31 December 2005

Meet The Gang!

Please bear in mind that you all shot yourselves in the foot when you answered my lookalike post, except those who commented but declined to fess up, in which case this is where I tell you who I think looks quite like you, based on the piccies on your blog. Please don't be offended!

In comment order, then:

Annie is teased for looking like Shirley Temple. Annie, forget the precocious child and look at the woman in her twenties - now that's a reasonable match!


Bart got told he looked like Leif Garrett, so I've dug up three pictures, one 'high fashion' (of the time) and one each for the pre and post lip gloss eras.


Not sure about Banderas, but Zorro, definitely. Well, the Zorro mask, anyway.


Cori can't believe it but has been told she looks like Lucy Lawless. I found two incarnations of the same lady to see if that helps, Cori!


This took some searching - but Kim, what would you say to a passing resemblance to Elisha Cuthbert?


Zilla has been told she looks like both Dana Delaney and Mariette Hartley. Apart from the hair colour what is obvious is how classy these ladies are. WTG Zilla.


Lady Muck
LM looks like LM, she says!


A Midler-Learned-Cattrell cross.
Well, I can see it!


Sorry SW, I know you didn't say, but I think Bette Davis takes after you very nicely. It's something about the eyes - quiet, sharp intelligence. So you!


Writer mom!
WM didn't volunteer a name either but Wulfie and I think she looks very much like a fresh-faced Cameron Diaz (like before Hollywood wrestled Ms D to the floor and applied makeup with a trowel)


Steve at Wittering Heights
I actually happen to know what Steve looks like. I think he is MUCH more like a Tracy brother (John, by preference), although he says he really looks like Joe 90,

but I suspect he just has a secret 'thing' for the transformation cage, hehe.


who just happened to be surfing through.
A Jodie/Callista cross, apparently. Hi Daisy!


Le Laquet
Mary Hopkin meets C Zita Jones - wow!

Pleased to meet you!

30 December 2005

Five Weird Things About Me Meme

Thanks Zilla!

Ground Rules: The first player of this game posts his or her 5 Weird Habits, then chooses 5 people to tag by listing their names at the end.
  1. I am audio digital. This means that before I could even contemplate finding any answers to this meme I spent 24 hours mulling over what exactly is meant by weird and whether the concept (let alone the state) actually exists, except by the judgement of those who deem themselves to be 'not weird'. It exists all right, theres nothing weirder than someone who thinks they have it all sussed. Or maybe it doesn't because that's subjective and I don't think I am 'not weird', except hang on a minute yes I do because I just said weird didn't exist so I have just found a huge hole in my own hypothesis (are there doctors for that?) and I am back to square one.
  2. When I need to centre myself (read when tipsy) I completely unconsciously apply pressure to the top of my head. If you see me chatting away like normal but with the base of my wine glass planted so firmly on the crown of my noggin that it could be growing there, then you know its time to force-feed me carbs.
  3. When I am concentrating on a heavy question I grind my front teeth together. This is harder than it sounds because I have a slight overbight and it involves sticking my bottom jaw out. That's the only time I look like Griff Rhys Jones. Yes there are also Joneses in my history along with Dodds and Welsh-Russian Jewish guys called Ivor. Thankfully 98% of Wales is called Jones which is why I am so anxious for somebody from America to tell me what Jonesing means; so that I can adopt a new complex and then share it.
  4. I can whistle in two and a half octaves. This is because I have a gap between my front teeth (a la Madonna) these days. It sounds like two different people whistling, however, because theres a crossover between ranges where I have to reposition my tongue. So I practice. A lot. In the kitchen. My fave is Toccata and fugue in D minor but I only remember the name because I once went out with an organist. He had really agile feet.
  5. I am usually the last one up. When the house starts cooling and creaking I speak to the louder sudden noises. I say daft things like "Hello" (original, that one) or "Pack that up." Its always such a relief when no-one answers.
I tag: Ally, Fineartist, Kim, Library Lady (gosh, I hope she does memes) and Purple Dragon.

(I would have tagged Doris but I think she has a cold. I also tag anyone else who wants to play, but let me know in the comments so I can come and see?)

Secret Santa!!!!!!!!


Oh I had two posts lined up for today - one following on from yesterday's plus one because Zilla tagged me for a meme.

Scrap that, sorry it's all on hold.

I woke up to the postman ringing the doorbell this morning (over here the letter boxes are built into the front doors and if something won't go through the hole you have to answer the door) - anyway - I got a Secret Santa!

To be fair the 'Secret' part of that is because the parcel was sent weeks and weeks ago and wasn't actually meant to be anything at all to do with Christmas - but who cares! Its Christmas and I got to open a parcel from a friend in America, full of goodies.

Way, way back in the mists of time October (can you remember that far back?) I mentioned to Jane that we never got Candy Corn in the UK. Just as far back on November 1st she bought, packed and posted me some. Well no, not some, TWO 12 oz bags, plus pop rocks and other candy and two varieties of Wonka sweets that we can't get at all over here in my corner of the UK, like Everlasting Gobstoppers. I can see Son angling to take those to school - not to eat (no sweets allowed at school over here) but to show off.

My reciprocal gift, because Jane wanted to try some, was a miserable box of English teabags - a much lighter gift that should have made its way much faster. I guess they completely fell off the boat somewhere in honour of history. That or someone somewhere is richer by a box of teabags that they never wanted!

Jane mate - now that I know we actually can post something to each other and have it arrive, I will re-send. I will also reconsider the contents given this mass of treats!

In with the parcel and rather crumpled from the journey were some pictures - one of Jane and Tarzan and a couple of their pet, who is gorgeous. Nine year old Daughter is oohing and cooing and wants to adopt the pet. She has also decided that Tarzan looks a bit like Big Son. I am waiting for 'we must be related' and then 'can we go visit?' Give it an hour or so.

Me - under duress from the kids I ripped open a bag of candy corn as soon as it got here and we had one piece each. It's delicious. It's also a little bullet packed with corn syrup and not to be attempted on an empty stomach before your system is functioning in the morning. I intend on eating a good few more once I've peeled my sugar-shot self back off the ceiling and had about six cups of coffee. Yes, I think six should do it.

Jane - THANK YOU!!!! I keep looking at your face in the picture. It so explains you - so joyful and unassuming and gentle and up for a laugh. It belongs to you, exactly the way you come across in your blog. I hope you don't mind me saying.

Maybe its the sugar rush, but while I wouldn't mind a brick in my stomach to settle things back down, I have no intention of wiping this huge grin off my face, all day.

29 December 2005

Who, Do What?

Have you ever had people come up to you and say "Oh! Don't you look like 'So-and-so'!"

Sometimes it's meant as a compliment and sometimes it's downright evil. Nonetheless, thanks to Tanda (who commented somewhere else on another blog), my mind has started collecting all the famous faces I have been accused of emulating, over the years.

In rough order, if I can manage it then:

Up until about 16 my mother used to tell me how I looked soooo like Lena Zavaroni. Thanks, mum.

Soon after that a couple of very nice friends at senior school decided to name me Crystal, of Crystal Tips and Alastair. I tell ya, my hair has never done what it was told. At least, I admit, it was the time when metal hair combs were the fashion. I couldn't use them - they just bent - it even became a party trick of mine.


Tidying it didn't really help - that involved practically gluing it down and only got me compared to Princess Anne. I never, ever owned a Hermes headscarf; promise.

Thankfully, along came Maureen Lipman and while the first series of Agony lasted on TV I was for once more than happy to be told how much I look like someone. Her character, Jane Lucas, was funny and droll and she was a female star with brains; pretty rare stuff, then. I could definitely live with that. So, Maureen, if you ever find this post (haha I can hope) and you are related to the Russian Jewish George family who settled in North Wales - then, coooee!

In my early twenties I took my angst out on my hair, tried to go blonde, which didn't work but left me with this translucent copper coloured stuff on my head - I kid you not - it was see-through like the synthetic angelhair you can buy for Christmas trees, but orange.

I cut it all very short and toned it down to mere ginger and spent a year or so working through the copper and chestnut shades to get back down to normal. What you said I looked like depended on how kind you were but Lennox and Manilow were the main two comparisons.

The Manilow joke stuck around a while longer on account of my eventual first marriage (what was I thinking? I blame hair dye chemicals going to the brain,) but was superceded by Ex's insistent remarks that I looked more like Ken Dodd. At the time that was dreadfully wounding because darling Ex couldn't really find anything to bitch about apart from my overbite, so he was mercilessly persistent in that. Actually I think Ken Dodd is a sweetie, and there's a solid family name connection in the not too distant past that I only discovered quite recently, so evil-bastard-ex may turn out to be not too far off the mark, after all. But that's another story.

Its OK, most people were still making (do still make) the Maureen Lipman connection. Its an honour, but there are days I wish I looked more like Annie Lennox (I am sure the only point of comparison was the cropped ginger hair) or, if I could choose anybody to look like it would be....

Jamie Lee Curtis. Sadly no-one has ever made that comparison, and if they did, they'd be lying through their teeth.

So, the whole point of this post was Tanda's comment over on Wulfweard, bless her.
I get days, moreso in the winter when I look in the mirror and think 'Aargh, bloody hell, it's Dot Cotton.'

But no, apparently, according to Tanda of the perfect china doll features, I compare to Jacqueline Pearce, aka Servalan off Blakes 7.

Yes! If I have to be compared to anybody, then I guess an oversexed dominatrix who likes to toy with her prey will do nicely, thank you very much. Result!

28 December 2005

Err, Okayyyyyy......

how jedi are you?
:: by lawrie malen

Mrs Therese John

Mrs Therese John, who this time has a Russian email address but lists one office address in Texas and another in Manchester (LiverPool street, with big P,) has emailed me today to say "Congratulation Just Won A Powerball Lotto".

Gosh, lucky me. Obviously jetting between Texas and Manchester (how cosmopolitan) has given 'her' a perfect grasp of the English language.

Apparently my email address has been chosen to win a prize from the Lottery Universe Organization. Or is it the Power Ball Lottery on line; no wait, at the bottom it says it's actually one of the games of the South Carolina Education Lottery. Which is why I have to be over eighteen.

Which is why 'all' they need to process my claim is:
  • confirmation of my email address,
  • my Social Security number
  • all my phone numbers and
  • my home address.
Oh and of course, I have to acknowledge receipt (ie return all those details) before they will give me any information about their New York / London Payment Centers. Like for example, an address, or whether they actually exist.

How strange, they don't want my bank details - I guess the money I own now is of no interest compared to the debt that could be run up in my name once they have enough info to fake my ID. Or maybe its not cash they're after, what about a nice passport instead and false citizenship?

See this thread (and the six attached archive pages) at Homeworking.com for variations on a theme. This is OLD, but sadly, judging by the numbers of these lottery emails still turning up, it must still be worth their while. As the average age of web users changes every year, its obvious that more and more older people are accessing email for the first time and coming across these scams for the first time too.


27 December 2005

So Moving Right On.............

The In-Laws got married on Boxing Day.


This year is (was) their 50th Anniversary and although MIL started inviting people in June, she did that because so many of us have no personal transport and would need to catch trains. The sum total of her concern for others extended to getting the invites out early so that people could book a hotel in time.


My older two children, who were five and six when I married Husband and whose natural sperm donor walked out and never looked back have always been desperate to be part of this family. The world and his dog, every uncontacted relative since the year dot was invited to this 'do' - were they? Were they heck.

So there we were, supposed to catch a train to Essex on Christmas Eve, to put our two youngest through Christmas Day in a hotel, just to be at this big family reunion bash on Boxing Day. Not only that, but we were expected to leave the two older ones behind.

Sure, sure. Eventually, when enough people had said they couldn't afford, MIL made arrangements for those who needed, to spend Christmas sleeping on cot beds on the floor of the local Church Hall.

Husband felt like dirt. His brothers and sisters all live nearer - they all made it, but we just couldn't, or wouldn't, or both. He really wanted to go.

So, Christmas Day, apart from getting the beginnings of the cold the rest of us have put up with for ages (excepting of course for us it was a cold, for him it was like swallowing on glass, and yes its Christmas but could we all be quiet, turn it down, tone it down etc in a bloody open plan bungalow), he was also, very fairly, grumpy as hell at his mother for being so selfish and not having the celebration a couple of days later when the trains would be running on the day.

I started cooking the dinner but let him finish it. Finish it off, more like. What with me sloshy and him full of a stinking cold, between us we somehow mucked it right up. For the sake of a bipolar friend who worries that people will talk about her if she is less than sunny, I admit that following a night with no sleep (one of many with this cold in the house), a morning on the Baileys to keep the grin firmly glued and then faced with a completely inedible Christmas dinner, well, I lost the plot. I broke a few things. Specifically I took a kitchen cupboard door off its hinges, managed to smash my very chunky mop bucket, and damaged one or two smaller items completely accidentally when the uncooked and unwanted Christmas pudding ricocheted off the kitchen walls. Talk about that.

The worst of it was Son's eventual and reverent admission that he never knew I was that strong, that the cupboard door had come down like a piece of paper and I hadn't even blinked. Ooops. It's bad enough becoming the psycho bitch from hell without realising my son now reveres acts of violence towards inanimate objects.


Husband's brother then phoned to wish us Happy Christmas (not something he's ever done before) and mention that he had taken over the role of eldest son and toastmaster for the big event and had his speech all ready for Boxing Day. Nice one, not.

Yesterday, Boxing Day, Husband tried to phone his mother to wish them well, and they weren't there. Obviously the celebration had been rescheduled for somewhere larger than the family home, equally obviously as non attendees we hadn't been told. In the end she rang him back today, a brief call to tell him what a wonderful day it had been and how many aunties he hadn't seen since he was six had showed up for it. Oh, she did sulk that not a single member of her own husband's side of the family had deigned to attend. I wonder why. Poor FIL. Nothing, not a single cursory word to ask after the kids or how we were doing. Whichever scientist is currently postulating that Aspergers is passed down the male line; well, I'd like to introduce him to MIL. Blinkers so huge she'd get into Ascot without a hat.

Today, well otherwise today was good. Big Daughter, her partner and my darling granddaughter came over for lunch and stopped all day. Even with husband constantly passing me glowering looks about the volume and refusing to drink because he was on the Lemsips. Even with him relenting but pouring himself a glass of something he got for Christmas in preference to the drink our visitors had brought, then settling down to his computer the entire time they were here - we still had a good day. To be fair to him, he looks really sallow and ropey and at least he never just disappeared to bed. I phoned Big Son on the boat while his sister was here and he was cheerful as. I phoned him at 8 this evening and he was in wracking sobs, so extremely frustrated that he couldn't draw breath to make sense. He goes out to sea at 4.30am and gets home at 7pm if he's lucky. Apart from two days off for Christmas he is doing six and seven day weeks in all weathers to try and get some money behind him. I don't suppose a long shift like that after Christmas, then coming home to the little girl he is playing house with who sits there bored stupid from 5pm (providing she went to work at all) is actually condusive to keeping one's sanity. That's always assuming she sat there. I know one of his pet peeves is that he gets to cook dinner after a 14 hour shift of physical labour and then she whines at him if he doesn't wash up and put away at ten o'clock at night - six hours before he has to be up again.

I actually think she can be quite lovely, but now they are living together she only pays one single household bill, he coughs for all the rest and she had the nerve to send us a really, really expensive, individually purchased Christmas card with ribbon and dangly bits, and sign it as from herself alone. I know who's money made it possible for her to afford that, I hardly know her, and she can't even pretend to his mother that they are a couple even while she's living under his favour. Wake up, kiddy-winky princess, quickly.

So that's my Christmas. It hurts but I love it. I love that every single person in this world is quirky and awkward and confused and all that, that we're all faulty goods. I love that sparkly baubles and heartfelt wishes might raise hopes and expectations, but that expectation is tiring and that we all show our worst sides when tired. Christmas, like death and having a crap, is a real leveller.

Christmas is over, for me at least. There is residual booze in the house and that's nice, the decorations won't come down until the sixth, a day after the kids go back to school, but I have had my annual dose of family. Eight days left to make the most of my children.

Now I want some action. Like Bart, I'm awake, I know whats wrong with life (I have a long list) and now I am all revved up to do something about it. Like Bart says, the only question is what.


26 December 2005

A Wall Full Of Dildos

Okay so my recent posts may look like they belong in the life-or-death diary of a maudlin teenager. Or to put it another way, perhaps a tad on the intense side of things. Or maybe not.

Sod it, I shall stop blaming my writing/myself and just admit I would like to do a funny post now.


Nope, not up to it. Would like to, but can't think of one.

As a total cop-out then, and to explain the title above, this time last year we went to the sales...........

Teeth Rattlers

I heard some time ago that Boots were going to start selling dildos, but if its happened yet, it hasn't reached our little suburban branch on the predominantly geriatric seaside belt; maybe they had a fit of conscience about the increased sale of smelling salts or blood pressure meds to be caused by the sight, but I doubt it. That's typical of this town, you can't buy a shoe here bigger than a size six that doesn't resemble a man's footwear or something orthopaedic.

Anyhow, I took a trip to Brighton the other day and popped in to Ann Summers. The designs of lingerie they sell are truly stunning, but most of the fabrics are just too naff to my mind. One step round the nylon lace and polyester satin, however, and you are faced with two walls of 'equipment', with the delineation made by a change from pink flimsies to the more strappy garments, although very few at a cursory glance looked like good leather and I suspect that the Barbarella style body suits complete with or without strapadictomy wouldn't really hold the weight they were designed to semi enclose. It all seemed a bit like sun suits as opposed to bathing suits, which look way better on the beach than their similarly priced cousins but are ruined if you get them wet........

Back to the point of this post which was the single wall, full, like a factory outlet, of two designs of dildo. Well not dildos specifically, things called rabbits. I don't know what it is about my ego, but even if I were going to start a huge collection of the things, I wouldn't buy from a wall full in a shop where it would seem that they were the fastest selling item. Where did I lose track with the world? I mean sanitary protection is necessary and a whole rack of tampons in Boots is quite a normal sight, even if its not much fun parading a bumper box of Super Plus to the till in a little shopping basket. Whole ranges of razors and waxes and tweezers for every part of the body are fine too because just about every female removes body hair, in varying amounts. I guess I cant wrap my head round the bold suggestion made in the Ann Summers shop that every woman needs, desires, or habitually buys a wanking machine that can fizz, buzz and contort beyond human capability. Do the seedier sex shops (oh gosh and by seedier I guess I mean male orientated, so there's sexism for you - sorry!) give pride of place to a huge wall full of blow up dolls, or to get the packaging size correct and therefore the numbers on display, mechanical vaginas? Maybe they do; my curiosity will never be piqued sufficiently to go and find out.

I quite fancied a bit of fun, but the idea of joining an army of electronically stimulated women all making Duracell very very rich in an attempt to constantly reach tongue-lolling idiocy was somehow a huge turn off and if there had been more of a selection and less of a display I might have hung around to learn something.

I hate walking out of a shop with a red face, but as I left Ann Summers all I could imagine was a long line of women all hanging on to their rabbits for dear life like they were upturned road drills, and wobbling off all over the place going 'moo'.

Sky Falling?

Society, when it works, provides guidance. "There but for the Grace of God go I" is not a cliche or a pat phrase. Within us all are the powers to fear, hate, rationalise, aspire, desire. Heck, desire, aspiration and 'righteous control' were in our first directives, right up there with sex, if you go by Genesis - Go forth and multiply, subdue the earth etc etc. Going forth takes desire and aspiration, because the alternative is to stay put with a nice cup of tea. Oops, scrap the cuppa, that would involve desiring one.

Society when it works too well, when its guidance is absorbed too completely by a good soul, by a young and trusting heart, ceases to be such a benefit. Every one of us, at some point, has absorbed a social lesson about etiquette, manners, morals and taken it on board as gospel - as the way to achieve approval and validation. Behaving in such and such a manner makes you an officially 'nice' person. Words like never, couldn't, shouldn't, must, mustn't all creep in.

Later on you might witness or read of someone breaking that social taboo and understand with your rational mind how much damage is or is not done. It might be something as big as committing murder, or as small as farting in the checkout line at the supermarket. You might choose to forgive, or even sympathise, but these feelings are directed toward the person and not the action.

Hard wired into your head by that point is the idea that, for example, if Mrs Jones ever 'let one rip' in public there would be gossip, curiosity but no condemnation, whereas if you'd done it, the sky would fall down and you would be forced to take up a hermitage and beat yourself with sticks for ever and ever - that you would never live it down.

Some of us set ourselves personal standards that outstrip what we expect of others. All of us had parents and teachers who too often said "you must" when they meant "ideally", and even that was subjective.

One thing is certain. We are meant to grow, to learn, to communicate, to investigate. We might have 'the best' in mind as a goal, but we are designed to spend a lifetime figuring out what that really is. What matters, what we stand for, these are not finite. They cannot be boxed and neatly tied in ribbon and handed to us by even the most well meaning parents. We all start out in adult life with an embedded set of personal standards. If you ever say to yourself not
'This is how I believe I should be' but
'This is how I must/should be (or the sky will fall down)'
then you are heading for a fall.

We are all imperfect. There is no such thing as an 'off the peg' lifestyle.

The life you define too solidly becomes like a hair shirt a size too small. The first abrasions are misread as proof that you have self control, that you have self denial, that you have morals and principles. If your rules for yourself are too harsh, however, then the seams will chafe constantly, silently, secretly, digging into your skin somewhere or other with every move that you make. One day you will wake up screaming and rip the whole thing to shreds to get away from the itch. Call it manic depression, call it a bipolar episode, call it a nervous breakdown, a mid-life crisis or just plain 'throwing a right wobbly'; anything you like. It will be yours and individual to you.

Funnily enough, it's not the end of the world. If your mind blows a fuse, If you can't seem to gel with this world, if you are confused or panicked at the lack of reaction, the lack of explosions and loud condemnations, if you suddenly feel invisible, then please, read Ecclesiastes chapter one, verses one to eleven. They don't make much sense unless you're there, but if you are in the black depths of depression then they sing. Honestly.

Happy New Year, or if this is you, now, then happy new, more forgiving life (a new shirt - may this one be cool, loose silk!)

And speaking of singing, in the words of James, the musician, not the apostle:

Those who find themselves ridiculous, sit down next to me.

21 December 2005

Christmas Wishes and a late Meme

I had a brilliant idea for a post today, haha. I was going to blow the google page rank and sacrifice any status beyond that of an amoeba at TTLB, by listing and linking to every one of you, to say Happy Christmas.

I had a couple of words to say to each of my 'friends' - the daily reads, and the people who have become email friends as well as blog commenters.

I had a couple of words to say about all the others, the people who I rarely visit and who rarely visit me, but when we cross paths they are kind and funny, open and welcoming.

I've been keeping all my blog comments since March this year, with a separate folder for 'off blog' stuff. Hotmail isn't playing and won't let me order them alphabetically and well, wow. I bit off more than I can chew. Too, too many nice people.

I'm not going to mess about listing the few most valued friends, because that would involve creating a cut-off point - it was alpahabetical or nothing, and I'm stuffed. So, so many nice people that I have real reason to wish good things, on top of a Happy Christmas, that I don't know where to start. I may mention a few now, but I'm not going to link.

This brings me back to a meme that Annie (Host Of Spirits) set. It had stumped me, but now, knowing what I'd wish to each of you and seeing what that means about me, I am ready to answer.

The things I would wish for myself boil down to wishing for a real, all consuming purpose.
Not just your usual 'get up in the morning and make the world a better place or achieve something' type purpose. I realise I need feedback. I need to be involved with others. I want to work from home because my family comes first and God gave me a chaotic, wonky, wonderful family, which means I need to be (am) 'on call', but that involves a lot of hanging around. I want to fill the 'me time' with a challenge, a bit of inspiration, and with something thats needed by someone else. I need to be needed - it puts a spring in my step and makes me work harder, I need to make an end product that somebody else can be pleased with, or help me improve. I wish for myself:
  • a purpose
  • a passion
  • a focus
  • a learning curve
  • to be part of a team
  • to be making a difference
  • to be excited to get up in the morning because today (every day) I am going to find out something wonderful, hug somebody new, make someone smile right when they really could use it, and make this wonderful, exciting world a better place.
What I would wish for the world:

I wish that there would be a quiet coup. I wish that, irrespective of who has office, whose 'job it is', that the secret poets, the quiet souls, the hopers and huggers would just get up and take over. That they would work a little more openly, just a little further outside of their comfort zones, to make the world a better place. That, in doing this, they would spot each other and start an underground support network, a mental list of good guys, of people who have 'the plan'.

I wish that the world was run by those that can really see other people - hopes, fears, needs, deceits, and act peacefully and fairly according to those; that the world was run, street by street, bus stop by bus stop, based on whats fair. People like the empaths (I know too many of you to list), the righteous, the balancers, the open minded; the ones like Rachel From North London who can hate the sin but love the sinner - sort out the mess and undo the damage without retaliation. Even just chipping at it, by making the world one tiny bit less chaotic at a time.

I would like to wish the world a bigger dose of...
  • faith
  • love
  • wisdom
  • discernment.
....the thing is, I can't. They're already here, by the bucketload. Hiding.

For Christmas then, and for the New Year, I wish you a softer, kinder, more forgiving world. I wish you the joy of seeing someone else do the right thing, be the bigger man, be a hero and a peacemaker and a healer. If you take that role, then I wish you validation. I wish us all the thrill of knowing that all the ifs and wishes that float around in our heads aren't our own little secrets; that there IS love and patience and common sense in this world and that they can and do make a difference. I want you to see and feel good karma in action.

I wish for each and every one of us to find the friends and the reasons to rekindle hope and enthusiasm, not just for our families but for humanity. To begin to be the people we knew we were supposed to be, back when we were small and innocent and cuddled up in love and hope and trust.

Faith, hope and charity, guys.

And joy in it. It's never too late to smile.

19 December 2005

Getting to know you

(I remember this as an email for the last 2 years - happy to see it as a blog meme instead.)

Welcome to the 2005 edition of getting to know your friends. What you are supposed to do is copy this entire blog entry and paste it onto a new blog entry that you'll post. Change all the answers so they apply to you, and then publish! Leave a comment if you do this.The theory is that you will learn a lot of little (random) things about your friends, if you did not know them already.

What time did you get up this morning?
6 am - husband got up
6.15 am - husband mulling around
6.30 am - ditto
6.45 am - husband woke me again to say goodbye
7 am - Son came and blew on my face to see if I was awake
7.30 am - Son came to see if I was any more awake yet
8 am - Son came to tell me he was going to play his computer, quietly, so as not to wake me up
8.30 am - Son wanted to know if it was breakfast time yet.

Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds. Although I don't rate white stones at all - would sooner have amethyst and peridot and citrine and garnet. All at once, of course. Don't like dark stones or blue stones, either.

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
I think it was the first Harry Potter. Not a big cinema-goer.

What is your favourite TV show?
Lost, I guess.

What do you usually have for breakfast?
Favourite cuisine?
Prawn biriani.

What food do you dislike?
Anything where you can't see the meat for the sauce.

What is your favourite CD at the moment?
Haven't put a CD on by my own choice since, ooh, about 1991.

Morning or night person?
Neither, very antitemporal. Night I guess.

Favourite sandwich?
Hot bacon & brie, or bacon & burger in ciabatta.

What characteristic do you despise?
I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.

Favourite item of clothing?
Nope, hate the lot.

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be?
Somewhere up a mountain, with some serious views and thinking air.

What colour is your bathroom?

Favourite brand of clothing?
No idea. I've been a mum for 22 years, you expect me to have shopped at 'brands'?

Where would you retire to?

What was your most memorable birthday?
The one where my husband finally took me out, then wanted us to go home at nine o'bloody clock because he was tired. So memorable it still gets my blood pressure.

Favourite sport to watch?
Teenage boys on the pull / on a bus - soooo funny. Like the way they start sitting like they have a removal van between their legs and get loud about all the daring things they did (not do) yesterday.

Who do you least expect to complete this?
I have no expectations, I'm not that sort!

What is your shoe size?
7.5 to 8

Currently 1 cat and 4 guinea pigs.

Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us?
Oh, yes, I did two loads of laundry today. In my life, that's excitement.

What did you want to be when you were little?
A fairy godmother.

What is your favourite flower?
Tiny English bluebells, especially the rare ones that come up pink.

What date on the calendar are you looking forward to?
26th December 2005. All the fuss over. Egg, chips, Branston and cold turkey for lunch, and I don't even cook it. Bliss.

One word to describe the person who you snaffled this from?
There isn't one word. Try realist, optimist, intelligent, feminist, moral, funny; erm, I hardly know her but I could still go on.................

18 December 2005


Flash git Husband has gone blogger.

Joy To The World

Joy to the World, for grandad's drunk
And thinks that he can sing.
My patience has been tested, he's going to be arrested
For waggling his thing,
For waggling his thing,
For flashing the neighbours, and waggling his thing.

Joy to the earth, the roast is burnt,
We gave it to the cat,
Who may be on a winner, but we've no sodding dinner
And that's the end of that,
And that's the end of that,
Its scorched beyond all buggery, and that's the end of that.

No more shall I be doing this,
I simply can't be arsed.
The kids are really crying, they're wailing like they're dying;
They could be, pretty fast,
They could be pretty fast,
Don't push it, I've had enough, you could be, pretty fast.

God, did I drink so bloody much?
I'm feeling rather queer,
But thank you baby Jesus, we didn't fuck the cheeses,
Its only once a year,
Its only once a year,
So smile and remember this, its only once a year.

In honour of Ella M's anti-Carols.

Christmas Letter

Delete as applicable then [post to North Pole/stuff up chimney/thrust into street-corner-Santa's collection tin], as desired:

Dear [Santa Claus / Saint Nicolas / Father Christmas / Pagan Troll / Obese Trespassing Altruist / Satan Claus - Devourer of Children's Souls],

This year, I have been a very [good / bad / materialistic / passive aggressive / manipulative / Ritalin-addled] little [boy / girl / TV watcher / advertising tampon].

I have [not / sometimes / compulsively] [lied / cheated / embezzled / pillaged / murdered], and I have [always / often / rarely / never] helped my [mommy / daddy / grandma / grandpa / brother / sister / mommy's "special friend" / other daddy] with their [chores / homework / taxes / pyramid schemes / colostomy bag].

I always say thank you, which makes me [nice / polite / seem like I care] and so I deserve lots of [love / presents / blank checks / age-inappropriate pants] this year.

Please bring all this stuff for me and the people in my life:

For my mommy, please bring [perfume / earrings / Valium / fruit / leather panties / the onset of menopause / daddy's testicles in a vice].

For my daddy, please bring a new [neck tie / razor / money clip / dead-end job / Rogaine prescription / topaz-studded ass plug].

For my [big / little] [brother / sister], please bring [a soccer ball / fingernail polish / Legos / GI Joe / Barbie / methadone / Newport Lights 100's / a diaphragm / a subscription to Guns & Ammo].

For my [doggy / hamster / ferret], please bring [a chew toy / a cableknit sweater / kibble / breath mints / a homeopathic heartworm remedy / non- surgical sterilization].

Oh ­ and for my [babysitter / mail man / cleaning lady / pool boy / case worker], please bring some [fruit cake / coupons / worthless tchotchkes / work ethic].

Now about me! Please bring me all of the [Harry Potter / Scooby Doo / Spider Man / Star Wars / Spongebob Squarepants / Anna Nicole Smith] [action figures / videos / breakfast cereal / pajamas / sheets / beer coozies / toilet paper], and front row tickets to [Eminem / Britney Spears / Aaron Carter / Mary-Kate and Ashley / GWAR / Philip Glass] ­ plus backstage passes so I can get [autographs / behind the scenes / coked up / airborne chlamydia].

Oh, and please don’t forget to bring my [pool / go-kart / jet-ski / pony / Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0 / amputee Afghan orphan]. But if you can't, just remember that more than anything Santa, what I really really want is just [£ / $] [100 / 1000 / 10,000 / 100,000 / 1,000,000 / 10,000,000 / $100,000,000].

Anyway, I hope you like the [cookies / cake / pudding / Jell-O / meatloaf / cognac / eight-ball] I left out for you.

[Love / Sincerely / Yours / Breathlessly],

[ insert name here ]

P.S. Please say
[hi / hello / sit and swivel / Merry Christmas] to [Rudolph / Mrs. Claus / the baby Jesus / Ralph, the heartless Elfin slavemaster].

P.P.S. Oh yeah, and remember [insert name here]? [He / She] has been a really [naughty / selfish / corrupt / perverted / homicidal] [dork / weener / cry-baby / coprophile / vivisection] hobbyist all year long and doesn't deserve any Christmas presents. So please don’t forget to put [coal / sticks / homework / dog shit / ebola] in their stocking.


17 December 2005


I heard a rumour -

Is it really true that a standard Burger King burger costs 49 cents (27p) in the US?

We get 'special deals' occasionally that make certain small items only 99p ($1.70), but mostly burgers starts at £1.99 ($3.50) and the meals are all in the £4 ($7) range.

No answers yet, the nearest to telling was finartist's comment but I don't know if she's joking. The cheapest meat for home cooking in the UK is ground beef (we call it mince) at about £1 per pound on the low quality end of the range. Most meats are about £5 a kilo/£2.50 a pound.

It doesn't matter. I guess I should have asked the price of a MacDonalds quarter pounder, lovingly known in our family as a plastic-burger. To be honest its been so long since I looked at either, I'd still have to ask someone else in the UK to confirm out prices in case they've gone up.

Someone claims to have heard this 49 cents price and got the idea that any sort of over the counter hamburger in America costs a quarter to a half the UK price. They took the info on board as true and were saying things like 'no wonder some Americans live on the things and eat four at a time.'

I just wondered. It wouldn't surprise me because I remember just over a year ago when the petrol (gas) prices went up and there was this huge outcry from American friends, moaning how expensive it was going to be to regularly drive 400 miles to see family. In the UK you'd have to position yourself first to drive much more than that (or even as far as that) without running out of dry land altogether. It all seemed upside down and back to front, when we worked out Americans were paying a half to a third as much for their gas at that point in time and up in arms about a price hike. A bit like seeing how the other half lived.

So I just thought I'd ask.

16 December 2005

Mad Cow Disease - For Doris

Dear Doris, in a very tactful 'psssst' sort of way (putting the seventies Schweppes adverts to shame) has had occasion twice, recently, to correct my facts on this blog.

The annual 'for-the-kids / because-its-expected' gross pig-out with complimentary family arguments is actually next Sunday, not next Friday.

Under normal, more anal circumstances, when being 'on the ball' is everything to me (no thats not the one my parents missed when they cut mine off at birth nor the one on my husband that I have yet to scare into permanently living somewhere up inside,) - under normal circumstances I would be desperately grateful for the information and eternally beholden to anyone who would save me from looking like a prat for a second longer than necessary.

Currently, however, it is just another fact to absorb; another number to crunch whilst dispassionately and logically calculating how near certifiable I have become in the last week or so.

I think it's early onset senility.

When the men in white coats arrive, I shall be the first to comfort and reassure them that it's perfectly understandable and probably overdue.

Put it this way:

Today I went to the local supermarket with my son. In the drinks aisle I made one retired gentleman look truly uncomfortable and confused by adamantly grumbling about how, since the shop changed hands, they had stopped stocking my beloved Aqua Vita*, the best, most deliciously antacid drink available if you happen to overdo it at Christmas.

I meant Aqua Libra, and my darling son considered his options for five or so minutes too long before educating me on the error, after which discourse I forgot what aqua vita actually was and felt obliged to ask him, loudly. He's alright Jack, he scarpered back off to Eastbourne. We, however, have only one supermarket in Dead-End-By-Sea and now I need a head transplant before I dare go back in. I guess we'll be living on buttercups and fillet de guinea-pig until Husband takes back the financial reins and associated shopping duties.

Forgetting what day is Christmas is bloody peanuts, really.

* NOTE: As evidenced by googling for the term, not everybody has adopted the slang meaning for this latin phrase literally translated as 'water of life', but by the look on that elderly gentleman's face its farely obvious, in retrospect, that he assumed I meant piddle.

Christmas Spirit

We all know that people are the same
wherever you go
There's good and bad in everyone
We learn to live, we learn to give each other
What we need to survive
Together alive

When McCartney and Stevie Wonder sang that it was all about race relations within a single, western society. Maybe I was blinded by consumerism when I first heard it, but for me it seems to take on more and more of a global reference.

I'm so glad I don't work for a big company. I'm so glad my husband's work doesn't have a Christmas 'do'. I'm so glad I am out of the sales driven loop of party dresses, party shoes, hair-dos and alcohol, shopping trips and lunches out, the lot. The blind little rat run that convinces you all these things are desired or even necessary. The consumerist trap that waves sparkly things at us and cashes in as we behave like brainless, enthralled magpies. The one that has us all looking in the mirror, sucking in the gut, comparing our finery, our income, our attitude and 'party spirit' to those around us until consumerism becomes a measure of having a good time, and having a good time becomes a measure of entering into the spirit of the season.

One day when the kids are bigger, I may slip back in to that life - never say never - but today I know I will sit down to a huge Turkey dinner next Friday, ostensibly in the name of Christ and of peace and of goodwill to all men. At some point in the day I will mentally shut the door on the outside world and wallow in a comfort of my own making, one that relates only to my nearest and dearest, to myself and to the satsumas, nuts, chocolates, or what movie is on the telly. At the moment that happens I will consider it to be all good Christmas Cheer. All will be right with the world, in my tiny brain, simply because all will be indulged, in 'my' world.

It's not right, is it.


Courtesy of a comment by Doris, Zilla asked what 'sussed' means.

I can't think of another word in the English language that means exactly the same thing as suss. It sort of means to comprehend; more 'knowing how things go'.

Relating to people, as in 'you've been sussed' it means that your motives have been discovered, you have been caught out. Relating to information, it means that the fact has been established, or that you have worked something out (worked out a piece of information, worked out how to do something, etc.)

Example one: John sussed how to work the washing machine. He has that machine well sussed, now.

Example two: The kids finish school today. I've just sussed that I can't do any Christmas shopping now, unless I take them with me.

Example three: Don't even try telling me you are sweet and innocent, because I know better, I've got you sussed.

The root word is suspicion. At one point the British police were allowed to stop and search anyone looking suspicious. It was called the Sus law. If you looked like a hairy unkempt college student and were driving your beat up old car through a posh area, you could be stopped on suspicion - 'on sus'. The law was changed when statistics showed that the colour of a person's skin was influencing police decisions on whether or not they 'looked suspicious'. Nonetheless there were some successes, some youths thwarted and moved on, even if not finally arrested. From there the phrase slipped into the vernacular - "Ha ha, you were well sussed" meaning 'They saw right through you, mate." The reference to sussing things, facts and procedures developed from sussing people and their motives, once the word was in common use.

So, Ella, yes the bin day is the trash collection day; you sussed it.


Right - in answer to the question about what we are throwing out, here - lets start with everything on the children's bedroom floors. OK well, not everything, but that means allowing them to pick the 'must keep' items out from between the old homework, drawings et al, plus salvaging a few odd dirty socks might be handy.
I also refuse to have to move laundry to reach the dinner table on Christmas day, nor the piles of paper jokingly referred to as my in-tray (in tray, out tray, procrastination tray and WTF tray, really), nor to stand on said items to hang decorations prior to the event.

Father Christmas doesn't deliver a damn thing to kids if he sees last year's stuff all over the place. I mean, what's the point?

Sadly this means that I have to also personally live by the rule I set - everything gets tidy or Christmas doesn't happen. I never put up a decoration until this place shines without them, and it only does that once a year. That's why decorations have been known to go up at 2 am on Christmas morning. Yes, some years Santa even brings the deccies, and nobody notices if I'm a zombie - I mask it under cooking the dinner and avoiding being in the photos, after which I mask it under a couple of large drinks.


Darling eldest son is making a brief appearance today, so I am stuck indoors. He was prompted to phone by the death of the crew from that other trawlerthat upturned off Beachy Head, so close to Eastbourne Marina. I should imagine (but didn't ask) that the vessel he was on that day actually saw the other ship on its radar and never thought anything of it. There was no distress beacon so by radar alone, everything would have appeared normal. So many 'if's.

Down here they are all small, four to six man vessels and amongst the fishermen, everybody knows everybody. Basically he rang to let me know he was safe, but it shook him up. He is ADHD and bluffs a lot, and I guess he is coming to see me because I understand. The louder his jokes get, the sillier he becomes, the more it means something inside him is going round in smaller and smaller circles doing the 'oh fuck oh fuck' dance. Its a brilliant act - everyone else just thinks he's invulnerable to the point of being callous and a bit of a prat. I sat through an hour long call yesterday as he bragged and joked about how crabbing (what he does) is the most dangerous job in the world. Then he told me someone had tried to bite his ear off, but that it was OK, the guy is already due to 'go down' in a few months for doing the same to a policeman a while back. But he had dirty teeth. The tooth holes have all been glued, but it's infected, and I am not to faint or go apeshit, under orders.

As to the upturned boat - the gizmo that floats to the surface and automatically starts sending a distress call just never worked. The kid who survived managed to grab hold of two of his friends/family at one point but just didn't have the physical strength to pull them up on to the hull. Poor, poor little sod. His uncle drowned inside the boat, underneath him, during the five hour wait to be spotted.

I was going to go shopping. I was going to play house and tidy up. Instead I will be comforting my son by his rules - never forcing him to say he is in shock. All the real communication will be a subliminal undercurrent (fuck, wrong word;) all in the eyes, and tea and biscuits and comfort food, and extra big hugs at coming in and leaving. Officially he is running past with money for presents for his little brother and sister, and that's the way we'll play it, but knowing his knack for sorting out gifts and occasions six to eight weeks after the event, if at all, we both know he just needed half a day to 'come home'.

13 December 2005

I (Heart) Ambrose Bierce!

Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
US author & satirist (1842 - 1914)

Confused? See this.

Hippo Blog Bathday

Happy happy blog birthday to LibraryLady.

Ah. Ok. So I'm four days late. Life got in the way of my reading plans and I only just found the link.

I had no idea she had only been blogging here a couple of weeks less than me, either. It doesn't show and has made me think I need to pull my finger out and concentrate on being both funny and professional. She outshines me by miles.

Or maybe I won't. Maybe I'll leave that sort of excellence to people like LibraryLady; along with the scarily impressive hit count etc. I mean, me and mental discipline, or organisation, or little things like remembering which way is up, where I put next Tuesday and how long it is til my shoes, well they just don't 'go'.

Anyway - it's a bit brilliant to have been linked by LL, let alone praised up, but a huge HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY is well deserved, even without such a compliment.

If you've not visited before - pop over to her blog to say Many Happy Returns?

12 December 2005

The Doppler Effect for Dummies

AKA Ball Bashing.

Well, for Doris actually - hardly a dummy, but here we go.

Hello Doris.

Imagine I am 100 miles away from you and we are both standing completely still.

Because its Christmas, I am utilising my magic, umbrella style, multidirectional tree bauble gun, and its shooting out lovely Christmas tree baubles in every direction. No problem, they're quite light and shatterproof.

This grand emission happens once every minute. Because I am superwoman and I said so.

They are all travelling at exactly 100 miles an hour, so, barring obstructions, the first of my luvverly glittery tree balls zooming out in your direction, is going to land in your lap exactly one hour after I shot it at you.


Thats because it will need the hour to travel the 100 miles between us.

Because we both remain still, the next ball will take just as long, leaves me a minute after the first one and so gets to you exactly a minute after the first one lands. And so on.

Fine so far. In a formula, the frequency with which you get hit by my yuletide baubles, f', is exactly the same as the frequency that my magical umbrella thingy lobs them out, f0.

f' = f0.

So, now I start steaming towards you at ten miles a minute. I am still chucking out balls at one a minute from my perspective, but the second one only has ninety miles to travel. The third one only has eighty miles to travel. So they hit you slightly quicker each time, right?

If I was running away from you (or more likely, you were running from me) so we instead got further apart from each other by ten miles a minute, then the second ball would have to cover 110 miles, the third 120 miles, etc etc and although I let 'em rip exactly a minute apart, they would take more than a minute between balls to reach you, because each one has to travel progressively further.

Boring maths bit

V = velocity of a christmas tree ball (100 miles an hour) and
Vs = equals the velocity of the source of the balls (ie me), and
V0 = equals the velocity of the observer (ie you, and in this case thats a zero, unless you have begun running away already,) then

See, V/V = 1, always. So if we both stay still, f' = f0(1)

End of boring maths bit

This works for anything with a frequency, like wave forms. That means light, sound.

It doesn't matter what the frequency is at the source (me and my umbrella thingy), if you and I are getting closer, no matter which one of us is moving (could be both), then whatever is being emitted, will accost your senses at a higher frequency than that. White light appears bluer, fire engine nee-naws sound higher pitched. Higher perceived frequency.

If we are moving apart then the perceived frequency drops; white light looks reddish, fire engine noise becomes a lower drone.

Of course, If I was travelling faster than 100 miles an hour, ie faster than my magic baubles, I would break through the ball barrier, and be behind you before you even got hit.

But that's another story.

The posh scientific version here.

Skintone and Sausagemeat

Catching up on my Dear Prudie (which I love because I usually disagree with her,) I actually found a question that set me thinking.

I have proper Welsh skin. I say that, but to be honest, having Celtic skin is like being a kind of first degree mongrel. If we were all dogs, the rest of the world would be all the shades of grey between black and white, we'd be the spotty ones.

Obviously there is black heritage in there somewhere, just for the freckles. I also have a lot of red in my very dark hair. Under the freckling on me, however, is the very palest, porcelain skin and I have spent my whole life consciously weathering it to the point that I can at least wear a generic 'light' foundation cream; remembering how jealous I was, as a child, that my equally freckled mother had 'normal' (aka: vaguely healthy looking) skin.

As a teenager, when things like makeup were important, there were very few brands that had a foundation as light as my skin. Several called anaemic names like porcelain or alabaster were way too dark and of the few remaining options, most had too much pink in them and looked like I had smeared my face with lipstick or eyeshadow. Ridiculous. It was worse in the summer - the sallow whiteness, where it was, never changed, but my freckles went so dark that those ever-spreading splodges had the equal and opposite problem that more evenly dark skinned women will already recognise.

I'm a barleywhite kinda gal, the extreme pale end of the olive range. (F.y.i. I'd love black skin. It's stronger, and it doesn't wrinkle so damn fast.)

Come summer, as my school friends headed proudly towards exotic sun-bronzed shades of toffee, I was the one who stayed whiter than white, only my freckles multiplied and darkened to the colour of tar. The standing joke was that I sunbathed under a tea strainer or a sieve.

I'm not up to speed on racial acceptance in America. Is it really true that there is less racism pointed at hispanic types, than at blacks?

Heres the question to Prudie, that foxed me :
Dear Prudence,

I am black, with a light complexion, as is my immediate family—without any white parent or grandparent. I have often been in the position of going to school or working in an almost entirely white environment where whites have had little personal contact with blacks. Often they will tell me they thought I was Native American or Mexican. I have no trouble with this, but some will often say to me in a tone that suggests a compliment, "You don't look black," which I find insulting. Light or not, I am black, and resent any implication that I should be proud that I do not "look black." I usually respond, "Blacks are both light and dark, so I do look black." I'm not sure the people who make these comments realize it is insulting, and sometimes I want to say, "You don't look white to me," as many whites look like my family and we are all black. Any suggestions on handling this?

—Black and Proud

(Here's the original, with the disconcertingly defensive answer.)

Okay, I don't get it.

Obviously people have got to know this guy before the subject of heritage comes up. Obviously the people who get to that point already know him for who he is - a person - and already like him. Presumably up until then, he was getting on OK with them, too, and I guess if any were bigots or racists, he'd already know it, as they would have made their derogatory remarks about blacks in general in his earshot, unaware of his nationality.

Why would you say 'Oh, but you don't look black' in a chummy, sort of conspiratorial way?

I can only think of two reasons, once you know a person that well, and the most likely is embarrassment. The same sort of embarrassment as if you handed someone a bunch of flowers not knowing they were allergic. Its an apology.

You don't look = I couldn't tell = I didn't know = sorry if I offended.

The poor sod saying something like that is waiting for a smile, for forgiveness; they are waiting to know if their unwitting mistake has caused offence.

The other possible reason (which ought to be less likely in this day and age) is that perhaps some will have some residual awkwardness. Not the racism of others, but still the remains of fear. For some (and not just whites) really getting to know and like your first person of a particular other colour or race is scary - like talking to someone gay or lesbian *(hang on, hang on, don't get mad, I have examples). Not because you think less of them, but because this didn't factor in your upbringing and you find yourself in unknown, uncharted social territory, panicked not that this person might be tainted, but that you don't know how to behave. If you don't socialise with whites, you expect them to have certain attitudes, habits and sensitivities. And vice versa.

* I'm sure half the French still think all Brits have ginger hair and freckles, eat very thin cucumber sandwiches and would throw up at the smell of garlic. The first thing a nice person who genuinely held those odd beliefs might do would be to panic about their garlic breath and take a step or two back. Then look at the way so much TV and movie humour relies on two good friends, and one 'comes out' as gay and the other gets all panicky and scared to touch. No hatred, no bigotry, just social confusion and panic, and everybody laughs.

I remember finding out that in one of the Asian religions, showing a person the soles of your shoes or feet was an abonimable insult. Growing up in Southall, I clearly remember that sinking sense of shock because I like to sit on a chair with one leg crossed; reeling at the thought of how many people I had happily and innocently waggled the sole of that foot at, that I had inadvertantly insulted.

It's etiquette panic.

Have you never brought Birthday cream cakes into an office, to find that one of your friends is quietly observing Ramadan?

Anyway, those are the only two reasons I can come up with. In both cases the 'white' (or the 'straight') is looking for guidance, or more likely for reassurance that they havent completely offended this person a million times already, and that's all.

Surely, if you were on the receiving end of such a comment, the question shouldn't be 'Am I being asked to be pleased to appear non-black', but 'Why am I reacting so fiercely and aggressively at someone admitting they thought I was white? Am I insulted by whiteness?'

Who is the racist in this situation?

Probably neither - they are just two genuine, amenable acquaintances thrust into a bloody awkward situation.

So far, genetic testing can link you back to one of 36 maternal lines and one of only 15 male lines. I would have to guess that, with the right information, these distinct branches could be linked again, eventually reducing the numbers.

The bottom line is, we are all related, all interrelated across the millennia. There have always been travellers. There have always been wars, with the exotically different women pilfered like trophies, or sampled and left to deal with the consequences. Ghengis Khan lived only 800 years ago, yet he shagged the best women from every tribe he defeated and already an estimated 16 million men carry his exact Y chromosome as direct ancestors. That's the same as saying 89% of the total male population of California today. (census)

Being black isn't about the colour of your skin, is it. Its a name for a (in the scheme of things, recent) group heritage. If it is about your ancient heritage, then you're the one with the problem. Don't get me started on whether your ancestor's isolated mud hut or cave was better than mine. And no that's not taking the piss - in the UK people were painting themselves blue with wode not too long ago.

Nobody needs a badge to know who they are. And as far as skin goes? We're all on a sliding scale of sausage, from well fried to clammy and raw, which has no bearing on whether you or I are a nice person or a bit of an arsehole, or whose ancestors were the meanest.

You don't look black? You don't look Scandinavian-Arian? Me either. Big bloody deal. Live with it.

11 December 2005

The Spreading Infection?

Well that's what MommyGuilt called it, and she gave it to me. Its a meme - a ten things you didn't know about me, thing.

I really don't want to scan a whole year of posts to see what I haven't said already, so forgive repeats.
  1. I hate pork scratchings
  2. If a strip light (Fluorescent light) is on the way out, before others can even tell, I see the reduced wavelength in contrast to its neighbours. It can make the walls flash black and white and feel like they're caving in. Doppler effect?
  3. Before I see it I can hear it - I hate the high pitched whine they give out and it changes very slightly.
  4. I have been a mother for twenty two years, which is half my life.
  5. Eight years of that were with a manipulative man and all have been with at least one child with special needs
  6. Consequently if you discount home work jobs, school time jobs and part time jobs, I haven't had a 'full time job' since February 1983.
  7. I haven't been on holiday for that long either, other than visits to family and I've never been on a plane.
  8. In first year infants they wanted to send me to gifted school, but mum couldnt get me there and my brothers to the local school at the same time.
  9. Some days I wish I could throw all my cards in the air and start again
  10. I have a secret blog and I just effed and blinded on it, so am now called 'me' instead of Cheryl, just in case.
So. Wasn't that fun. Passing this dreaded lurgy to Ally and Doris, Tanda and Carol the Purple Dragon, and anyone else who wants to play, but comment below so I know to come and see.

Dirty Breathers

In response to Annie and Vineyard's ongoing sex embargo due to the small matter of marmite, Aunty Whiplash has stepped away from her usual business to comment.

Apparently its quite alright; her best customers tend to like all things beginning 'Susp' - suspenders, suspensions and suspense etc. It would seem that the little chores, such as sorting out your income tax returns or nipping to the shops are so much more rewarding if they are done on paid time whilst the blindfolded JP strapped to the garage ceiling hyperventilates in anticipation.

There was one rather embarrassing incident last year, but on the Coroner's advice, there's a panic button up there now, linked to her mobile phone.

Anyway to quote dear Aunty (as best I can, she was on her break and knocking back gin and rich tea biscuits):

"Dear girl, why on earth do you think the world assumes that the dregs of male society congregate in the suburban fun-dungeons? Its porn's fault. The women always go in and out in the right places, but have you seen the slavering, repulsive excuses for the male species in those magazines?

Too many men run the industry, and they still think the girl has to have a body like Barbie, a dazed and confused, slightly lobotomised expression, and preferably an oral o-ring. They, however, like to convince themselves that the only equipment they need (as the superior beings, of course) is an upstanding tallywhacker that you can just see round the beer gut or the 1970s face fuzz.

How in hell's name do you think those girls manage to smile at the camera with Halitosis Harry breathing down their necks?

Gas masks and tube breathers, dear. That or enough crack to be genuinely lobotomised in the first place.

Believe me, if you can't reach the Neutradol, a mask works wonders and the silly sods just think you're 'entering in to the spirit'. Which reminds me, I forgot the Reverend. Pass the gin again."

And that was it, she sloshed her way back towards yet another middle aged, slightly sad client whose wife probably understands him only too well. But not before recommending this:

Hey ho.

No no no noooooo!!

10 December 2005

Marmite and Life Goals

I used to think I hated marmite.

Coming from a kid who preferred hot horseradish sauce to sugar (unless it was in a sugar sandwich,) over did it with the Heinz Salad Cream and Dad's sauce at every opportunity and once had to be banned from the PLJ (pure lemon juice) for drinking it neat, that anti-marmite statement might seem odd.

The thing is, I had (still have) a brother who lives on the stuff. I guess my mum got too used to doing toast and marmite or (aaargh) marmite sandwiches for school packed lunch, the way that he liked/likes them - not a delicious tangy smear just tinting the butter, but thick and black from corner to corner.

Anyone who says they don't like marmite, but who still has an appetite for curry or wine, Worcester sauce or anything remotely piquant or tangy, was probably introduced to the stuff in an over concentrated form. A bit like your first introduction to curry being a jar of concentrated madras paste, on it's own.

I continued in that assertion until a friend and her sister made tea for me one day, with great enthusiasm, as it was their favourite treat: Cheesy scrambled eggs on toast and marmite.


A whole handful of Twiglets is too much for me, starts to make my tongue feel a little abraded, but marmite in the right proportions is fantastic. I was hooked.

So - the invisible point number three on my list of 'not 43 things' is:

Wait until a certain lady is established where she is supposed to be, get over there, invade her and Vineyard (commenter, post below) and force-feed her cheesy scrambled egg on toast and butter and just a tiny, even, smearing of marmite.

If she still hates it, I'll concede, but I know I'll have at least one other person there to help me polish it off!

Vineyard - watch out - prepare for invasion. OK?

By the way, searching for the Twiglet piccy, I came across the Wooldale Co-Operative Society, a British Co-op that delivers all over - US, France etc, under the name of The Ex-Pat Shopping Co-op. Handy.

09 December 2005

43 Things = 2 = 2 Million

Yesterday I joined 43things.com

I haven't linked yet, because I have only come up with two goals:
  • Organise My House
  • Get Organised (aka organise my head/life/targets, whatever)
The first is an essential precursor to the second because the whole place is such a mess that I can't think straight, and the second is hopefully a foundation for doing something about getting a job, or a goal, or a life. Or something.

So far today I have:
  • Gone shopping (oh wow, not)
  • Ordered the forms to take Son's special needs to tribunal
  • Requested a copy of meeting notes from Parentlink
  • Unblocked the outflow pipe from the washing machine
  • Scrubbed out and replaced the leaky U-bend fixture using lots of PTFE tape, on my knees, in a smelly puddle
  • Run a boil wash full of soda crystals to: a) check the seals (yay I rock - no more drips) and; b) try and remove some of the smelly gunk that was settled beyond the U-bend (I got a lot out with my trusty unwound metal coat hanger, but it still stunk in there)
  • Cleaned out the guinea pigs! Well, two out of four, anyway. They belong to the kids and it should be their job, but dramas got in the way this week and we have a schoolfriend round to tea tonight, so best not (with the heating on) to smell like an ammonia bath.
This leaves:
  • Phoning the SENCo at school to nab her meeting notes, see if she or the Ed Psych are prepared to go to tribunal on my side, see if the hint that a letter from the Head would change things is going to have any effect, etc. After all the work she has put in, I may leave her in peace until Monday.
  • Pull the washing machine out once the program has stopped, so I can crawl round the back and scrub out all the remains of the gunky leak from the outflow. Definitely a 'today' job because only then can I -
  • Put everything back where it goes so there is room to walk into the kitchen without doing a tiptoe dance
  • Clear up and do proper tea for four kids - my two, plus friend, plus granddaughter, who is coming over to stay tonight.
I say 'proper' tea because after a school dinner, often (hallelujah) my kids just want jam or peanut butter sandwiches. When friends come round, however, tea involves chips and then ice cream.

After that, ie by 6 o'clock tonight, I will be back up to date as in:
  • All the normal household paperwork, letters, etc will still have to be done
  • I still have to take a snow plough to the detritus in daughter's bedroom so that we can pull out the visitor bed.
  • The rest of the house is a tip as per.
Still, at least by the end of the day, I may be behind by about a week, but won't be going backwards anymore. That's me, Mercury (which changed yesterday) and Mars (today), all going in a forwards direction again, for the first time in, ooh, ages.

All good stuff.

Sorry I'm not getting around to comment. Sorry too that this is a 'my boring life' post (again), but I hope it explains that I miss you all, value your comments, and look forward to catching up and reciprocating.

Please God.
Please Husband.
Please house, cat, G pigs, kids and grand kid.

Oops - time to go get the kids. I nearly forgot them (I tried, honestly, but it didn't work.....)

08 December 2005

Oh Zilla!!!!!

Dear Zilla

THANK you for introducing me to the Two Chinese Boys.

They have been on Chinese TV - the clip is brilliant.

They have their own blog!! - The Dormitory Boys. Could things get any better?

Yes - they are TAKING REQUESTS.