All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

Sometimes I like to sit in front of the computer when I am supposed to be writing a blog post and play with Photo Booth. If you don’t have a Mac then maybe you don’t know what I am talking about. It’s just an application that allows you to take still or moving pictures of yourself with the camera that’s built into the top of the computer screen.

Just now I took about twenty pictures of myself pretending to be Angelina Jolie. I wonder if she ever gets tired of holding her lips in that position. I know I’m exhausted after about three minutes. Good Lord. I think I have a Charley horse… (look that up you Brits)







I got sort of a late start this morning but finally got it together and now I am somewhat presentable. The thing is, once I was all dressed and got my scarf and feather earrings and little black flower on I really didn’t want to do what I had set out to do, which was to buy a dress for my belated birthday dinner. So I’m not going to.

There are days like today when I don’t really know what to do with myself. I don’t have a doctor’s appointment, a meeting at the kids’ school or a social event. And none of the errands I should probably run is urgent. Not knowing what to do with one’s self can be rather paralysing.

To combat this feeling, I just did what always seems to work well for me in a situation like this.

I ate lunch and started thinking about what to eat for dinner. Planning a meal always gives you something to do. It’s something to think about, and unless you are one of those people with a perfectly stocked cupboard and fridge at all times (and if so you can sod right off), then it gives you somewhere to go, as well.

I will make a nice, healthy (do not use the word healthful, please, because it is soooo irritating) meal for my family and this will make me feel like I have accomplished something today. (Except if the kids won’t eat it and I get mad and yell at them and feel like a bad mother. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen…)

So now I have to go to the fishmonger and try to find a fish that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids but not in mercury. I’m a little nervous because I have never been to this fishmonger before but I know from my husband and our lovely nanny that he and his associate are sort of, well, mean. I’ve been told that they have tattoos and look like they might have spent time in prison. Honestly, I don’t really care if they’ve spent time in prison as long as they sell me some fresh fish and don’t make me cry.

I hope they aren’t too gruff. But… I haven’t had to whip off my scarf in public in protest for bad treatment yet and my opportunities are running out now that I have only two chemos left, so this could be it. Maybe I should see this is a golden opportunity.

Of course there is a little wrinkle in my plan. This fishmonger is in an alley and there might not be anyone else in the alley to witness the scene should things turn ugly. I am damn well not going to waste an impromptu bald head reveal outdoors on a windy London day in a flipping mews, people, without even a decent audience.

Maybe this is just a stupid plan. Maybe the fishmonger won’t be grumpy to me at all. Maybe I should change my tune. I need to regroup and come up with a new plan.


Okay, instead of provoking a scene I will go to this fishmonger and will attempt to make him smile. Place your bets now, ladies and gentlemen. I think it’s a long shot but you can count on me to give it a try.

I am going now. I will report back in an hour (for me, an hour, for you, as long as it takes for you to read to the end of this sentence). What do you think my odds are?


Okay. I’m back. I pussyfooted my way there, because I know you are waiting with bated breath, and maybe because I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge. I stopped at the make-up store because I desperately needed that pink chunky lip liner and more mascara. Plus I got one of those annoying “it’s your birthday come claim your gift” emails from the beauty store and I figured I might as well actually claim my gift for once. It was shimmering, tinted body oil. I will be the most shimmering, glistening cancer patient ever. Super. At least it wasn’t a hair accessory.

Then I went to the bakery and bought two scones and some raisin, caraway and rye bread because they all looked so delicious and I cannot be too healthy in one day (I already inhaled my scone).

Then there I was at my final destination, the fishmonger looming ahead. I squinted down the alley and tried to size the dude up. He was big and bald (okay so that’s maybe a plus) and yes, rather gruff looking.

I chirped hello and asked for 750g of organic (whatever that means) salmon. “Tops or tails,” he asked (gruffly!). Oh dear, I thought. This isn’t going to happen. He really isn’t going to smile no matter how nice and charming I am. “Um, tops, please,” I responded. “I just love your fish,” I continued. “I brought some home the other night and my seven-year-old daughter said it was the best salmon she had ever had.” GOTCHA.

It was just a little smile, but it was there. I wish I had photographic proof but I didn’t feel like pushing my luck. You trust me, don’t you?

So I’m back home now, obviously, considering I am typing at the computer. I stopped at the grumpy fruit and veg stand in the same alley as well on the way home and made that dude smile too. And he is also known to be cranky.

Now I’m well-fixed for my Moroccan pesto salmon with organic brown rice and fresh beans from the farm (beans that don’t seem to exist in the US so not sure what I am doing with them yet).

Sounds like a meal like that ought to kill it pretty good, no?

10 thoughts on “All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

  1. Em – Please promise to keep writing the blog once you have fully Killed It and the hair is back and the chemo is done, etc… You are too funny and you brighten the day of all your readers with your biting wit and penetrating sarcasm. Plus, we like to hear about you, Bill and the kids and all your adventures in London.

  2. Were they broad beans? I ate those often in London, but I don’t think ever in the US. If it’s them, they’re really good steamed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper.

  3. Em: I second the motion that you should keep writing and repeat my wish that you publish this as a guide for others. Zay

  4. Can I come over for dinner? Sounds lovely. Weather here blows and I’m getting cheered up by your writing and smile. Aren’t we supposed to be cheering you up?

  5. I fear those broad beans – they look like they will be tough and waxy. Did you ever cook them? Send the Moroccan pesto recipe my way, please!

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