So, nearly two weeks ago it was my older sister's birthday. In my usual fashion, I had a birthday card sat on my bedside table for her but never actually got round to sending it to her on time. This meant that the night before her birthday, I pulled out the family heirloom photo albums and took some shots of the photos in bad lighting, late at night in order to send a makeshift card that would, hopefully, make her smile and distract her from how disorganised and rubbish I am as a little sister. Now, I am no photographer, I say this not to be self deprecatory but because it's just not a strength and so something like 'Stories' on Instagram totally appeals to my love of the simple, my love of low fi. It allows me to feel like I'm scrap booking or journalling without having to find scissors and glue or a bunch of different coloured pens with different thicknesses of nib (which is sometimes a tall order). So these are the results. I know the framing is off and the size is odd but I like that it was quick and I didn't get bogged down in the whole 'why are everyone else's photos on IG so amazing and mine are ALWAYS blurred' and more importantly, it took me back to the good old days of daily journalling with pictures, words, photographs and found images etc which is where my heart lies.
Last week-end we took my mum out for breakfast and a catch up as we hadn't seen her for two weeks and she'd returned from visiting my sister in Nottingham. We found a place in Knowle that sold pancakes which was perfect for the boys on the rainiest of rainy saturday mornings. This picture, even though my husband and mum are not pictured in it, reminds me of the car journey. For some reason, my mum likes to direct my husband in the car even though she doesn't drive and despite my husband trying to quietly reassure her that he doesn't need the guidance. It makes for a little tension that also makes me want to laugh out loud, kinda. I have never mentioned it to anyone and so feel a little naughty mentioning it here but hey, this is real life with all the nuances and complexities of family and it's one of the advantages of having so few people following the blog now. I can say a lot more than I might have at one time because I'm aware so few are reading it which is both empowering and isolating. I feel a little sad that my very neglected blog now has a very, very limited audience. Mostly a biproduct of choosing not to use Facebook which is where I used to post links to the blog. I'm not keen to re-engage with Facebook but it does present a dilemma because I do want others to read what I write. Any ideas? Food for thought.
We've found a new hipster(ish) cafe that we like a lot in town. We love Digbeth in Birmingham and the cafe is actually in the Custard Factory which is a creative hub for Birmingham's makers and shakers. My husband gets his art work framed by a great framer based there, buys his spray paints from the graf shop there and gets frustrated that the great jeans in the skate shop never do his size. I've had lovely bespoke necklaces bought for me from indie stores based there and there's a great feel to the place. We like to park up locally in Digbeth and have a good walk around, looking for new graf and new eateries as things tend to close and other things re-open in their place pretty frequently.
My eldest boy has really got into making music more recently, using samples and Garage Band. We had loads of fun the other day when he asked me to record a vocal for the chorus of his track. It felt a little bit special that he acknowledged something that he knows I love to do and that I don't do nearly enough of, he's sensitive and a sweetheart in that way. I loved collaborating with him. We still do battle over his guitar practice, he plays classical. He's far exceeded any capability of mine or his fathers as far as playing a traditional instrument, particularly as he reads music, something which neither of us can do and which I for one would love to be able to do. I keep reminding him that the lectures from me to practice, come from knowing that the future will only bring more commitments and time constraints, so please, please please do this hard stuff now and not later - said all parents and previous generations everywhere! My twelve and a half year old is changing by the day. This new phase is moving so quickly and I can hear the jubilant chorus and testing cries of all those that have gone before, I see my errors and parenting fails and there are the highs and joys and trials and feeling ways, the feeling so, so many ways about stuff all at once. One of the reasons I stopped blogging was because so much of what I talked about was my children and I wondered if it was fair to air so much about their lives here, although I always check with them before posting content that relates to them. Somehow though, I feel compelled to come back to that, to document this next chapter because I know I certainly won't remember it all. For today it feels ok and so for now perhaps that's what's right. These things too change daily and by the minute. Feels good to write and talk and say and lay it all out. It makes more sense of it all.