Saturday, May 27, 2017

Diaries. Keep? Chuck?

I have kept diaries for years. As a child, whenever we went on holiday, my mother would give me (and I assume my siblings) a small notebook to record events and memories. I still have them going back to about 7 years old! During my teens, although I kept diaries, I seriously wonder why. "Was bored; went to school" is hardly worth the ink really, especially when it's day in and day out. I can only assume that I was carrying the weight of academia on my shoulders and didn't have the bandwidth (word du jour) for more writing. 

The university years are noticeably missing, and I don't actually remember keeping a diary at that time. Again, probably so much writing for my degree that I had nothing left to give. (Blimey, I sound like Hemingway.) My twenties' diaries read something like a slightly more moderate Bridget Jones job, (definitely be keeping those), and my thirties (married, working and having babies)  - well, again, why did I bother? I have already thrown a few years out since all I did was complain about people at work. (I've kept the years when kids were born, just FYI. I'm not that cold!)

I'm about to read through the remaining diaries and then what? It's no surprise that they're hardly publication-worthy, but should I schlep them back across the ocean one more time? And if so, for what? Actually, the way my memory is behaving at the moment I could read them again in ten years time, as if I'd never clapped eyes on them before. 

I've already had one gut-wrenching diary event this past week as it is. Daughter was here for the weekend (her last time in her growing-up bedroom - wah!) and I asked her to go through her desk and drawers and take what she wanted. She left everything!! 
She too was an avid diary keeper, and she's instructed me to throw them all out. Now, (she's probably reading this), I refrained from reading through her older ones, but I read through the ones she kept before she was ten, and actually, there wasn't really anything to keep. So, I've thrown them out and just hope she doesn't give me the old "Why did you listen to me?" routine when she regrets her decision. If we were moving within the US I'd probably keep them but this transAtlantic moving lark is bloody expensive. 

But back to diaries in general. Anyone keep them? Do you have any plans for them? I'm trying to decide if I want anyone else to read them anyway. Not that there's anything salacious in them but I've hardly crossed the Great Plains in a wagon trail, or sailed through shark-infested waters. Readers would probably get to about page two and throw the towel in. 

And more importantly, am I over-thinking this? 


PS. Have to start saying "diary" now when I'm booking things. In the US a diary is definitely a journal and when you make arrangements, you put them in a calendar. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

International Move - aka Emotional Roller Coaster

So yes, it's all "go" in the Repat household. (Did you notice my banner?) With less than two months till our big move across the Pond, - it's complete chaos here, and I'm not just talking about Donald Trump's Tweets. 

Every day is a roller coaster of emotions - panic (will I get everything done in time?), worry (what have we done?), confusion (still trying to make sense of the dog-shipping rules), resignation (well, it's too late to change our minds now), excitement (just a little, I'm sure that will come once I move down the to-do list), sad (we are leaving out family home), sadder (our family is no longer the nucleus since the big kids don't live with us). You get the picture. 



When people ask me why we're moving I often say "itchy feet", and it's true. I have lived in Chicago longer than I have lived anywhere else, including where I grew up. 27 years. It's a long time and it feels like it's time to do something else. We have no roots here (as in family) although all my kids were born here and obviously feel a huge connection. 

So of course I'm now bumping into people I've known for over twenty years, whether it's while walking the dog or at a social event. I know a lot of people!  It's not good to start reminiscing just before a major move! Enough to make me hide in the dairy aisle at the sight of long lost neighbor or former teacher! 

And packing the house up is a veritable sob fest. Last time we moved I just put everything in boxes and carted it to the new house; with a five month old baby, two older kids and a shiny new publishing deal there wasn't much time for thought about what to take and what to dump. This time we have to weigh up the value of everything we want to ship. Given that it's going to cost thousands to get our stuff over the Atlantic, everything that does come with us had better be worth it's weight. Literally. 

When it comes to memorabilia, as I mentioned in my last post, it's really difficult. I have diaries from when I was about 7. I haven't read them in years, but of course when I got them out for their shipping inspection, I sat down and pored over them. My daughter (home last weekend for the last time in her bedroom - wah!) told me I can throw out all her little girl diaries. Talk about a difficult decision. She also told me she didn't want her koala bear when she went to college in 2011, but was ecstatic when I sent it to her only a few months ago. Sometimes mother knows best!

The ex-Man-Child, now College boy, has been busy selling off bits of his drum set. Every time a Green Day song comes on these days, I am taken back to his daily vocal, drumming and guitar practice in his room, straight after school. Having painted over the DIY graffiti (black marker to cream walls, by the way), and picked the clothes off the floor, his room now bears no resemblance to the room he occupied. Another wah! 

I like to think of myself as someone who isn't averse to change, but really - I'm not doing a very good job of it at the moment. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Using Everything Up

I am usually one of the people who keeps things "for best" or "just in case". Give me a beautiful bar of soap and I probably won't use it. Not because I don't like it, but because well, it's a waste to just use it on myself. (Shrinks would have a field day with that one, wouldn't they?) I keep it for "special", - although what makes one wash more special than another? I have countless nice notebooks that people have given me but I hate to spoil them - by writing in them.

I know. Ridiculous.

Now that I have to pack up my things and ship them to the UK however, it's a slightly different story. The lovely creams are being slathered on in abundance, the expensive culinary oils are used in every meal prep, and the guest loo is overflowing (not literally) with paper hand towels, usually reserved for Christmas and other special occasions.

My pantry is rather daunting, partly due to the fact that the Ball & Chain goes food shopping without bothering to apprise himself of what we already have. He likes to cook and uses a wide variety of herbs and spices in most of his offerings. His shopping habits, plus love of exotic recipes, means we currently have -

4 jars of fennel, all opened
2 jars of coriander, both opened
3 jars of whole cloves, 2 opened
2 jars of ground sage, both opened
3 jars of Cholula hot sauce, 2 opened
An ancient jar of organic pear juice, which will probably go straight down the sink

Also -
2 jars of Marmite, 1 opened. Not sure if it's humanly possible to get through 1.5 jars of this stuff in two months but wouldn't taking it back to the UK be a bit "coals to Newcastle" ish?

Fortunately, I also have this..


...which sounds disgusting, even if you love Marmite, but actually isn't. Will have to work my way through the recipes.


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