28 February 2006

Little Things Please Little Minds

.. and mine is no exception.

Several things are going on in my life in a strangely orchestrated fashion, but it would be daft to go on about dreams, delayed-effect life changing experiences and spiritual direction in a post about a kitchen spatula.

Daft, however is my middle name. You have been warned.

Daft bit here:

A while back I had this really, truly horrible dream. The kind that wakes you in the middle of the night, keeps you in a between-worlds state until daylight and is sitting there like an ominous vulture on your shoulders, when you wake. Here it is, if you're bothered. At the time I brushed it off as physically, more than subconsciously influenced - the side effect of external matters rather than a penny dropping on the flat and calm surface of the near-stagnant pool otherwise known as my psyche. Or something.

In short, I was killed, with nothing left to do but get on with the process of being in shock, pre death. The fight stopped and my 'enemy' helped me to a comfy chair. No, no mentions of Spam, promise. Nor Soft Cushions, (and here, because I couldn't find a Spanish Inquisition video, is something, erm, different. But not completely.)

The thing is, as any psychologist could argue, it may not really matter what the dream actually meant, what matters is what, ultimately, my subconscious accepted it to mean. This is that:

With some overlap between them I have gone from teenage (always a screwed up state to be in) to a bad, oppressive first marriage, to 23 years of being the defensive parent of four kids, two of them with rather tiring special needs needing a lot of care and a lot of explaining. I've been on amber or red alert for the past thirty years, or there abouts, like I lived constantly at the corner of a boxing ring, ready for the bell to go. Human messes took up all my time, saving hearts from getting squidged by a bad dad or a bad school system or whatever, took everything, and (cough) I got to the point where I was fighting against myself, simply out of habit.
Stuck in a pugilistic rut.
Becoming routinely focused on the intense things in life.
Narrow minded.

In the dream I attacked me, I fought me and I killed me, or at least the bit that was so passive aggressive (did, did, and died).

I am out of the ring, then. Boxing career over. Gloves off and no going back. Finally, finally I am looking round for tea and biscuits, a comfy chair and a nice magazine. Finally I quite fancy having a few material comforts and pleasures.

Looking at these before now would have been like being asked to go window shopping for dreams at the expense of conceding the match. It wasn't on, and all that daft stuff like owning a home or having a holiday or fancy clothes or new, well, anything, even having any item 'just so' (instead of nearest, cheapest and 'it'll do') - to be honest it all looked to me like the pointless pursuits of those with too much time on their hands. Yup, I guess I'd had my martyr's hat on so long, I was getting a superiority complex from it.

So anyway:

Here I am, then, free (from myself) to relax and look at all the pretty things. Free to get ideas. One friend is helping me work through what it is that I want; I've also been picking up the philosophy behind things like NLP and Huna, albeit originally with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

I find I am actually now ready to believe that if I sit here and focus, even on material things, the universe will help me out. That if I decide what I want to have/want to be and relate that to being 'all about the real me' (yes okay its always all about me, but the question is, which one? Pardon?), in other words if I can see these things as natural expressions of who I am right now, then we're only one step away from the Huna/Silva idea that visualising yourself as having something already is the surest way to get it.

Yeah (cough again,) sorry, that just got too frilly for me, too. But I'm up for believing it.

The kitchen spatula!

Phew, I knew we'd get here.

This morning, given the date and all, an msn friend and I were discussing the pros and cons of tossing over turning. Pancakes.

Neither of us, however, could remember what the turner-flipper thingummy was called, so I went googling, and discovered that some online kitchen shops simply call them turners, whilst others call them spatulas. It seems to be down to personal preference.

The odd thing was (and I swear, this just doesn't happen to me; ever) I found myself going all girly and daydreaming about kitchen utensils; scrolling page after page of ravioli tins, pasta machines, garlic presses, designer coffee pots; you name it, and actually enjoying myself. No little voice in the back of my head telling me I'm being daft, or selfish, or greedy. Peace. I started getting a picture of my dream kitchen, which, until today, I genuinely didn't know existed. Tres bizarre.

To give you a rough picture, I still have the gas cooker I bought new as end-of-range (on sale) 23 years ago (plus or minus a few bits like the numbers on the buttons, or the handles on the grill pan). The cupboards are 1970s Council cupboards old enough to have traditional hinges on the doors and were here when we moved in. The electrical goods have been bought only as their predecessors blew up, on sale and from the nearest shop with the quickest delivery, except the fridge freezer which we had time to shop around for and therefore purchased second hand. No dishwasher.

Like I said - I had a serious case of 'It'll-do-itis'. Opus Dei's got nothing on me, mate, I've been birching my soul, by the looks. Bloody bonkers.

The kitchen spatula (but really, this time):

So my mum has this family heirloom kitchen spatula. Don't laugh. It was my gran's and was kept and used because it is just such a fantastic shape. Worn in, over the years, it always was just the right thickness, with an odd angle at the tip, which made turning things over in the pan a lazy, easy, flick of the wrist, instead of the shovelling motion you have to use with the modern, straight ended things. These days, scrubbed to a sliver over the last hundred years, it has this slight curve to it like worn silver, fits my mum's hand and 'flipping' angle perfectly and everything she ever fries turns obediently on command like something out of a Disney movie. You sort of expect mushrooms to giggle and burgers to sing a little chorus in tune with cartoon bluebirds on the windowsill. Honestly.

I grew up using that spatula, and looking back, I've never found anything quite so handy. If you think I'm nuts, that's fine, but just imagine being given something different to peel potatoes with. You're used to what you're used to and you want what you want.

So here (finally, after searching about 60 google links) is my spatula. IT'S MINE, I TELL YOU! Even though I don't own it yet.
Fairly typically, I can only find it in an American store that doesn't do exports. Just as typically, a search for the manufacturer 'World Cuisine' came up fruitless from this end.


So I'm just going to bookmark the page, focus on this decision, and let the Universe help out. I want.

Sending vibes out now.......

"Here spatchy-spatchy-spatchy, come to mummy."

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27 February 2006

Round The Twist

Look, I am NEVER going to be skinny enough to pretend I'm Callista Flockhart and I draw the line at suggestions of a resemblance to Peter MacNicol, aka John Cage, aka The Biscuit, from Ally McBeal. Even if there is one.... slightly. Probably.

Nonetheless, I do find myself occasionally having a theme tune. Whenever the Braxton Hicks started (and I've been through that malarky four times now),'my tune' was David Bowie's Changes.

Cha-cha-cha-cha-changes (Turn and face the strain) Cha-cha changes!

Yeah, OK, don't say it.

The really awkward part was when I would be walking home from the local shops, two argumentative kids in tow, a heavy shopper in each hand and then the belly would go, 'ping!', from vaguely flexible (as in just soft enough to allow legs to move in a forward direction, breathing, little things like that) to as solid as a medicine ball. Bad enough going stiff like someone poked a stick up my arse every ten steps or so, waddling along with a sort of rocking motion due to hips suddenly freezing up, whilst trying to plough on home 'in case', without also involuntarily bursting in to song. My two eldest, like Pavlov's dog, learned that me humming that tune to myself with a glazed look on my face meant they had better hurry up and save the fratricide for later.

To cut a long story short, or not, THIS is my current theme tune. So my subconscious has no sense of style, so what. It says it all and it's funky and it cheers me up.

P.S. Heres the official website if you too have secret fond memories of the shenanigans at Port Niranda

26 February 2006

Pancake Day Is British

Just so you know.

The women of Olney have even been having Pancake Races on Shrove Tuesday since about 1445 and obviously eating the damn things for years before that, as is repeated HERE in a Kansas publication, calling it 'International Pancake Day'. I'm fine with that.

I must admit, however, that I was more than a little gobsmacked to see the latest at Snopes - which says that an American chain are giving away free pancakes on 'National Pancake Day'.

Excuse me? IHOP are getting a bit beyond themselves. That takes some brass bloody neck, I tell you. 'National Pancake Day' doesn't exist. Its like saying 'The World Series' exists, it goes way beyond a superiority complex or even xenophobia to the implication that America is the world.... at least the only world worth knowing about.

Anyway HERE's the link. If you can eat the pancakes and nothing else, then leave, I would like to suggest that everybody goes at least twice a day for the entire duration of the offer and does just that, and taked them for every penny possible. If not, if its a con, a free offer of a tiny amount of flour and milk to get you to pay through the nose for something else - may I politely suggest you boycott them. Whatever you do, do it because they are either bigots or ignorant, in the first place.

Grrrrrrrrrr Ooh the nerve.

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For those in any doubt, this is a sarcastic post.

25 February 2006

Laughed Til I Cried

I adore Scaryduck.

I don't comment much because he has something like a million comments per post and doesn't need mine.

I just toddle over there every time he posts, and piss myself.

Apparently he would prefer it if I shat in the garden instead.

Go have a read, but strap on the Tena Lady first, or if you are a guy, strip off the old boxers and line up the empties within easy reach. You have been warned.

The Best People.

The best people are:

Honest, earnest, imaginative, fiery, brave, vociferous, challenging, joyful, creative, demonstrative, imperfect and real. They sometimes rush in where angels fear to tread but they rarely, except in their most depressed moments, sit on the sidelines of life for fear of taking part.

The very best of them have hearts of gold and the dilemma this causes is that, unlike those of a genuinely snarky and condescending manner, when they unintentionally but predictably clash with someone else, they panic. They worry that they may have hurt someone's feelings, gone over the top, been a little too blunt, gone in like a bull in a china shop.

This is the curse of the strong, good woman.

At least I hope it is, because its what I value in others and what I see in myself. Perhaps because that describes me (at least the vociferous, demonstrative, imperfect and unintentional part), I seek out others through a need for sisterhood.

I mouth off. I cock up. So do we all, but if you're always honest, if you only mess up by being blunt and earnest and all those things above, then you are a diamond and worth seeking out. If you'll let me strop and get over it, I'll still love ya, and whoever you are, I'll do the same for you. Deal?

Power corrupts. Knowledge is power. Study hard. Be evil......
(I love that!)

Tea And Crumpets And Griddlecakes

Well I have never, ever, posted a recipe blog. Nonetheless we all have these little mental aberrations, so here it comes. If it's not your cup of tea, though, erm, politely; tough.

A while ago Gareth posted about his Nan's Welshcakes. It brought back floods of memories for me, of standing expectantly in the corner of my own Nan's kitchen watching wide eyed as she mixed these little miracles and then flipped them on the griddle of the kitchen range. They were our special treat; they were what happened when I was round to play at her house all on my own.

There was nothing for it, I googled the recipe, found a few variations and picked the one that felt right. Then I threw out the scales and mixed up a small batch by proportions. The whole game took about ten minutes.

Heaven. I sat here last night and worked through eight curranty, buttery griddlecakes, all by myself. God, but its been years since I was pushed to the need for comfort food, but that's another story, and its been said, so its done and gone.

Here is my 'size it yourself' slapdash recipe, by volume (although it works by weight too if you are heavy with the flour) for welshcakes/griddlecakes, whatever you are inspired to call them.

3 flour - self raising or plain + bicarb, according to instructions on the bicarb box. Apparently you can get away without the cream of tartar if you want. Some recipes insist on plain flour and bicarb, but I guess if you love that sodabread tang and extra airy texture you could even add a pinch of bicarb to SR flour. Go with the flow.

1 butter. Rub this into the flour to make breadcrumbs.

1 sugar - regular is ok but if you want sweeter, use caster.

Egg. If you are sizing this up to cups or pounds then 2 large eggs. Anything less - one egg is fine.
Tip: You can't really overdo egg, it binds the mix and helps things raise - the worst that can happen if you overdo the egg a little bit is that you will have to flour the dough again to get it out of the bowl. If you think you could have put another egg in after all, just add a splash of milk, to sticky things up.

For now, mix the egg with the sugar. This is best done by breaking the egg up a bit, then putting the sugar in. If you do it the other way round, the sugar sticks to the bottom of the cup/bowl and doesn't want to play. I found that out the hard way.

1 currants. stir these into the breadcrumb mixture.

Combine both mixtures, knead into a dough ball and slap onto a surface for rolling out. Treat the same as biscuits or cookies - about a quarter inch thick, cut with a cookie cutter.

Slap into a flat frying pan on low to medium if you don't have a griddle. If your breadcrumbs looked very fine and you don't think there was enough butter in the mix, then give a very thing smearing of butter to the pan, but ideally these should be cooked dry. Watch the edges, when they are golden brown on one side, flip them over and do the other.

Best eaten warm on a cold and lonely day, with a huge mug of tea or otherwise a china cup and a pot on standby.

Edit: I just let the kids help me make some more. Just for info, there is definitely such a thing as too much bicarbonate of soda. It also makes the outsides tend towards shades of black instead of a warm golden brown....


Today I feel inspired. Courtesy of the local supermarket changing hands, we can no longer get hold of the bumper, cheap packets of crumpets. Crumpets are, in this house, a Sunday breakfast. Some of us like them so covered in butter that it is spotting through the base, others like them layered with toasted cheese.

Here, then, is what I will be playing at today. Wish me luck!

Thanks For The Comments

I have kept all the emailed comments from yesterday's post - I always do, however the post itself has gone because in retrospect I must have done several things wrong.

To give you a list, it seems:

  1. I failed to explain how normal life in this neck of the woods means you have one of everything; one pair good shoes, one pair trainers, one set school uniform, one winter coat, the list goes on. Believe it or not we are NORMAL and we pull our sense of pride from the fact that our kid's 'one' of X,Y or Z looks clean and well kept and still fits, that our children are not like poor Johnny up the street whose school trousers flap about his ankles like Norman Wisdom.
  2. I didn't explain that we have no qualms about hand-me-downs and purchases from bargain bins or second hand shops, but that good footwear is if utmost importance. Growing up tatty is fine, and probably more fun, but not if it gives you bad feet for the rest of your life. I thought most normal people lived like that.
  3. I never explained that around here, at least, school uniform is the one set of kit that is sacrosanct and smart and spotless 'or else', everything else is easy come easy go. Really, now I think about it, it's the new Sunday Best. Its untouchable. Every woman, even the one I was talking about, gets her kids straight out of uniform if they are going anywhere but school or home. I trusted my kids to be IN her home, because that was the deal. If you have more, if a pair of shoes are not the most expensive thing in a wardrobe for you, if your kids have two or three of everything so that loss of one is no big deal, then just go away and count yourself lucky, to spoiled, OK? You are blessed and not normal. I don't need you telling me how it doesn't matter when they are financially irreplaceable at this time of year and it does matter, a lot.
  4. I failed to explain that I am not one of those completely anal, 'spotless house, spotless and bored children' types and that we actually have some fun - it just has to be coordinated.
  5. I never, obviously, made it quite clear enough for one person that I do know how to deal with my own children and wasn't asking for any advice at all on whether to lecture my child about her part in this, that I am neither stupid not one of those dreadful mothers who thinks the sun shines out of her kid's bumholes.
  6. Finally, I very very clearly failed to point out that asking for advice on salty leather shoes (which I have never encountered as a parent, never had to deal with, never been stupid enough to land up with; that my daughter who stood there while I was told she had stepped in a puddle never had ANY IDEA might cause problems like that because she's not old enough to go out on her own and so hasn't been told these little things and hasn't had a mother stupid enough to ruin her leather shoes before - get the point?) and asking advice for how to deal with a very annoying trait in an otherwise good friend without losing the acquaintance, IN ANY WAY meant 'please criticise me, my attitudes and my children, and do go ahead and assume that if I haven't laid everything out for you then I am obviously stupid and precious and need to think again'. So sorry I missed that implication.
In other words, guys, I'm pretty bloody offended that one or two people felt they had carte blanche to instruct me on how to bring up my kids, when I hadn't invited comments in that vein at all, the assumption that I might need that advice is an insult in itself, I mean, do I look that thick? Do you really think I never thought of that? I feel my shoulders sagging under that concept.

Please accept my apologies, I never realised for a moment that, in order to ask two straight questions, I was supposed to open up every last private detail of my life and finances and personal dealings with my children for public audit and humiliation.

I wanted to tell 'anonymous' that I forgive him/her/you - you obviously don't know me and can't be blamed for coming across this blog for the first time and thinking it is run by some clueless twat, but you might want to resist the urge to publicise that thought in print until you have checked your facts.

I think I will keep requests for advice to email, in future, but thank you so much anyway.

23 February 2006


I want one!

Personally, techy blogs full of jargon turn me completely cold, so the only two technical specifications I'm going to give you for this little beauty

  • Dimensions:235 x 155 x 31 (mm)
  • Weight around 1230g

Yes its a real computer, has lots of memory and XP installed and a sim card thingy for surfing the web al fresco. The battery last three hours, but hey, I'm, adding a couple of spares (colour coordinated of course) and a car kit
to my fantasy shopping list.

What's next - ooh a stylus - not just for using the fully rotational screen as a notepad but for prodding those dinky qwerty keys in a lazy and sophisticated fashion, to remove any public expectation of proficient two-handed (or two fingered) typing, or even half a brain.

Absolutely essential is the mouse. Like the machine it comes in black, white, yellow, some other colours (how girly am I?) and the essential, sexy, dark and glossy red: The mini-mouse!

Its so dinky! It's so cute! It's retractable and adorable and dolls-house-ish and if necessary I will lobotomise that part of my brain which currently remembers good old fashioned keyboard shortcuts, just to make it essential.

Last but by no means least are the bags.

The ladies handbag currently comes in only black or white (yup, that's a diddy little black flybook in the bag)

but the regular carry cases, as you can see, come in more of a matching range

and at a mere £349.99 for one with a shoulder strap (it says here), well,that's the black handbag (black matches everything) and the red shoulder bag, at least, I think. Don't you?

Prices are available through the link above and by my reckoning the whole lot should set me back a mere 2 grand (and a bit). Yup, a snip at half the price. As soon as I win the lottery.

All I really (really really) need to complete this little dream world is; well, it's not much. Not in the grand scheme of things. It's just the perfect accessory for days when the Flybook goes out with me, and really, who could begrudge?

Even the name is perfect - a Vanquish. This colour, of course, or it wouldn't match and I'd have to have another one.

Beats the hell out of a broomstick. So, any Vanderbilts or Gettys out there - consider this my teensy little wish list, ok?

Of course, if you actually really fancy one of these Flybook thingummies, then you can find the worldwide list of distributors here.

22 February 2006

All Milt's Fault

That's not fair. Milt is an innocent man. This time. Relatively speaking.

If truth be told, this is all my husband's fault, because he found the clip and shared - even if he then decided it was too daft even for his own blog.

No, the only connection to dear Milt is that this lady bears a striking resemblance to his beloved Miss Rosebury, or whatever her name was. I have unsuccessfully surfed his site today looking for a link and shall slap his wrists - he needs one of those Technorati search thingies so I can find the specific post easier, to humiliate him with less effort.

So, before you attest to the fact that you are over eighteen and click the link below, here are a few things to take into consideration (because, as I discovered, if they cross your mind as horrifying thoughts after the fact, you end up watching for hours, twisting your head sideways and cricking your neck, to confirm or deny them):

  1. Yes he's alive and real and not inflatable. At one brief point he actually moves his arms voluntarily. Blink and you'll miss it.
  2. No they're not - he's in shorts and she's in panties (but it takes a few odd head angles to work that out)
  3. Yes, the furniture is on legs, but they are very small legs and it is doubtful that any small furry mammals (cats, guinea pigs etc) were hiding underneath and accidentally killed in the making of this clip.
OK you have been warned. The only questions left:
  • Milt, is that really you?
  • If not, is that really her?
  • If she flapped her arms any harder or carried less, erm, ballast, would she take off? Answers in the comments, please.

Oh, one last thing. Turn on your speakers. It's the Birdie Song and it kind of goes with.


One of Son's troubles is that he will try too hard to make friends. Trying too hard involves taking on all the arrangements; feeling that he has to come up with a plan for a game in which he is instigator and producer and ultimately (although he doesn't see it that way), boss.

He comes on too strong, his efforts are too desperate but appear controlling and he scares people off.

I can only hope that out of this disability will come a lifetime desire to understand the intricacies of how people tick - a self imposed degree course in manners and human fallibility and need and making others feel wanted and validated. Its a real likelihood; unless he gets too wrapped up in the concept that they are all miserable so-and-sos and nobody understands him. It has to flip on its head - he has to realise that if he understands them instead, then he can modulate what he says and does to be in their specific language.

Anyway, yesterday's end-of-the-world scenario came about because he was posting to a forum - a games forum where, after a shaky start getting to grips with the concept of spamming, they allowed him to stay and he now has forum friends who take him by what he has to say. Its great, plus I seem to have ultimate control now over what he says and how he says it because he wants to give a good impression. These guys and this forum are important to him. He will sneak on to the boards, but if he wants to post, he ends up asking me how to spell every second word and even asking me to read and edit so that he doesn't look silly.

Before visiting the boards he had signed into an online game. He was winning. Because he was winning, somebody made him their 'buddy', ie had the computer record them as a team, so they couldn't shoot each other. It was probably a tactic on the other kid's part, but to Son it was like six birthdays and a Christmas all at once - all he saw was that somebody liked him, just because of his skill.

The post he then went to make was not a suggestion, but a rather imperious sounding announcement that he would be formulating a team to play this game - he assumed forum users would rush to sign up and be on his team and then he would have more 'buddies'. There was no telling him that he sounded pushy and would put people off, he was too enthused. We fought over whether he could post it or not, I insisted no, and he ignored me, becoming increasingly belligerent. In the end I had to crash his dad's computer to cut the broadband access and save him from himself.

That's when all the excuses came out - how he 'needed' this forum, how he felt he was really a fifteen year old trapped in an 11 year old's body, how none of the kids at school understood him and his only hope of ever having any friends (and not being morbidly lonely and tormented) was to relate on forums.

I spent the night in torment, exhausted from his refusal yesterday to budge from his position, listen or relate and also worried, not just about the facts of his case (which are probably true) but about how much this was really affecting him.

Today is a new day and Son might as well be a new boy.

"So, think you might have a really good day today?" says I, tentatively.

"Oh, yes, I think so" he replies. "Yes I will. And I'm really glad I got all that off my chest yesterday. Thanks mum."

He gave me a lovely smile like yesterday was a storm in a teacup, nothing more, and I realised then that, of the two of us, I was the only one who spent the night feeling shipwrecked by it.

When I wrote yesterdays post, I really did feel I had hit a brick wall; that the only thing that could change to take these situations down a notch or two, was him. I was wrong, obviously. Time to revamp my reactions, for my own sake.

21 February 2006

Psychological Over-Exercise

What I don't want.
  1. I don't want my Aspergers Son to have a bad day at school and decide to share for two hours solid in tones of doom.
  2. I don't want his mood to change from one day to the next.
  3. I don't want the yo-yo effect of switching from 'yeah great day' to 'no nobody likes me, nobody's ever liked me'
  4. I don't want all the 'but's that follow, all the assumptions (at 11) that I don't know what I am talking about, that nobody in the whole world understands him, me included, and that the world and his dog is to blame.
  5. I don't want the sight of his sister, younger by a year, keeping herself to herself for hours, bored stupid but hoping to be noticed and praised for not harassing mummy like her brother does.
  6. I don't want that sometimes Mr 'nobody listens to me' is so forceful that he gets the whole evening and she gets two minutes of my time and a kiss goodnight. That breaks my heart.
  7. I don't want the fear that on the days he says he feels like that, he might really feel like that.
  8. I don't want the fear that on the days he says he feels like that he may not actually feel like that, but feel instead that having 'issues' is a way to demand my attention even after I've told him to drop it. I must be transparent - emergencies and heartaches always, always take me from whatever I want or need to do.
  9. I don't want the occasional insight into his school life when all that does is prove how he takes the reality at home and twists it to his teachers in a most bizarre way, usually humiliating to me, to make himself feel more valid.
  10. I don't want the temptation to always assume he is pulling the same trick on me, just so I can rest easy that his life isn't really a living hell.
  11. I don't want the way that his sister has no friends either because of the way her brother is.
  12. I don't want my own imperfections, the way I feel jaded and exhausted and ultimately stressed when he just keeps droning on and on, refusing to take an answer or be proactive.
  13. I don't want the way I finally get snappy
  14. I don't want the way this seems to be the only cue he will take to shut up, anyway.
  15. Most, most of all, I don't want the memories of having gone through all this with his older brother. Even when I was ten years younger it was a killer and all the old emotions are dredged up in anticipation. I deserve to be exhausted for being a decade older, never mind for knowing what's happening. Its like having to put your feet back in the shoes that blistered them, before you've healed.
Here's the game. Today someone suggested I write a list of 'don't wants' and then convert them to their opposites, to find out what I do want. They were supposed to be one word things.

It doesn't matter anyway - four or five hours ago it was a whole other list.

20 February 2006

1950s Eyebrows

I have 1950s eyebrows.

So that seems like a vacuous, vain and self involved statement to make. Fair go. My eyebrows in their natural state would look at home on any horsey-faced 1950s brunette, from Joyce Grenfell to Joan Crawford. Its just the way they are, planted high above my eyes, they go straight out until they go straight down, like a pair of shelf brackets, (without the depth of course, I mean I'm not Dennis Healy).

What brought this on?

Tabby Rabbit was blogging about the bits of a movie she liked, which turned out to be the boots in this scene, the suit worn in that, and it reminded me of the last time I watched a movie three or four times not for enjoyment of the story but for more technical reasons. This was way back in the very early seventies when the BBC's stock of Sunday afternoon family movies was limited and mostly from the 1930s to 50s. Things like Show Boat.

Back when 'modern' beauty involved short eyebrows near to the eyes with no visible socket (Susan George, Suzi Quatro, in some shots Twiggy), when being grown up meant wearing all the things I wasn't allowed, like a ton of liquid eyeliner and false lashes, Show Boat was my first make-up lesson. A limited palette of subtle pastels (which was all I was allowed) mixed to define my sort of high brow bone and eyes that were simultaneously deep set and prominent. Watching Helen Morgan and the rest taught me how to colour in all the way from lashes to brow without looking like a clown.

Since then (even though I am stuck in a happy rut now, rarely wear makeup and don't feel the need for hints and tips any more) if a woman appears pretty on a music video, advert or movie, I always end up analysing how her face has been done.

White or cream inner eyeliner, a false glow to the skin at the inner or outer eye, how many shades of eyeshadow (usually in plum and neutral and beiges and browns if others (men) are trying to say she looks natural) two or three different shades of lippy.

All those face cream and cleanser adverts really annoy me - the ones where the girl appears to rub the moisturiser or whatever into a cheek that is wearing three shades of foundation and two or three of blusher, I mean PLEASE! How thick do they think we are? I can have skin like yours, dear? Not from that bloody cleansing cream I can't; lets have the half dozen tubes of pigment, the highlighter, the lipgloss and the trained makeup artist you just used, plus the soft lighting and the complimentary background. Grrrr.

The bottom line these days, I guess, when someone looks glowing and attractive, is that it makes me feel a hell of a lot better to sit there smugly, knowing they're wearing a ton weight of slap to create the illusion. That in the end its all bullsh*t, all smoke and mirrors and underneath it all they're 99% of them girls you wouldn't notice in the supermarket. Thank Heaven.

Intelligence tests

Remember those two IQ tests we played at?

The name for those things (366 DIALY = 366 days in a leap year) is DITLOIDS. Its always written in capital letters as 'ditloid' is a ditloid of something, itself. She Weevil knows of what, I'm certain, but I can't remember

I was right that SheWeevil would get more correct answers than me last time, and the reason I was certain is this - She-W loves these things. Loves 'em so much She's even a dab hand at composing them, which is exactly what has happened today.

So, if the last lot got you hooked then go HERE (quickly) and play at a new set of 20. This time the answers go in the comments. Fun!

19 February 2006

Free Association 159

Thanks to LunaNina

  1. Right time:: There's never a...
  2. Funeral:: Farewell
  3. Calculate:: add up
  4. Believe me:: superfluous addition to a sentence which instantly inspires suspicion
  5. Chat:: talk
  6. Anniversary:: date
  7. Let you down:: gently
  8. Shout:: release
  9. Sweatsock:: iew, a what? Sounds completely gross. And (puke) white.
  10. Prayer:: touching base, reconnecting, remembering where you fit.

17 February 2006

Do You Know Me?

Because I don't.

To see ourselves as others see us - would that be a blessing or a curse?

Anyway, I am currently still sans imagination which is fine, because I have nicked a wonderful concept I found at Ally's blog.

So, PLEASE go HERE to my Johari Window and click on six characteristics you think fit how I come across to you. If you do, then it offers you the chance to set up your own.

I am really hoping a few people who read here regularly will play and be honest - this could be fun, or at least an education.....

(Here's how I'm doing so far, for those that want to watch or just don't want to play)


Stolen from She Weevil.

Apparently I am not fulfilling my true purpose. What a surprise (mind you I could have got any result and that observation would still be true...). They had to give me a tie-breaker. Maybe that's it, maybe I'm such a bleeping genius that I have too many options. Yes, definitely; I feel better now.

You scored as Journalism. You are an aspiring journalist, and you should major in journalism! Like me, you are passionate about writing and expressing yourself, and you want the world to understand your beliefs through writing.





























What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with QuizFarm.com

16 February 2006

Why Years In A Bad Marriage Aren't Wasted

For Sassy

  1. You learned to bite your tongue
  2. You learned to take more shit than you ever thought possible
  3. You found out you're really strong
  4. You found out you're the kind to keep hoping
  5. You found out you're a keeper - someone who keeps on hanging in there
  6. You found out you are reliable no matter what
  7. You found out you are trustworthy even when all hell lets loose
  8. You lost a whole load of false ideas about what you want out of life
  9. You found a whole new set of life goals
  10. You learned to see trouble coming from a mile off
  11. You learned to see a worried woman from a mile off, too
  12. You learned new wanker people skills
  13. You found out that all men are not born equal
  14. You found your limits and how far is too far
  15. Top reason - you have more clue now than before and those are the last years you'll spend on that lesson; its done, its learned and theres no taking you for a fool ever again.

14 February 2006

Breaking Silence

Or breaking wind. Not sure which.

Not stopping - just need to share the joke that my son just told me, or rather to share that my eleven year old Aspergers son just told this joke at all.

A nunnery burns down and all the nuns die.
They get to the gates of heaven and God says:
"Here is a pool of Holy Water. Before you enter, you must wash every part that has touched a man."
A little sister at the back shouts:
"Quick, let me gargle first, before Sister Mary sticks her arse in it!"

Right. Not sure whether to laugh, cry or hit the bottle. Think I'll go back to playing hunt the carpet, or scrub a few kitchen cupboards, or something.

11 February 2006

Floaty Weird

Yesterday I hit failsafe.

The brain was obviously still doing a hundred to the dozen, any and all sense of creativity was still packed away (I have to be cheerful to be creative. I can be 'not cheerful' and still funny, but its too caustic, too sharp) and same as for the past four or five days, I was struggling to look outside of myself and my self pity, was hardly visiting or commenting on anyone else's blogs and felt my attempts at humour smacked of desperation.

What does a girl do when her racing goggles are still glued on, the wind is still billowing in her face at 100 miles an hour, but the target she was careering toward has gone up in a puff of smoke? Why, she scouts desperately for the first 'odd' newsy item that sparks a few new braincells into action (and a change is as good as a rest to a blind donkey, or something), and blogs it, of course. Hence the sperm blog. Oops, sorry about that.

Astryngia asked if I had kicked the shit out of a pile of sofa cushions yet - my cure-all for extreme frustration and adrenalin overdose. Sadly no, not this time, although I may possibly still feelinclined, some time this week. Getting to that stage involves a trip out through the bottom of ugly self pity and face-swelling tears, until the anger is at myself as much as anything else, so this time I never got that far. To be honest I haven't really got that far since the break up of my first marriage, when certain truths came out.

No, this week I was just so highly strung in anticipation of Son's special ed' statement, so much on auto pilot for losing Husband to a training course all this week and next, that when it hit, it was like a brick wall (at the aforementioned 100 miles an hour). I was a mess, and feeling far too old for all this malarky. Smashed, even. Far from being up and at 'em like some bouncy, elasticated alien facsimile of a human, I just sagged. I wrote on here in an effort to find the energy to, well, anything. Only anger would have inspired that.

Oddly, as I calm, the anger is all that's left, like a grey cloud around me. It was as much as I could do to stop myself from severing all ties with someone yesterday. I was worried, I was concerned, and they snubbed me. The one thing you don't need from a 'friend' when you are down, is power games. I didn't really expect to let someone in on how vulnerable I feel, to have them play at building and snapping rapport. It was like a double kick in the gut - not just that this happened, but that I had thought so highly of this person and allowed them into a position to be able to do that. Make it triple, the third point being that I had allowed myself to lean on someone, to rely on them.

There is always the possibility that I am just too sensitive at the moment.

Panic is like caffeine - it drains everything and today I am even having trouble stringing a sentence together - I just can't be bothered to be bothered, if that makes sense.

Time, I think, to pay a little attention to myself, my self esteem, and my house. Time to take things down a notch or three, and become deliberately slow and methodical, after the hyperactivity of this five year fight to have my Son understood and catered for at school.

I am feeling too floaty weird to say whether this stage will last an hour or a week, or anything in between or beyond. I do know that when I come back to the computer it will be because I want to, have time to, and, for a change, have something to say. It will be a treat, not a desperate attempt at procrastination. I guess its the difference between lying on the sofa to relax and lying on it because you've just been run over by a truck. I want to be here because I want to be here, not because of need.

No more trucks.

See you soon :-)

I don't want to speak to soon, but I definitely overreacted two days ago. I am still planning to create a new life routine and its all good. So far I have found two corners of the kitchen not properly witnessed or wiped since Christmas, and sorted the seven worst storage drawers, five of which have not had a proper clear out since 1996. I just thought I'd say this in case anyone thinks I've gone off to have a mental breakdown, when in reality I've gone off specifically to insure myself against one. Its a Zen thing. Sabbatical, even. Still no more trucks - I have time to clear multiple slates which have been neglected and actually get ahead of things. That will feel odd, it not being the normal situation at all. Have fun!

10 February 2006

Good Sperm, Bad Sperm

Found THIS ARTICLE, today. Some clever scientists in America have been prodding sperm with electrodes.

Apparently the tail of every good sperm has something called a CatSper, a channel for processing externally sourced calcium into electrical activity - a tail engine, effectively, for all that swimming, albeit requiring a separate fuel source. Yet more scientists are now already trying to work out how to block the CatSper, in an effort to create a male contraceptive. Typical.

These little channels were only discovered in 2001 and I am unable to ascertain whether gentlemen who would have passed their MOT prior to that date, might now be found wanting. I guess its the difference between two perfectly functioning articles, where only one has rechargeable batteries?

It seems that a sperm does not leave home fully fuelled (or with the battery topped up, pick your analogy,) but if the engine's running, it will absorb calcium from a suitably calcium rich/alkaline environment for added boost. In fact here it says that two different alkaline fluids are already present in semen, 30% of the bulk coming from the seminal vesicles, 60% coming from the prostate gland. I do so hope, now we know all about this Catsper and can measure it's effectiveness, that the scientists will at least look closer at these two supplements to establish which does what, precisely, how effectively, and for how long.

Where are the articles on female fertility? Why isn't anyone jumping for joy at the repercussions of this for those who actually want to reproduce? Why is there no news of funding for such research?

Female orgasm, it says here, will "increase the quantity and flow of the natural alkaline secretions that occur around ovulation." Woah, no wonder women who are stressed over their desire to be pregnant are less likely to conceive. It's long been an old wives tail that the best way to have a baby is to stop trying and I guess it brings a whole new meaning to the concept of getting acid with stress.

There is apparently, however, no research at all on whether stress can do the same thing to men, leaving their otherwise perfect sperm without a sufficient initial boost. This is wrong and needs to be corrected fairly urgently, don't you think? I was going to say that puts a whole new meaning on the slang term 'lunchbox', but I won't, because that would be gross.

Still, its long been said that a woman having trouble conceiving should change her diet to encourage an alkaline system. Quite aside from stress undoing any efforts in that direction, I have to wonder what effect antidepressants or even other, common and over-the-counter medications have on the PH of the body. What about bubble bath? Can what you choose to wash with make a difference? Perhaps its time for some women to stop poking around with a thermometer and start fiddling with PH strips instead, Or perhaps it's time someone came up with a calcium pessary? Do current infertility tests even measure the alkalinity?

I'd like to say 'give it a decade'. I'd like to say that some very crucial advances are going to come out of this. My heart, however, goes out to those who don't have another ten years to mess around.

09 February 2006

Japanese Soldier

Remember those stories of poor little Japanese soldiers, marooned on islands which they were charged to defend, and nobody went back to tell them the war was over or to take them home? If you could get past them taking pot shots at you, you still couldn't tell the old guys the truth without a doctor present, for fear they'd have a heart attack on the spot.

I know how they feel.

Two hours ago, someone took the lid off my pressure cooker. They undid things, and the physical effects have been a teensy bit worrying. Quite aside from mental blankness and indecision over whether to celebrate or hide under a rock, my chest hurts. I'm still not having too much joy with taking a full deep breath and may have to go for a walk shortly, as an attempt at carefully controlled adrenalin release. As my blood pressure must have hit the roof (I can still feel the woomph, woomph of it rushing round my head) I am still quite dizzy, but feel I should post to update all you lovely, caring people who have commented and shared my frustration.

Little things nobody told me (which I have now found out via the Ed Psych):
  1. Statements no longer tell a school how to achieve the goals set
  2. This means its a good statement after all
  3. The big issue comes with hand-over between the schools, what they call 'transition'
  4. That's where the current school tells the next school how they do it
  5. And the next school decides whether thats the way to continue
  6. But nobody says they have to.
She did tell me that she had a copy, that it was a good result, and I should be pleased. I'm trying my hardest at that, honestly. Meanwhile I am still angry that this turned up just before the holidays, still pained that I could have been left in this state of high alert for a solid week, still flabbergasted that there is no mention of home-school communication etc. I am also really, truly pipped that all statements are now, by law, far less precise, and that this conveniently makes it nearer to impossible for a parent to prove their case if a school fails to make the provisions stipulated. 'Access to', I ask you. How more vague could anything be?


This is just to say that I retract the portion of my earlier post which basically called the experts within the hallowed halls of ESCC a bunch of money grubbing, unsympathetic, child-hating jobsworth wankers pushing frustrated, belittled mothers and children to early graves. Apparently they're not. Apparently the arseholes are even higher up than that, somewhere in Central Government, presumably in the DfES.


Fuck The System, It Sucks

I am so, so effing fed up with East Sussex County Council and the whole Special Needs Statementing procedure.

As per bloody usual the paperwork has turned up just at the edge of a school holiday. I don't know how they do it, but they always do - every time over two sodding years. I now have fifteen days to approve or challenge what the County has to say, nine of which involve weekends and a half term holiday. I'm too late to make appointments with any of the specialists to clarify what they feel my son needs (and whether that differs from the County's interpretation of what they are saying), if I manage to make appointments for the split second school reopens, that still gives me four days in which to meet, query, discuss, formulate a response and get it to the County via snail mail. My fifteen days instantly equate to one, maybe two.

I am so tired with being fucked over like this.

The County have listed every provision that the educational psychologist says he needs. The trouble is she did not list any of the provisions he already receives. She named them, said how essential they were, but when it came to filling boxes she used the fields to add extra assistance on top of what already is.

Trouble now is, that if I let this proposed Statement lie, he will have access to all of the frills but none of the basic stuff, like a teaching assistant to help him focus, remind him what was said, redirect him back to what he's supposed to be doing, stop him making the kind of social bloopers that make NT kids so vicious. All he is to get is equipment, and access to stuff that takes him out of the classroom and away from the curriculum, which would make a vicious circle - the more behind he feels compared to his peers, the less willing he is to make an effort.

He's the type that if he saw his bus at the stop, sooner than run for it and risk looking a fool to everyone already seated, he would pretend he was really meaning to walk, the whole time. Except then he'd swear, and berate himself, and get depressed and on and on.

I could give up and take him out of mainstream; ask for a special school to be listed, but I refuse. Aspergers is too broad a term, most of the schools cover the whole Autistic spectrum, so he would be in with a class of kids that phase out and stare at corners, and it would drive him nuts. On top of that, he'd be lucky to leave at 16 with certificates of achievement when we already know there's a 98% probability that he's a gifted child and ought, with the right support, to swan through the basic, average, mainstream curriculum in double time.

I hope that any SENCO with half a brain is going to compare the well documented reality of dealing with my Son to the viciously stark and inappropriate and non-specific list of things he should 'have access to', and scream. I certainly imagine his teachers will be screaming, but without an interpreter there, most of them will be doing that for other reasons.

He can't read faces - he reads voices, but badly. If you have a naturally authoritarian tone, if you 'tell' instead of asking, he will challenge you for being a bully, or shout his reply. If you are new to him he physically cannot absorb what you are saying whilst looking at you - its too much information. How many school teachers do you know who live by the tenet that if you do nothing else, you make sure the difficult kids are facing front and watching you?

I can see him going totally apeshit in his first week. I can see his reputation, his aspirations, his self esteem and his chance of finding a single person willing to understand him, going right down the pan.

'Access' to something, for an Aspergers sufferer, isn't just about the object being there to use. Its about being able to value it, relate to it and absorb what it has to offer. That's entirely down to presentation, to whether there is an adult there that the child already relates to, respects and trusts. Hell, being able to remember the adult's name after two terms would be an achievement.

WHY is ESCC all about the money? Why are they so rigid, so unable to interpret anything but what's in the bloody boxes? Why, after the reams of information they demand, can't they be bothered to fucking read or interpret it? What is the point of a caring system, with all the angles covered, if its staff and/or committees are peopled by jobsworths who have their eye on the piggy bank? Why is the statementing system not about showing what is needed but about politics, about forcing those in power to admit it?

Pardon all the effing. I am trying to work up enough steam to be aggressive, because the alternative is to collapse into some sort of exhausted, tearful puddle, and I'm buggered if I'm going to do that; it would be the same as letting the bastards win twice.

My God, but I've earned my grey hairs now.

08 February 2006

So This Is Me?

Got this link from MommyGuilt. It reads your blog and pulls out key words. I thought there might be one or two bizarre ones in there, but for my site, at least, it's all pretty tame.

What does it make of you and yours?

The Vicar's Egg

For those not yet aware of this particular phrase, I have a story.

Once a Vicar went to breakfast or tea (with some parishioners, I assume) and was fed a bad egg, or not precisely a bad egg, because, when asked how it had been, he replied "Very good in parts".

It's one of those 'glass half empty' lessons in life, except with a sort of yo-yo element built in, swinging the victim subject from one extreme to the other along the way. Perhaps Forrest Gump's box of chocolates would come close, if he had been obliged to work through the lot in one sitting.

I am experiencing a Vicar's egg. I hope the reverend gentleman, whoever or wherever he may be, has no objection.

The TV is working again. This is good. The problem was not to to with any of the intentionally removable wires at the back (all of which I wiggled enthusiastically at the moment of finding fault), but, rather disconcertingly with the supposedly permanent fixture known as the main power cable. This is not so good. Mercifully I wed a man with more than a passing capability in this field, having once made TVs for a living on behalf of the long defunct Fidelity. (You know the sort, the little 1970s white or bright orange 'portable' sets that weighed a ton but had a briefcase style handle built in to the top as proof that, given the right muscle strength, you could indeed 'port' them. This is a digression, but the bit before it was a good thing.)

So where are we? 2:1 to generally good stuff, so far, but the match has just begun and the players are still finding their stride.

Those of a delicate nature may wish to skip down a couple of paragraphs - then again it is highly unlikely that anyone with any particularly genteel sensibilities would be reading my blog in the first place.

This week is NNW*. This is bloody annoying. There are two things generally guaranteed to happen when Husband makes a trip away, or, if you prefer, one thing, enthusiastically reprised. These occur just before he leaves and then as soon as possible after he returns. Okay these things go on at other times too, but not often with such desire, intent and athleticism as may be afforded by a man whose back has a full, monastic week to regain movement, in the first instance, or to ready itself, in the second. This is a Bad thing - note the capital B, nonetheless we now have a draw, 2 all to sublime joys :-) vs miserable grievances :-(.

Husband had the day off work because he needs to make a five hour trip today to be available for a 9am start at the course tomorrow, so we walked the kids to school and then headed off to town for breakfast at the coffee shop. :-)

We also popped into Woolworth to buy him socks (because I never pair other peoples socks, he rarely throws away ones with holes in, Son (11) is already in to 'borrowing' dad's best pairs if he can't find any school socks [being generally as organised as his father in the matter of footcoverings] and it would therefore take a week to even evaluate whether Husband had ten decent pairs for the trip.) Enter the real reason for our 'romantic' jaunt, obviously; but the icing on the cake was when he trawled off to nose through the music CDs on sale just as we got to the front of the queue, leaving me to pay for the purchases. He only had a £20 or a fiver, so he gave me the fiver as a token. He seemed to feel this was a fair and honourable gesture on his part. :-(

We came home in a taxi :-)

He paid :-)

He went straight on the internet to check train times and his emails, and pretty much stayed there. :-(

He then started hurriedly packing, although it could have all been done the night before :-(

He then casually announced that his intended departure time (previously defined as somewhere between 1 and 3 in the afternoon) had moved forward to 12 noon, to avoid the London rush hour and to get to his destination before it was dark, i.e. he planned leaving in about ten minutes time :-(

I called him a taxi and whoosh, there he was gone, but with lots of cuddles at the door and promises to phone and a big smiley wave from the car :-)

I came back indoors and found that his computer (the server) was now, suddenly, miraculously and perversely, refusing to connect to the internet :-(

Diagnostics ran and offered to repair things, in as much as the little box said something along the lines of 'technically this can be repaired, so hit the button marked 'repair' and give it your best shot'. :-)

This didn't work and it suggested I go online for further details - fun, considering that was the one thing I couldn't do :-( (By the way, I really should ask, are you bored yet? I am. I quite understand.)

I spent an hour cleaning up his computer, defragging, searching for newly installed software (in case it really was a firewall settings thing) and even restoring to yesterday's date, rebooting after each and every step, all the while suffering withdrawal symptoms in anticipation, for fear of an entire ten days with no blog and no email. No joy. :-(

I rang the BT operator and instead of giving me the 0845 number for their broadband services (which costs money) they tried to connect me for free :-)

The guy kept mumbling things such as 'Just bear with me' with increasing levels of desperation, for about five minutes and never actually managed to redirect my call at all. :-(

However, as I sat there thinking this must be some kind of black comedy, the darn computer decided the DNS liked the IP or something, and it all sprang back to life. Halle-flaming-lujah. :-)

So here we are. At the moment the bad bits of the egg are winning by 1 point (or so), but there's more.

Two other, rather wonderful things happened yesterday, and as the TV got repaired last night, yesterday still counts.

Firstly I got a redirected piece of mail that had been posted well over a week ago. It was a birthday card, from a dear and distant friend, who had got the two digits of my house number mixed up. It was a lovely, silly Purple Ronnie card and I am apparently a 'top banana'. Suits me. :-)

Another friend who, although at home all day, is there because she genuinely works there and can't afford to witter away on MSN all day, nonetheless read yesterday's post and invited me to be on her chat list. If I get to the point where I really need an equal to hear me go GRAAAA!, I just have to click on her name and type said word. Its funny, but the power of the internet - blogging, email, chat et al, is that it doesn't really matter whether there is any response, or if that response takes weeks to arrive, somehow just putting an expletive or similar out there via any of these media, makes you feel 'heard'. I am honoured by the risk she took and flattered and feel special. :-)

Okay so I havent exactly been cruelly buffetted by the winds of WTF, more sort of gently stunned, like a chicken stroked between the eyes (or is that rabbits/horses/snakes?) Still, it all turned out good in the balance** and it could have been a lot worse.

I have a new and empathic understanding of that Vicar fellow. Lucky me.

(* No Nooky Week)
(** Unless you count that I trod in dog mess while we were out, in which case its a draw after all.)

07 February 2006

One Of Those 'Once Upon A Time' Times.

Once upon a time my ex husband walked out.

In one week, not too many days after I discovered I was a single mother, he cleared out and overdrew our joint bank account, the living room curtain pole fell off the wall, the vacuum cleaner and TV blew up/died and the washing machine leaked.

I found my self sweeping carpet with a broom, washing school uniform by hand in the bath, with no privacy and no TV.

Now I am trying to backtrack and recall whether this was the harbinger of good things or bad.

Him leaving was obviously a 'good thing', not that it felt that way too often at the time. Its a well known fact that the times where you cannot afford for anything to go wrong are also the times when absolutely everything does its utmost to go as far tits up as possible.

Yesterday by best MSN chat friend (ie the one who is indoors all day, just like me) cleared off for a two-week tryst en France. Good for her! This would not be such an issue for me except that Husband leaves, lunchtime tomorrow, on yet another flaming training course and will be rattling around in some grand hotel halfway up the country for the next ten days. I get him back the weekend after next.

Okay, so there I was, gearing up for three school days and a whole half term (plus Valentines day) without too much in the way of adult communication. ('Too much' meaning any, at all.)

Now the TV has decided I am allowed to hear but not see whats on - the picture has died. The kids will go bonkers, but not as doolally as me once they're in bed and the silence creeps in. I feel some divinely foisted pottering coming on.

Its going to be like solitary confinement, except with mouths to feed and wars to adjudicate.

At least I'm near the sea, so perhaps a long walk. I just can't think where the nearest short pier might be.

06 February 2006

Free Association 157

Really only doing this weeks because I missed last week. No I am not depressed (half the blog world seems to be); I'm just shirty, ratty, touchy, snarly and a tad brittle. Same as normal, then.

List courtesy of Luna Nina

  1. Taking sides:: unproductive
  2. Couples:: pairs
  3. Right of refusal:: Thats an American Law? I have no idea
  4. Marla:: Really odd sounding name not used over here.
  5. Multiple:: Plural
  6. Trinity:: three
  7. Sneeze:: Bless you
  8. Sweatpants:: GROSS name for trackies, suggesting they are worn as a sop rag.
  9. Steve:: load cargo
  10. Fabulous:: Stupendous; outmoded eighties exclamation, gushy.

05 February 2006

Test Post

Yesterday the blogger / blogspot Help page for known issues said this:

Blogger Bugs

  • Stats collection has been temporarily turned off, so you will not see your post count or recent posts updating on your dashboard or profile. We plan to restore this functionality soon but have needed to turn this feature off for now in order to stabilise our database servers. Once we get this restored, these items will update automatically.
  • Currently, Profile Images must be under 50k in size, and their URLs must be less than 68 characters long.
  • Republishing an entire blog will sometimes get stuck part way through and not finish, though new entries can still be published normally. We are working on improving the database performance to fix this error.

Funny that, it's just what it says today, too.

So, yesterday, I thought I managed to work out why a new post would show up on my blog but not in my list of posts for editing. Noticing spelling errors, the only way I had to correct them was to Ctrl+C copy the whole text from my published page, and paste it into a brand new entry.

I only managed to enter a test comment if I did it the instant the post was created.

This morning I signed in and, sure enough, the list of posts and the blog have coordinated again - not by updating the dashboard, but by changing the blog to match the dashboard. Bye bye post.

Since the same 'Known Issues' are apparently in effect, I have to guess the same will happen to this one?

What joy.

03 February 2006

Tip For The Day

If, after a long day, a late movie and a bottle of very good cider, you get a midnight urge to wax poetical and splurge the result on your blog -

Just don't.


02 February 2006

Sometimes It Takes More Than Time.

I never knew you'd done it, see. These tiny battle scars we wear!
Love chafes a heart, or scrapes a knee, and dots its damage here and there.
We both are calloused round about, with thickened skin where once we'’d bruised;
Old wounds may feel a second clout, but nevermore feel so abused.

See, love is more than hopes and dreams; it flourishes in bitter days.
The bond of war-torn brothers seems so similar, in many ways,
And here we are. The years have flown since that small thorn had pierced my skin.
I thought it gone for good, you'’ve known; but now it seems it burrowed in.

Back then, you didn'’t understand and consequently didn'’t fuss;
I cried, we rowed, I took my stand, but life and love moved on with us.
Today your unexpected words of gentleness and real concern
Fell, like a kiss, upon my skin. It startled me to feel them burn.

The briny tears of sweet relief and yet resentment, all combined
Bring joy and healing, yes and grief, to wait so long for words so kind.
I promise dear, I never knew I'’d held that in so strong and deep.
But you and I, our love is true. Excuse me, while I go, and weep.


Nasty Nasty

This is a grubby little post. Blame Zilla for making the memory resurface, as she recently blogged about defiling the sheets of the filthy rich. I think it was the combination of the words sheets, defiling, and filthy. So now you know.

Once upon a teenage, excited, 'we know it all' type time, I went for my first ever dirty weekend, in Milton Keynes.

Shagging up alleyways behind the Ealing carpet megastore, or in other discrete but scuzzy corners, was de rigeur if you had a regular boyfriend. Parking under trees in his dad's borrowed car was the height of luxury, with heating and steamed up windows and locks on the doors. No parents let their child's partner stop over in those days, and no child even over eighteen admitted they were 'at it', so fumbled thanks for a lovely evening was creatively scheduled.

This time it was different. This time there was a concert, miles away and involving train travel, and we had an approved overnight stop.

Specifically it was the first ever concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl. UB40 were playing. It was going to be so exciting.

It rained solidly for a day or two before, and by the time we arrived, the grassy bowl had become a mud pool, trampled and turned by thousands of excited ticket holders. Some people were standing on beer cans to stop from sinking, and some were swigging more beer double fast. Males who bravely hoisted their ladies onto their shoulders would visibly sink, or fall over.

The show went on.

The toilets were a mile away, it seemed, along the edge of the bowl and it was no small feat to battle through the crowd and uphill through mud to get there. So we didn't. We stood at a suitable distance from the group of drunks in front, who were having fun threatening to kill each other and trying to pile drive each other into the ground and generally out-rowdy the PA system. We were cold, I was busting.

The music was great, but in the end it didn't really matter that we'd come all that way, paid all that money, secured historical 'first event' tickets etc etc, to stand cold, wet, muddy and miserable, because to our minds the best was yet to come.

An official, sanctioned, parentally blind-eyed overnight stop at a bed and breakfast establishment. Time enough to take our time. We were grown-ups, and we were going to get it on. In a real room. And then even talk to other grown ups over a breakfast table, afterwards. We were so naughty.

I don't remember what or if we ate on the way to or from the concert, I seem to recall that Milton Keynes closed before the concert did, but I do know that in spite of this, in the end we never even stayed for our long awaited, pre-paid 'Full English Breakfast' at Mrs Pinchnose's B&B.



Thin, glaringly purple, 100% nylon, bedsheets.

There were no tissues in the room. There was no access to toilet roll except via a communal hall to communal facilities (and we were teenagers, the idea of getting caught tiptoeing back with half a roll of paper was just mortifying).

Boyfriend was, therefore, so shockingly embarassed by the globulous, impertinent and immovable remains of his pre-dawn excitement, which sat proud on the dayglo nylon in an almost mocking fashion, that he volunteered to make the bed while I got washed. I came back to the room to find everything looking spotless and him slightly flushed in the face but dressed and ready to go. He was even wearing his rucksack.

Whilst I dressed, he went downstairs to settle up and cancel our breakfast. He returned wearing a fake, weak smile, being closely followed by the lady of the house, pinnied up and sour looking, who had obviously decided that if her kitchen skills were not required, she would get on with doing the room.

We left. Actually he mumbled something about missing our train and we fair nearly dashed out of there.

A couple of roads away, in the cool morning light, our stomachs grumbling, I asked him what he'd done.

He'd removed the bottom sheet completely and made the bed back up to hide its absence. He therefore needed us out of the house before she lifted up the coverlet and asked where it had gone.

The nasty damp nylon and and its resolutely established contents, he had folded up and hidden under the pillow, although he thought that was probably going to mark the pillow also, and mentioned that it may have already spotted the mattress.

We knew, there and then, that we would never attempt another dirty weekend together, for fear of nylon sheets.

And we ran.

01 February 2006

Dates For The Diary

Working from recent comments I present the following birthdays

13 Jan Bart (Orlando Bloom)
14 Jan Ivy (Faye Dunaway)
26 Jan Steve (Michael Bentine)
30 Jan Astryngia (Vanessa Redgrave)
08 Feb Zilla (Nick Nolte)*
22 Mar Rain (William Shatner)
18 May Milt Bogs (Walter Gropius)
20 May Ms Mac (Louis Theroux)
17 July She Weevil (James Cagney)
14 Aug Le Laquet (Halle Berry)
15 Sept Prydwen (Agatha Christie)
21 Sept Carol (Ricki Lake)
24 Sept Ella M (Jim Henson)
13 Oct Neutron (Maggie Thatcher)
15 Dec Lady Muck (Nero)

Zilla, whom I count as a very dear blogging friend and someone whose name is on my list of things to do before I die (as in: go partying and get trashed with Zilla) has her birthday very, very soon. And she mentioned on her blog. And she told me by email when I asked. And I lost it.

So, whilst I offended her with that information and prayed for her to communicate the date again, she sat down here, away from the list.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

(Steve - see? I told you it was nothing personal, I do it to everybody. No, I don't want Ginkgo Biloba.)