profile straight away.
I did it, I managed to write over 50000 words and built foundation of a novel. I realized how doable it is. I am one of those who believes there is a novel in everyone of us and I like to write but thanks to this project I was committed and had the discipline to work continuously. And I am still in a good health, but I noticed my baby doesn't enjoy long sessions by the desk. I can not sit and write for hours, I have to take breaks and do other things in between. My cat survived, my husband is alive, too, and proud of me.
Yesterday I just felt the need to stop fussing about fictional characters for a while and attend to other things. As much as I tried to organize myself I couldn't do everything perfectly. When I want to be great at what I do my writing usually has to wait. Today I am enjoying the strange feeling of freedom and try to attend all my other tasks, but I am very slow indeed, looking out of the window more than anything, enjoying the cold weather and warm house, drinking tea and eating biscuits, thinking about christmas preparations that are ahead.
I know I will have to bring myself back to my characters and to my writing and carry on with the story but not today! I firmly believe that nanowrimo taught me enough about discipline and that my book will not be forgotten. There is a looming deadline - the birth of my baby. Will I finish it before end of March? It would be great. Will I write 50000 words in December? Hmmmm..... Good question.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Half way through and laughing

I was told Nanowrimo is exhausting and challenging. So far I consider Nanowrimo my best friend. A friend who doesn't take excuses and make me work hard, see my project through and be consistent. It isn't simple, but who is looking for that?
November came to its second half and I passed 31000 words mark. I may have a little bit easier job thanks to an idea and an outline I created for it long ago. There isn't only a beginning or an inspiration in my head. I was warned that many people loose their track in the second week of November. I didn't experience it, but I believe it is thanks to the fact that I have a base to work on. If I was sitting by my computer every day in a hope that I will find an inspiration to progress my story further, I may well be one of those who suffer badly, maybe even give up. To have a glimpse of a beginning of an idea for a book and try to write in a month is hard. I have a middle and possibly an end.
I consider myself lucky then, even so lucky, that I gave myself a weekend off. And although today I didn't work as hard as I could, I am still safe. If I will carry on at least as fast as I do now I will make the 50000 words deadline by the end of the month. At the moment, I don't worry about what will happen after. I assume I will need more words to finish, then I will start revising and then.... I will see when I am there. What I am afraid of is: will I keep it up? Will I be still as consistent as I am so far without the daily word count updates, the graph showing me my progress, the forums and pep talks? I never met anyone who is organizing or taking part in nanowrimo, but throughout all of this month I have a wonderful feeling of being part of something big, or a part of a family.
I had a good week last week because of few reasons. My cold passed and left behind some nasty but manageable cough. And my dear husband left for a week to work away from home. It meant quiet house, no cleaning and no cooking. Whatever I prepared to eat would last for days and the house is somehow tidier whenever he isn't around. So I worked pretty well.
I felt so confident that I gave myself a weekend off. On Saturday I was simply exhausted. We needed to make a big weekly shopping, there was lots of laundry and some general up keep to do, but in the afternoon I found myself dozing of. Remembering that I am pregnant and allowed to be tired I had a lovely lazy afternoon and evening without even opening my computer. The same was on Sunday, even more relaxed, just a brisk walk, papers, bit of cooking and baking and watching TV. I felt strange and on Sunday a little guilty, too. But the break did help me to gather my strength and carry on even without a word count advantage I would create if I worked during the weekend.
Some writers in discussions refer to themselves as nano - hobo. They work so hard on their novels that they skip showers and exist on coffee, sandwiches, junk food or ready meals. I can not function like that. During my lazy weekend I didn't get myself to write or do much because I was in this slow - hobo mood. I must get myself going, put myself together and fill my day with things to do including writing. Or I laze around, but that means doing nothing, not even picking one thing to focus on.
I am back by the computer today, as usually knowing I could do better and write more, but I decided to blog as I need to be consistent with everything, not only nanowrimo. The project is great because it forces me to find time to write even on days I am too busy with another things. And when I don't make it I know I have to catch up. If I was simply working on the book I would probably write twice a week and consider myself lucky.
Apparently it takes 42 days to create a habit out of something we do. November only has 30 days. So next month, with the upcoming Christmas and all the craziness around it I will have to use serious will power to give myself the kicking and make it to the end. I don't want to have my first baby and a waiting list of unfinished projects in my diary. I want to be ahead so I can focus on mothering without the feeling of guilt or losing out. My kicking baby will probably be my next motivator once nanowrimo is finished.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

My NaNoWriMo time

I decided to join the nanowrimo this year and assumed that it will keep me too busy to do anything else. Nanowrimo is a wonderful challenge, it means: national novel writing month. The aim is to write a novel within a month. What more can a procrastinating writer like me ask for?
While usually I would start working on a story with a great enthusiasm, I would surely get disturbed and put the writing aside while I am taking care of another things. Well, not now. I have a deadline.
To introduce myself, I am a little bit of a free spirit and a housewife. On top of writing a book I am also 20 weeks pregnant with my first child. To join Nano this year made perfect sense, next year will be very busy. I can leave my dear husband to his own devices and focus on my own project. As long as I remember to feed the cat (it is my cat and he doesn't like cats. So just emptying the tray while I am pregnant is a BIG sacrifice. Just to let you know the tray hardly ever gets used, our cat likes to go out and do what she has to do, but never mind) life is good. But once I have a baby there will be a great responsibility and much less me time.
I had a very slow summer and early autumn because the first month of my pregnancy were all about being tired and sick. I basically became a zombie. Just to do simple daily tasks felt like a great challenge. I did what I had to do and waited to get better. I may write about the journey to my pregnancy sometimes later, it is a story by itself anyway.
But while I was zombiing around I thought that once I will get better my life will be more quiet with the cold dark days so I should do something about my life long ambition to write. And here I am trying to compose one chapter at a day. I am not a bored housewife, I do have other projects and things to do, so it is not always easy but it is fine.
However, just being pregnant is like a full time job and I feel almost guilty for taking myself away from the biggest change in my life (at this time). We are at the stage now when we are telling it to people, it is about time to let everyone know plus it is starting to show so I am bombarded by questions: are you starting with your nursery? do you have a name yet? what is your birth plan? are you doing ante natal classes - pregnancy classes - aqua natal classes? do you have this or that book? do you know about this or that website? My husband and I decided to take it easy and start panicking and refurbishing later when we know there is a new member of our family virtually behind the corner. But all this well meant advice is making us (or at least me) feel like that we are horribly behind. There is so much to do, to plan to prepare, to read! I feel like the most selfish mother in the world because I want to use my last months of freedom to write o novel. Well I planned an intensive yoga course and few hikes but I gladly gave those up for the well being of  my future child.
Anyway, here I am going towards 17000 words out of the 50000 task. I hope I will make it. Of course, it will only be a beginning, there will be lost of editing and proof reading and rewriting and I am not even thinking about approaching agents or publishers (YET).
But I hope that this blog will help me to summarize my thoughts on beginnings of writing and beginnings of motherhood. Spending lots of time at my desk (or in bed as I am down with a cold - just week after my flu shot - how lucky) makes me want to join the great world web and find some friends. So I am blogging, and tweeting, and facebooking and enjoying myself.