Blogaversary (and why I don’t really blog much anymore…)

sesame12I’ve been blogging for twelve years today. Twelve years. I had to double-check when I thought about it this morning because how can it be twelve years? But I know it must be, because I started blogging before I had a book out (and that’s five years this May) and I started blogging before I had any kids (and my oldest is eleven in June) and I started blogging before I started writing professionally (and I’ve been self-employed for ten years in October), but still… twelve years. Blimey.

It seems a bit odd to celebrate it though, because I hardly blog anymore. The type of stuff I used to write on my blog I now mostly put on Facebook. And the rest of the time (pretty much all of the time) I’m just chatting away on Twitter. I’m also on Tumblr a bit (mostly for the Harry Styles gifs, ngl) and I’m loving Instagram.

sunnyI’m also writing, writing, writing. Just not here. The second book in the Reel Friends series, Spotlight on Sunny, is out next month. Counting Stars comes out with Hot Key Books in September. And then there’s another as-yet-unannounced book at the end of the year. And plotting and planning for more more more.

Things have changed a lot in twelve years…

December 2008: What’s an eggcorn?

Listening to this week’s Adam and Joe podcast, Adam mentioned the term “eggcorns” to mean a misunderstanding of a word or phrase. I got quite excited because I’ve got loads of examples and didn’t know there was a word for them!

It came up because a listener had sent a text including the phrase “lone behold” (instead of “low lo and behold”).

Read all about ’em on Wikipedia.

The first example on Wikipedia is “for all intensive purposes instead of for all intents and purposes”. That’s one of mine – until I was in my twenties I thought it was “for all intensant purposes” and intensant isn’t even a word!

Joe Cornish said he used to think “common or garden” was actually “communal garden”.

Years ago I remember telling a friend of my sister’s that we were getting wall to wall carpets (?) and she said, “Oh, that’s a really good make!” Turned out she thought it was “Waterwall Carpets.”

Me and David fairly recently had a bit of an argument with his mum when she said something had “come out of the woodworm”. No, we said, it’s woodwork. No, she said, “You know! Coming out of the woodworm! I’m surprised you two haven’t heard that expression.” Yeah, okay.

A woman I worked with at Waterstone’s said she’d burned her britches in her last job.

Oh and a friend of mine said her mum had had an operation on her “viaduct”, when  meant bile duct. (We decided the operation was to remove a derailed train.)

My favourite would have to be Joey’s from Friends (which I’ve mentioned loads of times, but I never tire of it): A moo point (instead of a moot point). The meaning of which, of course, is something only cows can understand.

Find more – loads more – here. There’s another great one in the comments on that site:

“I love the ‘pullet surprise’ best as in ‘In 1957, Eugene O’Neill won a Pullet Surprise.'”

December 2008: Penguins go pop!

Regular readers may remember that Harry has been suffering from a sympathetic pregnancy. He’s had a penguin in his tummy. He hasn’t mentioned it for quite some time but, this evening, we finally inflated the birthing pool and Harry and I climbed in for a chat about what is likely to happen when Baby Joe “goes pop”. (The pool was empty, incidentally.)

You know that scene in Friends when Phoebe’s mum tries to illustrate how difficult it would be for Phoebe to give up a baby by giving her a puppy? And then she can’t get Phoebe to listen to her because Phoebe’s too busy playing with the puppy? That’s kind of what Harry was like as I tried to explain childbirth to him.

I told him that, hopefully, I’ll be in the pool, but there’ll be water in it and the midwives (who he’s met) will be here as will Daddy. I told him he’s welcome to join me in the pool or just in the room, but I might be crying and I might be sick and I might even do a poo.

“You not do a poo,” he said, as if advising me.

“Well, I’d rather not,” I said. “But sometimes that happens, because the baby sort of comes out of your bottom.”

“Oh,” he said, smiling. “I think I forgot that.”

“I’m not sure you ever knew that, sweetie,” I said.

I told him he could be in the other room with Daddy, watching CBeebies or whatever he wanted. Or he could go to Grandma and Grandad’s if he preferred. No, he said, he’d rather stay here with Middy and Daddy.

We cuddled for a while and then he sat back, put his hands on his stomach and said, “Oh! My penguin is back!” Then held out cupped hands and whispered, “My penguin…”

I admired the (imaginary) penguin and called David to admire it too. And then – pop! – there was another penguin. This one bit my nose when I went to give it a kiss. And then – pop! – there was another, who tried to get out of the pool. And – pop! – another, who ran up Harry’s pyjama leg. And then – pop! pop! pop! pop! pop! pop! – approximately twenty penguins, plus three “Baby Jesus penguins” and at least a couple of “Baby Joes”.

At one point, Harry reached over, picked up nothing from the bottom of the pool, held it up to his face and whispered, “Beautiful.”

He so is.

February 2008: Ellen makes me happy

I used to watch Ellen’s sitcom, but then she kind of fell off my radar until fairly recently. Now one of my favourite things is watching her dance at the beginning of her chat show.

But also, I find her incredibly inspiring. For some unholy reason, I feel kind of old and like I’m running out of time to do everything I want to do and I’m only 36. Ellen was 50 earlier this week. 50! I would never have guessed. Not only does she not look it, she’s so youthful in outlook, enthusiastic and joyful (plus, unlike me, she knows new music). She makes me happy.

And she inspires me. You should watch this clip of her stand up show in which she represented her experience of coming out via the medium of interpretive dance, but just in case you don’t want to watch it (busy, are ya?) then at least read this:

When you’re down there there are times you believe you’ll never get up again and it’s a scary place and it’s very dark. But I believe that’s when you grow the most, when you face your fears, that’s when you grow. So I decided I’m going to face every fear I have, I’m going to challenge myself every opportunity I get. People always try to make you feel better, they say, ‘Oh, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself’. Okay, great, now I’m scared of fear, thank you very much.

October 2007: Magic football pigeon

roque1_2Saturday was David’s birthday and he had requested that I accompany him to the football. It wasn’t so much that he wanted my company, it was more that he didn’t want to be a billy-no-mates on his birthday. So after a lovely lunch with the in-laws (no, really), they took Harry home with them and me and D headed off to Ewood Park.

It was a while since I’d been on t’match (as they say round these parts) and it was good to be back, even if there were quite a few players I didn’t recognise. I did however recognise Roque Santa Cruz pictured because … well, look at him.

Anyway, I got myself a hot chocolate and we settled in. It was Rovers v Reading and, part way through the first half, a white pigeon landed on the pitch. Well, I say it was a white pigeon, David reckoned it was a dove. A dove! I ask you. Anyway, the pigeon hopped about and pecked, seemingly unaware that 22 men were within stomping distance.

After a few minutes it flew up near the goal and Rovers scored. Once the celebrations were over, the pigeon returned to the pitch and Rovers scored again. I missed that goal because I was looking at the pigeon. Well, clearly this was no ordinary pigeon! Another flutter in the region of the net and Rovers scored again. “It’s the pigeon,” I told David. “Hmm,” he said.

Just before half time, one of the Rovers players took a swing at the pigeon. “Ah, that’s it now,” I said. “He’s jinxed it. You can’t take a swing at a magic pigeon.” A bit later, I added, “See, they scored three goals and then he took a swing at it and they haven’t scored since. The facts speak for themselves.” “You’re an idiot,” said David.

The second half kicked off. “Where’s the pigeon?” David asked. It was still up the other end which was now, of course, the goal Rovers were defending. “It’d better get down this end,” David said. See? He’d started to believe in the power of the pigeon. And then Reading scored. “Ha!” I said. And then Rovers got a penalty. “Ha!” David said.

And yet, “Where’s the pigeon?” he asked me every five minutes. I had become pigeon monitor. Rovers were defending and the pigeon fluttered up near the goal mouth. “The pigeon’s just fluttered up,” I said. “Reading are going to score now.” They scored. “See.” I said. We watched the pigeon until the final whistle. It ended 4-2. I enjoyed it immensely. It’s not every day you get to see a magic goal-scoring pigeon.

April 2007: Any dream will do?

Okay. I’ve  literally just got out of bed and I had to come and write this down because last night I had the World’s Maddest Dreams!

My in-laws’ paper “boy” is about 30 and is a bit odd. Let’s call him Nick. I dreamt David wanted trombone lessons and discovered that Nick was a great trombonist. Nick agreed to give David lessons and they were hashing out the terms (£2 per lesson, 2 lessons a week, 77 lessons required) when David, who was shirtless, lifted his arm and Nick licked his armpit. The negotiations broke down.

I was incubating hundreds of tiny bright red ducklings in a radiator.

I was “dating” Seamus from Any Dream Will Do, but he was living on my dad’s roof with his brother. My parents’ neighbour who I haven’t seen for years, came round to check him out then emailed me to tell me he was a “hottie”.

I had befriended a load of animals who seemed to be living in a giant cage in my in-laws garden. I would go outside to chat to a tiny black (talking) pig and a (talking) chicken who would sit on my head and dangle upside down to look me in the face.

What the hell did I eat last night?