Tag Archives: over the hill

Out Of Date(s)?

cheeseI discovered an old block of Parmesan in my fridge the other day.

It was well past it’s sell-by date and had been sadly neglected and forgotten about, but I sliced the edges off, grated it and it was just fine. Perfect.

As I was sprinkling it over my pasta, I realised, I am this Parmesan.

Before you think I truly am suffering from an extreme case of Empty Nest Syndrome now The Teenager is at University and my only companion at home is my cat (and my plants), bear with …

Back in 2012, soon after my diagnosis of MS, I lost:

  • My partner (he scarpered, sharpish)
  • My job (bullied, then forced out)
  • My health (left the building)
  • My envisaged future (dashed)
  • Hope (lol)

Now in 2017, I have:

  • A brilliant job
  • Despite MS, decent health and access to treatment
  • A brighter future (I think)
  • A whole lot of hope

Excellent. But this is where the Parmesan comes in. I am still partner-less; I am that forgotten-about block of cheese in the back of the fridge. Whilst the milk and sweet chilli sauce may have regular outings, I never go anywhere.

And, sticking with my very dodgy analogy, with a bit of sprucing up, maybe I should rediscover myself and find the True Me lurking just beneath the surface. Sure, I may be a bit battered and bruised from experiences over the last five years, but with a bit of help, who knows?

Part of me hasn’t looked for a partner, focusing instead on the more pressing matters of giving The Teenager as normal a life as possible, winning a workplace discrimination case and sorting out MS treatment. It didn’t leave much room for anyone else. Plus, I was in the middle of an MS Pity-Party For One, which wasn’t pretty.

Well, now The Teenager is having a ball at Uni (latest text, ‘Being an adult is weird, but am getting used to it‘), my job is sorted and I’m facing the future filled with hope, a teeny-tiny bit of space is being carved out.

Then the Fear Factor kicks in. I simply can’t date because:

  • The cat wouldn’t like it
  • I don’t own any ‘dating clothes’ and I can’t wear heels
  • Ditto dresses. Outside of my job (building-site clothes), I wear jeans
  • When do you bring up MS?
  • The last time I dated, the iPod hadn’t been invented
  • I could suddenly get foot-drop and splatter myself across the floor

So you can see the dilemma I’m in. It would be kind of nice to have a partner-in-crime; someone who didn’t mind the jeans, the cat … the MS. Then again, it would be nice to wear heels again, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

I often wonder if I am subconsciously preparing myself for eternal singledom. I cut out holiday adverts from companies with names like, ‘Only The One’ and ‘Just You’ (no single supplement, no pressure). I am taking an unhealthy interest in talking to my plants. I automatically divide recipe ingredients by four.

As we approach the season of unbridled smugness, i.e. Christmas With a Loved One, spare a thought for little old me, pruning my Poinsettia and signing Christmas cards from me and – you guessed it – the cat.

Sad, much?

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How Ugly is ‘Too Ugly’?

orangeAs to be expected, I’ve been ruminating/crying about my recent experience of TV-land. (see previous blog post).

The spiel for the dating show applicants is: ‘Do you have a medical condition or physical disability that makes dating a challenge?’

Hmm. I have raised my head long enough from my family-sized tub of Ben & Jerry’s to have a definitive answer to this.


Not under that title anyway – ‘Too Ugly for Love’.

To be fair, yes, as is common with many other 41 year old women, I do pick over my  ‘faults‘; they are as follows:

  • In certain lights, my nose can appear a bit too large for my face – candlelight is good for this reason as I’ve never got round to learning the dark art of ‘contouring’ with 20 different shades of beige make-up.
  • I am fat. No denying it, although I prefer ‘curvy’, ‘Rubenesque’ or simply, ‘womanly’/’feminine’, and with my height, I can carry it off. Honestly.
  • I have a fairly small mouth, but I make up for it by being extremely gobby on any subject.

This probably doesn’t make me ugly, just normal. But chuck a diagnosis of MS into the equation – yes, it makes dating more difficult – but it certainly doesn’t make me ‘Ugly‘.

Ugly is such a cruel word, and definitely not a word I would ever equate with a disability. To this end, I consider myself ‘Beautiful Enough For Love’, my alternative title. A disability makes us:

  • Open to life in a way we never thought possible – life is short and for the taking.
  • We are non-judgemental – we know that every single person has a ‘disability’, whether it’s a personality ‘flaw’, a ‘disability’, a ‘mental health problem’. Labels are pointless and meaningless. We are who we are, warts and all.
  • We have taken up the challenge of a lifelong illness and that makes us brave and wondrous.

All this adds up to why I chose not to take part in this programme. It is demeaning. It is not empowering – merely schadenfreude at its most despicable.

My life is interesting enough, and if the right person comes my way, I will date him without the cameras and exploitation.

And if not, there’s always a Saga holiday. I’m 9 years off qualifying …

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Forty Shades of Grey

over the hillHere’s a quick quiz – just how many signs of ageing are there? Five? Seven? Or, gulp, ten?

Step forward Rachel Weisz who was recently flogging ‘Revitalist Repair 10’, targeting 10 signs of ageing in one overpriced blob of cream. I’m obviously not at all jealous she’s married to Daniel Craig, but I was chuckling when I heard that her TV advert had been banned in the UK after the ‘shocking’ discovery that she was airbrushed for the advert.

So what are these doom-laden Signs of Ageing and who decides? As I approach the sad day when I will be forced to wear a humorous ‘Still Flirty at Forty!’ badge to a local restaurant where the chairs will be tied with ‘Over The Hill’ helium balloons, here’s my ten signs of ageing:

  1. My mum asks me what I want for this milestone birthday. Without missing a beat I answer ‘ a super-duper electric toothbrush’. What?!
  2. I never, ever sit on the floor, as I would need three strong children to help me up and would probably say ‘ooof’ a lot.
  3. I have a sudden, inexplicable urge to visit garden centres. Not only that, I enjoy a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake in the cafe afterwards.
  4. I read those ‘Innovation’ catalogues that fall out of the weekend newspapers from cover to cover. And make a list. 
  5. My colleague has a baby. He is young enough to be my son. Which means I am old enough to be a grandmother. 
  6. I own not one but two pairs of slippers. Comfy. 
  7. I talk to my plants. And they talk back. Honestly. 
  8. I no longer feel it’s appropriate to buy Rimmel make-up. Too….bright.
  9. I circle TV programmes I want to watch in the Radio Times with a special pen. Antiques Roadshow? Tick.
  10. I’m tempted to start listening to The Archers.

I could also say I forget things, I drop things and I have a special non-slip mat in the shower, but I’m blaming all that firmly on the MS. My plan? To age disgracefully, embarrass The Teenager and start investing in control underwear chic black cashmere jumpers, teamed with lots of large, colourful beads. And start calling everyone ‘daahhling’ as I can’t remember their names…

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It’s Only A Number. Isn’t It?

Oh joy. I will be forty 39 plus 1 in less than half a year. I won’t be celebrating, but rather I shall be holding a memorial service to my first 40 years, along with lashings of wine and copious amounts of cake.

To help me feel even more inadequate than usual, The Sunday Times Style magazine thoughtfully published a list of ’40 Things To Do Before You’re 40.’Here’s some of the ones I haven’t done and have no hope of doing before August:

  • Get an accountant – ha ha thud. That’s me laughing my head off.
  • Bin all your tights and replace the lot with Falke – unfashionable me has no idea what/who Falke is. Hopeless.
  • Have a kinky dream about a colleague – the builder? Seriously?
  • Go to Glastonbury – nope.
  • Host an afterparty that people still talk about years later – what the heck’s an afterparty and why have I never been to one?
  • Stop wearing lycra – never.
  • Spend a year with an incredibly flat stomach – and give up Maltesers and toast? Crazy.
  • Unwrap a diamond – not unless it’s a Diamond White cider party pack.
  • Grow your hair so long that it covers your nipples – one word – why?

But here’s some I have done:

  • Decide whether you want children – yup, I’m keeping the Teenager.
  • Be able to order wine confidently – ‘Cheapest bottle of your house white, and make it snappy, my good man.’
  • Pull an all-nighter, drink sambuca, dance on the tables, then go straight to work – too many times to mention.
  • Live abroad long enough to get a taste for the local breakfast – those were the days. Sigh.
  • Witness a birth – I was definitely there when The Teenager was born.
  • Perfect your signature roast chicken – Waitrose, I love you.

Don’t you just hate these lists? Here’s my kind of list – recently-announced top 5 snacks in the UK (drum roll….) bacon butties came out top, no doubt helped along by my recent alarming consumption of them. They were closely followed by cheese on toast, sausage rolls, Cornish pasties and Scotch eggs. Now that’s a list you can get your teeth into…

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