30 June 2006

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Or it least I would be, if I wasn't still having a panic attack about the first one going.

Anyone got any idea when my feet are supposed to reconnect with the ground? I mean, people go through worse all the time but it would still be good to know.

26 June 2006

Why not Yee Ha?

Always assuming you are over 18, please follow this link, cast your eyes down to the fifth tidbit, and read.

I confess I had heard this one before and am prepared to believe most of it.

Its just the name.

Wu Hu?

Don't you think that's taking it a little too far?


EDIT: Found her - Wu Chao (626-705 AD). All I need now is for some clever soul to advise on pronunciation...

25 June 2006

Well, Really....

I'm rather peeved by this:

You Are Tequilla

When you drink, you're serious about getting drunk!
You'll take any shot that's offered up to you...
Even if it tastes like sock sweat!
And you're never afraid of eating the worm.

It's fairly obvious that the program threw out this erroneous little assumption based on my dislike for sweet, syrupy drinks, and, ahem, the thing about throwing up on the bar.

Just because a girl can chunder with the best of them when a double vodka mickey gets slipped into her seventh snakebite, it doesn't mean I'd swallow down old socks, or bite worms. Really, a lady has standards, you know.

Yes, it was a long time ago, when I and my liver were younger and found it easier to bounce back. Yes I recovered sufficiently to threaten the fun-boy responsible, to strut in a scary-lady fashion around the pool room brandishing two halves of a screw-threaded snooker cue in such a way that even though it belonged to him, he didn't dare ask for it back, and then even to pass the ultimate 'Oh God I'm drunk and he's looking at me' test and to do the grand exit thing and strut off down the road in a haughty, disdainful manner with all the prescence of Cher, on cheap stiletto boots that could snap an ankle while the world spinned and I fought the desire to let my stomach reprise the clear out. So Ha.

24 June 2006

Even a Nun would chuckle...

...at Nun Chucks, brought to you by Archie McPhee for only $4.95 . Their sales blurb below.

Nun Chuck
Sally Fields isn't the only nun who can fly! Just load the 1" tall,
plastic nuns into the 5-3/4" long plastic shooting device and
pull the trigger to send a sister sailing. Great for anyone still
recovering from Catholic school. Four different nuns included.

23 June 2006

Warts and stripes

Daughter thinks she might have a wart coming along, on one knuckle.

But that's OK.

One poor girl at school has impy-tiger.

(Ken'ya diggit?)*

*Sorry. It was the tigers.

21 June 2006

Philosophos* Blogging

Today's revered philosophos is Mobile Homemaker of Survival Guide to Homelessness.

"All lifestyles are investments"
From the post 'Changing your life'

Deep, Huh?

*A philosopher already subscribes to (and is a proponent of) a particular reality framework. I much prefer the ancient greek root, Philosophos, meaning lover of wisdom; somehow its less judgemental.

20 June 2006

Does this one go out to you?

For once I'll go on about myself and my reasons after the lyrics....

When all goodbyes
Are said and done,
And nighttime finds you home,
Are you all right
To spend a night
Of being all alone?

And do you hide
Between the lines
Of conversations past?
A wall of words,
A heart unheard,
That hides behind a mask?

I’m raining on the inside;
My heart wells up with tears that start to pour.
I’m raining on the inside,
But then your cries of love break through,
And I fall in love with you once more.

When friends who care
Can’t be there
To ease away my pain,
And peace of mind
Is hard to find,
Like sunlight in the rain.

God sees my heart,
The deepest part,
Inside this lonely me,
And reachin’ in,
His love begins
To heal the heart in me.

I’m raining on the inside;
Oh, my heart wells up with tears that start to pour.
I’m raining on the inside,
But then your cries of love break through,
And I fall in love with you once more.

Sometimes we’re raining on the inside,
And our hearts well up with tears that start to pour.
But when we’re raining on the inside,
Let his cries of love break through,
Know that he loves you, once more....

Sometimes I’m raining on the inside,
But then your cries of love break through,
And I fall in love with you once more.

Raining On The Inside by Amy Grant.

This is a mood I recognise; don't we all?
This is not a personal statement about anything - not indicative of my musical taste, current mood, religious affiliation or any other trait, nor is it a ham-fisted attempt at evangelism, Heaven forbid (says she, knowing full well what that will sound like to atheist friends, haha).

Someone out there needs the words, is all.

Sorry I couldnt sort out an MP3 because although its not my style, the music truly compliments the lyrics and rounds them out.

I just wanted to say - if you are feeling that rotten, like the game has been stacked against you; then ((((((((((Hugs))))))))).

If it would make any difference or cheer you up, to hear someone say that they do, honestly, know what you mean/how you feel; then I've been there and I'll put my hand up to that.

It is a pet theory of mine that the blogosphere is peopled with sensitive types; we have the power to be introspective. I'm hoping, then, to get a lot of comments on this post because I just want other people to say 'Me too'. If you need lifting up, then every 'me too' comment is as good as another hug.

For what its worth, I have finally woken up from a solid night of sleep and have much more energy today. I am on the mend. I feel great and it looks like a lovely day and I just want to smile at everybody.

Smile back!?

19 June 2006

Knitters unite(d) and save(d) the fairy penguins! **

Today I received a 'Get Well Soon' card from my mum, which had made its way to the hospital and been forwarded from there. The card, whilst lovely, was not the focus of my anticipation. What I waited for was the promised magazine clipping that was tucked inside; simply because, until I saw it for myself, I wasn't quite prepared to believe that it was true.

Both the Phillip Island Nature Park and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust are were asking for people to send them knitted jumpers for penguins. In fact although I understand that the request for help has now been cancelled, this only came to light through the web. If I'd relied purely on the (recent) paper clipping I'd be knitting away, as we speak.

To be specific, these are Little Penguins (yes thats a capital L because thats their proper name, although some also call them fairy penguins.)

The little guys are having trouble with oil slicks and are being rescued, but, hey, once the detergent has done its job, they have no natural oils left in the skin either, they cease to be waterproof and they catch cold.

**Honestly, seriously, genuinely, if you had half an hour and enough pure wool to knit an oblong measuring 9 inches by 4, then you could have saved the life of a fairy penguin.

Here are a couple that received the attention of someone who decided to have fun with this:

Here, incase you suspect I am pulling your chain (and hey, I understand, I was there myself a day ago) is the full pdf of knitting instructions, issued by the nature reserve.

Still think I'm on a wind up? See Snopes.

18 June 2006

Wheeee; don't mind me.

I'd wanted to write a post by now.

I've seen a few suitable thoughts, floating by in this goldfish bowl known as my mind. One today was a small, mostly black, guppy shaped thing with the colours and shapes of bamboo and cherry-blossom hinting and glinting in its scales. Delightful, at first glance. A little one, it nonetheless had a big name and was entitled "Haiku as you name it is not Haiku but Senryu".

A fussy, darting little creature, it really was doing its best to appear interesting and original, but once it realised it had caught my attention, proceeded to pull out a soapbox and placard, at last revealing it's self righteous, neo-political agenda. Not so much a subtext then as a printed text, on the aforementioned placard, along the lines of 'Names are special so get your facts straight'.

Hmm. It did have a point, but had only reached my attention at all through its tenacious and opportunistic parading of itself at the front of the bowl, made possible only by the fact that all my other fish were and are spaced out on beta blockers and blood thinners. The combination is like laughing gas to them and many beautiful, plump, rainbow coloured fish-shaped notions are floating past in an especially floaty kind of a way, but which I mean with no discernible purpose or destination (other than to have a good time and to go with the flow).

I honestly think I saw my sense of humour heading towards the surface with an anti-oxygen mask and a lilo under one fin, off to try dangerous sports, it seems, whilst the first flush of these new medications makes thinking 'outside of the bowl' particularly easy.

The thing is, I see one of these amazing creatures in front of me, ready to be painted into a blog post and have its existence shared, and normally that's all that it takes. Well, that and the spark of an idea, because under normal circumstances a spark of something is necessary to momentarily light up the bowl and illuminate that which is trying to be obvious.

I went and had a clean out didn't I.

I don't think the waters will ever be clean and plain - how boring and disappointing that would be. 'Seeing' the subconscious, the superconscious or the other levels of whatever there might be, would no longer be a matter of conjecture (or hope) based on a fleeting, subjective experience. Rather, the experience would be as plain as seeing, feeling and parading a supermarket trolley from the rack outside of whichever supermarket you wish.

There's a thought. I wonder how many spiritual mysteries and revelations (whoever gets them and however much credence they award them) will one day turn out to be empty spiritual shopping trolleys dumped in the car park of the mind and having at least one wonky wheel that wants to veer off sideways, that type of rust unique to shopping carts that never quite looks like it was made by rain (urine perhaps, or a night in a pond or puddle, but somehow not rain), and, as a final indignity, somebody's used chewing gum badly hidden just underneath the handle.

See this is my problem. The waters of my mind, having had a clean out, are currently rainbow muted and shockingly, breathtakingly beautiful, and I find I am as spaced as my thoughts. Me and the fishes, we're off watching the pretty lights and keep losing out train of thought. Choo-choo; oh no, wrong trains.

Yes I do appreciate that technically the clean out was concentrated on my arteries. Nonetheless, I went into freefall panic. I had a heart attack, for crying out loud, at 4.30 in the morning, from rest, and for no good reason other than genetics, nicotine and the fact that life just isn't fair.

When this poor bloody junior doctor (nice fella, actually) had to give me all the pre-op warnings like (by memory) statistically 1 in 600 angiograms will go horribly wrong and result in stroke, open heart surgery or other little inconveniences like death; when he looked at my stunned face (I was still in denial about being remotely unfit, see) and tried to help by volunteering that they had never had an angio go wrong at Eastbourne, well I guess he wasn't expecting my cynical little brain to think that they must be overdue, in that case, for their one in one thousand and that if my life could go this effing horribly wrong it might not have finished messing me about yet.

In other words I convinced myself that if anyone's angio was going to go wrong, it was mine, on account of how Murphy's Law was dealing with me so far. I went to my angio completely mentally prepared to be wide awake, strapped to a table, watching the X-ray screens as the wedged a catheter up my erm, artery, only to see something essential get punctured or explode or stick two metaphorical fingers up at me and gently cease to function; on screen, on purpose.

Is that a bit of a head fuck? (Pardon terminology).
Yeah, I thought so too. But hey, life (or my body) was already taking the piss more than I ever imagined possible, so why the heck not.

So, not a brush with death as such (although they knocked me out during the second angio so anythings possible!), but at least a solid confrontation, of quite some duration, with the expectation of death; the sensation of being tied to a trolley and unable to do anything but observe as I was wheeled off in the wrong direction. Some might relate that to a spiritual enema. It certainly sweeps away the emotional detritus and lets in new light, but I guess whether or not it counts as an enema depends on where you keep your goldfish bowl.

Not so dark at the moment, then, the waters of my fantasy world/brain currently flash and sparkle constantly like an under-sea version of the Northern Lights and they light up all the little fish, the nooks and crannies, the rocks and plants and it all starts to look like an enchanted forest. I start to see possibilities and ideas and things to record or relate, but then wham, the light itself, rather than the things it falls upon, takes my breath away once again.

I mean wow, it's like a sunset with special effects.

Life, dear friends; (if you don't let it clog up with algae of materialism and other such self deception) life is A1 f***ing beautiful, and interconnected and sparkly and heartwarming and fun. And I'm sorry I haven't answered near half as many of your posts as I've read and I'm sorry I haven't posted.

I've just been too busy being awed at all the amazing little fish, and the lights.........


16 June 2006

Somebody sent me a present.

It is a book, from the UK Amazon.

The silver wrapping paper and broad ribbon were beautiful and it was an extra treat to receive not just a gift, but one with the presentation so embellished.

The title of the book is an immense compliment. Someone somewhere is insisting I have a skill, or a gift, and, well, thats a whole warm fuzzy feeling.

There was a card attached - to coordinate with the wrapping paper. It contained the loveliest of good wishes.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I don't know whether there was an oversight or a deliberate omission to keep things anonymous, but the message on the little gift card did not include a name.

I have my suspicions and could probably have spoken directly to someone and asked if 'this was them', but that would have removed this opportunity to tell everybody how very, very happy I am with the gift, and everything about it.

So there.

15 June 2006


Hi guys
Thanks for all the good wishes.
No need to tell you anything about it because I see that every last gory and personal detail is over on Wulfie's blog.
Off to have a lie down, but thought I should let you nice people know that they let me home.

13 June 2006

Postcard from the edge (of the bed)

Below I transcribe a blog from Cheryl who is fighting boredom in the CCU (Cheryl Confinement Unit). - Wulfweard

Hi Guys

Doctor God the cardiologist has the height, the boyish looks, the hero-worshipping lesser mortals in tow and everything that might inspire someone to settle into being a a big-headed prat.


This guy is a nice guy. It seems like his genuine goal in life is rescuing people and saving the day.

His next in line looks like ‘the biscuit’ (John Cage) out of Ally McBeal and sounds like the tall one from Little Britain – he says ‘hmmm’ and I just want to crack up.

So the medical bit. They’ve found the problem, they just don’t know what it is doing there. Everything around the ‘event’ says spasm, but spasms tend to undo.

Whatever, I’ll either get a ‘stent’ (arterial reinforcement like the crossing threads on a garden hose – think microscopic chicken wire fence).

They are going to treat my body like a child’s first sewing kit again tomorrow and have a good look round.

After that I should be home with blood thinners, beta-blockers, something to lower cholesterol, major nicotine withdrawal and instructions to take it very easy for a while.

Thanks for all your good wishes. Husband has printed out a copy of all your comments for me to see.

I know life can catch up on you, I just thought maybe in 15-20 years – right now just seems like bad luck.

12 June 2006

New Update

Cheryl had an angiogram today and will have to have an angioplasty on Wed.
Feeling under the weather but more upbeat .

Had enough time to laugh at her stars for the day.

Will keep you posted


10 June 2006

Bed Bound

This is hubby writing for Madbaggage.

Wife is now in hospital for at least 2 more days. Pacing like a caged tiger she wishes everybody well. Still not sure what is wrong more tests on Monday.
Sends all her love.


09 June 2006


They rang at five.

The bloods were very slightly elevated, probably angina or a viral infection. Would I mind grabbing my toothbrush and going back in to be strapped down, prodded and poked for the weekend. The cardiologist does his rounds tomorrow.

Think of me when you find this post - I will be going stir crazy! Those who know Wulfie, be nice to him, he's looking so crushed I've ended up apologising to him.

Love to you all. Be back soon.


I always joked that all the stress dealing with East Sussex County Council, fighting over Son's statement would end up giving me a heart attack. If I'm prone to prophecy like that I'll have to learn to keep my gob shut....... ;-)

Tantrum Over

I have had my tantrum and am feeling a little bit sheepish now.

Possibly what happened is that the half dozen tablets they fed me before wheeling me out of A&E did the trick, and left me free to express all the panic and anger that had been part of the foggy melee of things going on behind the pain until that point.

Off to the GP this morning, to see what he thinks. Perhaps I'll get some blood thinners and an appointment at the hospital, with a chance to go in prepared. Perhaps I'll get told to go away and wait for the next episode, which is kind of scary, but then it would allow me to self medicate with lifestyle changes and all that.

Already today I've only had one cup of coffee, and two teas, and now I'm keeping count I realise quite how much I resemble a perambulating coffee pot. Sorry Stegbeetle, I am going to have to get used to normal tea before considering going cold turkey on the caffeine front, but yeah, I love Rooibos.

One vague concern is that my Fawlty-esque and near autistic outrage at the world that people kindly confuse with humour will disappear along with the caffeine jitters and that the new, calm me will be about as exciting as a social worker on valium. Time will tell, but if you catch me being drippy or gentle or cooing or in any way doing an impression of the milk-and-water mother on Little House On The Prairie, tie me down and give me intravenous cola, ok? If there's none available, just shoot me.

The CCU (I have to correct that in the other post, but boy was Blogger up the spout yesterday), ahem, the Coronary Care Unit is designed to handle very sick people, to the point that when I got to use the wing lavatory, I found Nurses uniforms hung up in there. They are used to their patients being near comatose and not giving a rats fart about where they are, or who with, let alone wanting to get out of bed.

No radio, no side tables, no proper thick curtains, no attempt to separate male from female, no bell to call the nurse and definitely no getting out of bed. They seem to expect to only get people who are ready to lie there and play vegetable. I mean, that's fine if you're that sick, must be rather handy if you just want to float over the pain, but for a panicked, hyperactive, stroppy and somewhat controlling woman it was like coming face to face with my greatest fear.

My list of essential items to take back with me (if I have to go back) therefore includes at the top:
  • peppermints
  • fake cigarette
  • sudoku book
  • writing paper
  • good reading book
  • a really scary text book - Egan's The Skilled Helper might do it - something to suggest I might know more about basic human psychology and bedside manners than they do.
  • knitting
  • a picnic (maybe apples and a pocket knife - that'd freak the bastards)
  • 6 long hat pins and
  • a voodoo effigy of man in white coat.
There would be a pack of cards or a jigsaw on that list, but for the lack of any hard surface to use them on, and a gameboy or personal stereo but for my suspicion that such things would be banned and confiscated for fear of affecting readouts.

I am tempted to throw in the red plastic proboscis kept over from the last Red Nose Day, but hell, I want to be damn sure I'm the only one laughing.

08 June 2006

Thursday Thirteen and then some

I don't have room for a 'real' Thursday Thirteen today and anyway this is a much longer list, so consider my TT to be 13 points of your choice from the myriad below. TT friends therefore need not read, just add your name so I can come and see you tomorrow, that'd be nice.

Zilla cheered me up so much asking me to throw you/her a bone; because unbeknownst to the lady, that is about the most perfect pun in the world.

There is no such thing as coincidence, although I do have a standing joke that God/guides/somebody keeps using me as a spiritual glove puppet. I guess it was Zilla's turn.

I have recently been too hot, too dehydrated and a little bit viral and the trouble with being a couch potato slob when your mind remembers higher levels of activity, is that you can attempt to put on a sudden burst beyond your current capabilities and then suffer for it.

Specifically, I was feeling sort of bleugh-vague all day yesterday, woke with slight, near unnoticeable oedema in one ankle in spite of recent high levels of exercise and so slobbed out some more, keeping the leg up if I sat down, and avoiding the computer. I sit here cross legged, so its always the same leg that gives off the warning signs that feel like a lead sock.

DVTs run in the family (at which point blood doesn't so well), so I obey my ankle.

Anyhow, Son was off sick. Not sick exactly; someone stomped on his toe at the weekend and what with socks, sweat and school shoes that toenail was looking more than a little septic by yesterday, so I let him have a day barefoot. In the afternoon I therefore left him indoors (he's 11, but still...), and raced around the corner at the last minute to collect his sister from school, overdid it and set my heart pounding. After ten minutes stood out in the blazing sun and panting like a geriatric Labrador, when it was obvious she was very late out, another mother in the same boat offered to pick her up for me along with her own kids so I did another sprint home to make sure son hadn't set the house on fire.

He hadn't, but school had phoned. The kids she normally walks back with were staying at school for some reason, so she had set off late, and alone. Back out we went, although I could have done without it. It was the continuous heart pounding, head splitting and rather worryingly sore arms that convinced me I was overheated and dehydrated. Sun stroke or the like, you know?

I had another stint of feeling that rough at 4.30 this morning. It was a hot night, but boy did I wake feeling shitty, so I scared myself a bit. Exhausted and woozy and not geared up for repetitive or sane conversations, after googling for a while to see if I'd 'got something', I gave up and phoned NHS direct. When the receptionist put me through to a tired West Indian nurse with a difficult accent, forcing me to concentrate, and when said nurse started asking me all the same bloody questions all over again, when I also realised that lying on the floor to talk to her didn't make my head feel any better, I gave up and hung up the phone.

I woke husband instead, and here begins the daftest turn of events.
  • 5.30 am He called the GPs and got the answerphone
  • which gave no number at all for the doctors on call, but said
  • If there is any chest pain at all, phone 999 for an ambulance.
  • There was chest pain, but quite honestly it was more like an uncomfortable brick, and if someone could have just carved out the glands from behind my ears and chopped both arms off, I would have been happy. Still, emanating from those was ear ache, head ache and chest discomfort, of no more severity than you would get with a cold. Lets call this the originating enquiry, or DEFCON 4.
  • The ambulance service sent a paramedic in a car.
  • He was followed by two ambulancemen and within 20 minutes I was surrounded by three men in green uniforms looking to have a safe patient to take up the last of their shift.
  • Phrases like 'Oh well, now we're here we might as well" were used, and as my entire concentration was still centred on wishing my arms would fall off, I went with, to hospital. We'll call that a tentative step up to DEFCON 3. Thank heavens for Reynolds, whose insights into the life and mind of a UK ambulanceman allowed me to chat to these guys in a relaxed way and make them feel validated. By the end of the trip, one was volunteering how one local family called them out 276 time in a year for issues such as a sore toe or needing help reading the prescription on a bottle of tablets. Yay Reynolds; thanks.
  • A&E seemed empty when we arrived, but they still kept me for FIVE hours, because, they said, all the Doctors were at a meeting and there was only one on duty.
  • The woman who checked me in asked if it was a panic attack. When I panic, its not me that gets attacked, so that's a no-no. Someone else asked if I'd been under a lot of stress recently. What can you say to that? 'Oh I've had twenty three years of stress what with a violent first marriage, time as a single parent, four kids including two with special needs and I was actually enjoying my first lull in the stress department until you lot started pissing about'?
  • Still they took loads of bloods at third try, once they had finally made a successful hole in my arm.
  • The bloods were supposed to take 45 minutes to be processed.
  • Two hours later they got round to telling me that the doctor hadn't seen me yet because one of the bloods they took 'was no good' and they had to repeat. Hardly signs of any concern at all, let alone suspicion that I might have heart tissue necrotising before their eyes. I was being processed, and as far as they were concerned, it could take all day; I might even get sent home.
  • They failed to find a blood vessel spare in either arm this time and made another hole in the back of my hand instead and took two vials for the one job 'to be on the safe side'.
  • About an hour later I was seen by the doctor on duty. The other two vials had congealed too fast again, so he gave me two squirts of that spray (beta blocker?) for heart attack victims, which made no bloody difference at all but probably contributed to me nearly passing out whilst hanging on to the chest X-ray machine that they then sent me to play with.
  • This also involved yanking the half dozen skin contacts (those sticky backed things) off my chest so they wouldn't interfere with the picture, only to get wheeled back to A&E to have them replaced. Mercifully the ones on my upper arms and ankles stayed put.
  • So my heart rate has gone down from a healthy 70 something to 50 something due to the spray, my blood oxygen levels have remained at the 99 to 100 mark (which I claimed as lack of carbon dioxide and proof that I needed a cigarette - it didn't work).
  • Pulse even and healthy, no sign of a heart attack nor of a damaged heart working too fast; perfectly clear lungs, excellent oxygen levels, decent low blood pressure. The only worry is that my blood is too thick, so they:
  • Fill me up on aspirin and four little pink things,
  • Send me up to ECU 'just in case', having told me that a beating heart from over exertion is also known as palpitations and palpitations are BAD. Excuses excuses. DEFCON 2 just to cover someone's arse of the slim off chance.
  • Answers to 'may I use a real toilet' and 'If I don't have a fag soon I'll have a panic attack on top of this lot' were met with 'Lets just get you up to ECU and see then.'
  • Answer to the same questions up in ECU were 'Ooh no sorry dear you're on the machine now and have to stay there until 4.30 in the afternoon, so we can take your bloods exactly 12 hours after your last episode. This, including the inferred little confession that the three failed blood tests from A&E were worthless anyway, was after they had ripped and replaced all the skin contacts from my boobs, because the their machines had different design cables - A&E's one worked like crocodile clips, ECU's one worked like mini microphone plugs. I didn't know whether I looked more like a pincushion or a noticeboard.
  • It had taken five hours to get a straight answer regarding a desperately needed smoke, and I would have handled that response a whole lot better if I'd had one as honest sooner than that, before hope turned to anxiety and nicotine withdrawal turned to homicidal tendencies. So instead I handled it badly, and had to mentally toss up between bursting into tears as the only female in the ward, with the bed curtains wide open, or getting my shoes on and testing how much they meant it.
  • Just to effing cap it all after more than five sodding hours, the response to me donning my footwear was to help me unplug from the machine and hand me a disclaimer form for self discharge, until the doctor on duty panicked and came to try and talk me out of it, but all he could tell me were what tests I would miss, how they needed them to see if I'd had a heart attack (!), past tense; nothing about dangers or after effects, just tests.
Lying still was driving me mental - more so because the blood thinners and or the aspirin seemed to have made everything better at last; my wounded and previously unbearable arms were down to a mild ache and the other tweaks and twinges were gone. All gone. Completely.

So I got dressed, went up the corridor to a real toilet, dignity intact (I am NOT pissing into a cardboard bowler hat behind a flimsy curtain in a room full of bored, sickly and therefore very interested old men), came back and went to sign the form.

I was supposed to sign to agree that someone had explained the dangers to me, and my signature was supposed to be witnessed by a member of staff. They all hid, all became suddenly very busy peering into filing cabinets or pouring over medical notes at the front desk and no one would come and witness, so I changed the wording 'against medical advice' to 'against medical preference' and in the space for the name of this doctor warning of danger, I filled the line with 'No dangers, just tests'. I thought filling the witness' place to sign with 'no witness' was taking it too far and could land them in hot water. They were being nice after all, even if they behaved like scared rabbits, and it wasn't really their fault that I felt I had had the piss taken out of me all bloody day by jobsworths watching their backs whilst steadfastly refusing to give me straight answers until I was a gibbering wreck.

I came home by bus.

Husband has gone out to get me fish oil capsules and some more of odourless garlic, plus some aspirins, because quite honestly the thick blood could be a real issue, so I am going to take precautions. Here I am then, self discharged from the coronary care unit, and to be honest, if there had been any bones lying around a few hours ago, I would have been throwing them at men in white coats.

I guess I'm going to have to say bye bye to the ciggies now, but I'll start with giving up caffeine because I've had enough stress for today.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

06 June 2006

My Patience Withers


Just for She Weevil:

Try looking at the lady, about the same age, but blonde:

then aged 40:

then aged 60:

If you Google, I will feel left out. Groan.

05 June 2006

She Weevil Lookalike

Way back in the mists of time I told She Weevil she resembled Bette Davis. I stand by that observation and heres why:


However I have found another possibility:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You think?

All I need YOU to do is tell me who the lady is!

One hint: she was christened Georgette, somewhere between 1910 and 1925.

Delayed Reaction

To answer Stegbeetle's question in the comments three posts down, I have no idea if my son worked out we had left for the jaunt on Saturday. Husband certainly knew, in fact as final preparations were made, his moaning from in front of his all important televised football match went from 'Can't you do that somewhere else?' to 'I thought you were going out!'

We even got back five minutes late for the start of Doctor Who.

All that stuff about doing this once a month? Pah. Sunday morning daughter decides she knows the short route to the High And Over now and wants to lead everybody there for a picnic lunch.

Fair enough - its only about 40 minutes each way if you take it at a snails pace, so I rustled up some cheese sandwiches and a bottle of diluted squash and off we set.

I should have known I was opening a can of worms when Husband enthusiastically dug out the digital camera and clipped it to his belt.

After a gentle stroll enjoying the air and the bravery/ indifference of the huge rabbit population, pretty much all on level ground, we got to the old picnic site. I say old, because there is only one bench left now and no tables, but the view over the valley and the river in both directions is absolutely breathtaking.

Fine. Sandwiches consumed and views admired, we'd been out for about an hour and the kids and I were ready to head back. Little things like school uniform laundry were calling to me in the back of my mind. Things to do.

"Why don't we go down to the river and walk up the banks to Alfriston?" says Husband, with that glaring, slightly manically enthusiastic smile that says every complaint you could possibly make will go straight over his head from here on in.

I gave it a good shot nonetheless, and complained several times en route, in fact I think I managed to polish my personal vitriol in the process. I was sniping like a true Diva before long, whilst my intended audience chuckled.

Yes, chuckled.

When he insisted the old way down the hill was still safe enough if you walk sideways (the one where half the steps have subsided and you have a dusty, chalky, crumbly slope to negotiate at approximately 1:1) and I ended up purposely inching down on my backside and telling him I hated his guts, he laughed.

When daughter went sliding and scared herself and told him she hated him too, he laughed.

When she trod on her thirtieth thistle and said it with tears in her eyes whilst I held her hand and said a lot of words under my breath, his truth radar still refused to function and he laughed.

When I told him I was fed up with him assuming every attack on his grand ideas was not genuine, nor based in reason, but simply feminine girly squealing of a vacuous nature (I was rather more gynaecological about it than that) the thick shit still didn't get the point.

When a large googly eyed cow who had obviously been for a bath in cow poop decided she liked us enough to follow us, block our path and stare us down almost nose to nose, and daughter got panicky (I wasn't too happy either) he showed no qualms and kept on walking.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very fond of him, but as to relying on him to assume I have little things of any gravity such as a brain or an opinion, or genuine disquiet - forget it. He wouldn't think that way, ergo I don't mean it. Or maybe its just the idea of me being other than indestructible that just won't register. I know I avoid being a simpering girly-girl like its the plague, but have I overdone it?

In the end we were out for another four hours, and the little village just up the road? Its true its only about five or six miles from home if you take the road, but following all the curves in the river you can triple that.

When he finally realised he had pushed his luck too far, there was suddenly and remarkably no plea of poverty when I pulled my best 'demon dog from hell' face and growled that were going to get a taxi home from the village, or else. At Sunday rates, to boot.

The whole point of sharing this little love story is to explain why I am blogging for the third time today.

It's because, however fit I felt this morning, however much I had to do around this house before going to collect the children from school, whatever small, trapped, 'Within These Walls' style plans I had, I made the mistake of sitting at this computer and actually doing some work, for a couple of hours.

And now I can't get up. The backs of my knees have seized. So I thought, "Well, while I'm stuck here...."

Now I don't know whether to try and find shoes with heels, to see if that allows me to fake standing upright, or whether I'll still have to lollop and hobble up the street to get the kids.

Somehow Quasimodo impressions look even more bizarre if you're wearing heels, don't you think?

Having an Old-Head Day

Found an album I didn't even know we'd got. (There are lots of those.)

I wish the CD player was working, because my computer speakers are a decent set, but I'd be making the concrete floors rumble with this given half a chance.

For some bizarre but truly serendipitous reason, I am listening to The Ultimate Yes, the 35th Anniversary 3CD collection.

So I'm an old head, so what? Its time this stuff came back. Fantastic guitar solos, hypnotic tracks, truly weird vocals (weird is good, btw). This stuff still gets into your bones in a twilight-zone, pre-med sort of a way, and its sexy!

If you've never heard anything earlier than 1980 or that doesn't turn up on Radio One (hey, my system's tuned into that all day, usually) then here's a good little site; its only selling this gem of a classic, but there are samples of the music.

All I've got to do now is decide whether to use this exhileration to float round the room like something off a Flake advert (that's chocolate flake, not loony flake), or do me a little bit of headbanging.



The thing I love most about these salad days, is failing to get through a box of supermarket tomatoes in good time.

This is because they become overripe, start to be too soft to cut without losing their mouthwatering centres all over the chopping board.

See, when they're like that (waste not, want not) there's only one thing to do.

Get the children up, dressed, fed on toast and cereal and out to school, come back home, tidy up, make a place of peace and then:

Carve all those tomatoes into extravagantly thick slices, and fry them.

Fry them until they have begun to disintegrate and the bottom of the pan threatens to go sticky. Fry them until they begin to brown, and sweeten like onions do.

Push them to one side in the pan and use up all that beautiful, red, seed rich oil or fat by knocking up a slice (or two) of tomato-fried bread.

Pile on a plate, salt lightly. Consume.

Its heaven, better than meditation.

Eee, it's a hard life. ;-)

04 June 2006

Slightly Creaky Today

What do you do when the sun is shining, the house is claustrophobic, your son is in seventh heaven on a computer game tucked away in a corner somewhere and your husband is glued to the TV for the football and heaving heavy sighs every time someone interrupts by breathing?

What do you do if your youngest expresses a desire to go out to find a beauty spot and try sketching? Why, you oblige, of course, gladly and even gratefully. At least you do if you're silly.

With no set destination in mind we went:
  • East out of town
  • South to the cliff
  • Over the cliff between the farms
  • To the meandering river between this cliff and the next
  • Down to the sea
  • Back up the meanders
  • Across the roadbridge
  • Up the banks of the river proper, on the only footpath which is on the wrong side
  • All the way past the forest
  • Past sheep and millions of unphased rabbits, a gun dog trainer and herons
  • Past cows in a sort of "excuse me huge and disinterested bovine, you are on my path" way
  • Miles upstream to a tiny bridge
  • Back down the right side for home
  • Back round a huge hill (huge as in the top of the slope has a famous chalk picture)
  • Up the hill (mind the giant rabbit holes, Alice)
  • West through more fields (just higher up)
  • and home again.
Only four and a half hours, which I make to be about twelve or thirteen miles. Sorry I forgot to count the number of stiles and kissing gates.

Guess what.

Daughter found lots of things she would love to draw, but never any benches or grassy humps devoid of droppings or nettles, which is why we just kept on going from one vista to another.

I guess we'll just have to go again, next week.

Photos to come when my brain works. Tanaa!

02 June 2006

Amateur Transplants at the Edinburgh Fringe!

12th-19th August 2006 (not 15th)
7pm and 9pm shows
Medina, Lothian Street

Tickets £7 / £5
On sale on 8th June from www.edfringe.com
Profits going to Macmillan Cancer Relief

Book in advance as last year was a Fringe sell-out.

I didn't know this but Adam Kay and Suman Biswas have a blog (the info is kind of in the small print on the official website) but that's going on my blogroll this instant.

Official site with mp3s of popular tracks and the new 'NHS Song': HERE
Amateur Transplants Blog: HERE

Lyrics to Northern Birds (adult): HERE
Lots of other Amateur Transplants Lyrics: HERE

I can afford the ticket, but if anyone has a spare seat in the car and/or knows of a sheltered bench in Edinburgh; let me know!

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01 June 2006


Son and daughter have been playing out in the back garden.

They found the spade, and in a fit of creative parenting I allowed then to use it.

The decision was neither particularly altruistic nor brave for several reasons:
  • they wanted to play in the garden, outdoors, together
  • they had a plan which meant I would not be required as mediator
  • we have a hosepipe ban here
  • the back lawn is 90% buttercups anyway
  • and rock solid
  • and where they wanted to dig there is not so much of a topsoil as a scraggly layer of grass and roots,
  • over a lucky dip of builders rubble, before
  • 6 to 12 inches down you hit solid chalk
Yup, barring cataclysmic events, in a couple of millennia, erosion alone will make this spot the edge of the South Coast.

Nonetheless the children were happy and involved for a good hour. I watched son hold the spade still whilst daughter jumped on it like a pogo stick, furiously bouncing up and down in an effort to make an indent in the 'soil'. I watched them switch to the fork instead.

Eventually they decided that, once they had a hole, they were going to bury things in it. They came back indoors to clear this with me, and the plan they settled on was to have a burial today and an archaeological dig tomorrow.

They went off indoors to discover and discuss possible candidates for internment. Son returned to request permission to specifically bury a few plastic toy soldiers plus a couple of batteries as a 'scientific experiment' to see what happens to batteries buried overnight. Daughter then added a Hama bead picture to the list, so that one of the things would be hers.

I managed to keep a straight face until they selected a tomb from the cartons, boxes and tins that son's smaller toys inhabit. Action Man shoes, toy bullets, micro machines and beyblade parts all require storing away from the general melee of, for example, scalectrix parts, and they need very small containers. I therefore fully expected the dastardly duo to fashion something out of a small margarine tub. Yes, okay you heard it here first, I don't buy mini designer storage boxes; I wash out margarine tubs, but as Murphy's law reigns in this household, the cheaper an item is, the longer it seems to last.

Twenty minutes later, after much scrabbling around for items such as daughter's fancy art-and-craftsy holographic sellotape, they emerged clutching a 2kg commercial Nescafe tin with a fancy paper lid; complete with a flag clearly bearing the logo that picked it out as a letter from school. Right.

They gave up on the hole, finding themselves able to widen it but not add to the three inch depth, stood the tin in it leaving 70% poking out, then called us outside for a funeral.

Doctor (something scientific), our presiding minister explained, was being buried following cremation, hence the odd shaped tin and the fact that his remains closely resembled batteries, plastic soldiers and a Hama bead concoction.

The grieving widow added that the Hama bead picture was very important as it probably wasn't part of the Doctor's personal modifications, but more likely to be his top secret experiment, which he took it everywhere with him and therefore would have been in his pocket.

And she hopes no one digs him up.

The minister closed by adding that the Doctor had been safely buried so now we could all go indoors and relax in peace.

Barring some misbehaviour by the older of the two conscripted mourners, who attended much of the service facing in the wrong direction and trying not to chuckle, everything went very well.

A memorial plastic sun chair was then placed over the grave, in case of rain.


About Thursday Thirteens

My Thursday Thirteen list for today is one post down.

I both love and hate Thursday Thirteen - love it for the concept and some of the lists you find, hate it because I can never think of a fun or interesting list, and (ahem) for some of the lists you find.

We're all different.

Some people love movie quotes. Some love listing favourite tracks.

Sometimes I've heard of the movies or the songs, but its rare to work out if I saw/heard them.

If I've got something to say, I say it, at length, as those who take my regular everyday comments can testify. But what do you do if you go to a blog, read a list that you just can't relate to (or worse, disagree with completely), yet want to support the person, let then know you were there and appreciate the effort; just that you can't relate enough to come out with a whole sentence?

I used, on occasions to say 'Nice list :-)'

No more.

Apparently this is the fall back, copy and paste style remark of those who don't want to read at all, just oblige you into a return visit. This has been mentioned at Leanne's main site and so that option is closed.

I'm stuck now. Sometimes, when you get to around point 7 in an involved list, you get the urge to suggest to this person that, for example, if they watched their children these things wouldn't happen, or that they should get off their self pitying butt and they don't deserve the blessings they do have as others would have made better use of them (actually my paltry effort below counts as a case in point, there).

What do you do when you want to effectively smile and wave without being either rude or dishonest?

Nothing now.

I am so, so crap at thinking up these lists. It feels like there are three choices; dissect your failings, applaud yourself, or play teacher and make a list like you are trying to educate others. Yuck. As there are few plans in my future that I care to share (kiss of death, telling people about them, in my case), I end up scouring deeper and deeper to find something wrong in my life. Not productive.

The teaching style lists really get to me, some people are so earnest and genuine about their revelations, yet they phrase some pretty basic ideas as instruction instead of sharing and if I'm in evil granny mode I fight the urge to answer along the lines of 'And.....??'

Its a shame because there are some wonderful, witty, interesting people on the TT list, but it takes too much spiritual energy to dig through and find them.

No more ploughing down the list of participants, for me, I'm going to simply answer those that comment here, always provided I think of a list in the first place.

Still, on the up side, I avoided joining the permanent blogroll on TT, although I've played this game (badly) for a few weeks now. I guess that means I hear my intuition more often than I'd imagined.

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen occasional regrets:

  1. I learned to dance when I was young. Now my imagination still does crab rolls and splits, pirouettes and long, high leaps. Every inch of me still knows what that feels like, I just lost practice and the physical reality feels a bit trapped. Its like I'm in two places at once. Like a posh car with no wheels, the engine makes all the right purring noises, but we're not going to move.
  2. I used to have a three octave voice, my classical teacher even gave my lessons at half price when cash was tight because she was sure I had a career. I took up bikers and smoking instead. These days I know what my high D sounds and feels like and every part of me gears up for it, except the throat, it sounds like somebody trod on a frog long before then, and just wheezy silence up the top.
  3. I still know the rush of being centre stage with a dark, full concert hall, the buzz of playing pretend and dragging others in to the story, intensely alone and just as intensely in touch - its an auric thing. Haven't been there for twenty years, though, and I'd have nothing to do if I got there again, now. Nightmare.
  4. I wish I'd been less tied to duty and propriety; to the nine to five, to career building (which all went out the window when I had kids, anyway.) I wish I'd joined up with something; anything; Greenpeace, or a touring theatre company. I guess I wish my life had been about changing the environment to get to the experiences and not limiting the experiences to fit the environment.
  5. I wish I'd dyed my hair green when I was twenty. In those days it would have meant instant dismissal from the kind of corporate dinosaurs I used to work for. I made a conscious decision not to be me, not to step too far outside the approval zone.
  6. I remember higher energy levels than this. I just wish I could tear around from project to project, all day.
  7. I wish I'd lived, just once, in walking distance of a serious library. There's something about information and secrets and lives and windows on different worlds all stacked up to the rafters in tangible form. Books have magic, and they seem, en mass, to give off oxygen. No air conditioning or heating can change the ozone sensation around enough books. I'd have liked a chance to swim in that, to camp out there.
  8. I wish I'd come to a halt at twenty years old, not for the physical differences but because at that age all anyone asks of you is that you find out who you are and realise your potential. I could spend a lifetime doing that, but its not so long before society seems to expect you to have worked it out, and stems your freedom to come and go. After that there's precious little room to explore because you're not supposed to need it. People look at you like you've got it all going on. You know that old phrase 'you make your bed and you lie in it'? I don't feel like I've made mine yet. Somebody set me loose in a bed warehouse, please, because I want to try them all; I don't even remember choosing a frame.
  9. I wish I worked in a university, or anywhere like that; just a place where all the people you mix with are full of 'what ifs'. I wouldn't care if half of them talked total BS, so long as they were always imagining, always challenging, always firing off each other.
  10. I wish I hadn't gone through the phase of guilt for the things I lost, because I had them, so they're inside, and some never knew what they felt like. Regret stops you looking forward.
  11. I wish I hadn't gone through the phase of disappointment for the things I've never tried, because staring into an empty bowl stops you looking at the world around you - as much use as losing your keys and gawping at your empty key hook, instead of searching the house.
  12. I wish I hadn't been so hooked up on one goal that I brushed different opportunities aside. I guess its like the difference between going 400 miles by bullet train, and walking.
  13. I wish I could be as full of potential, of possibilities, of amazement at life as my children are now, but that would make me the child and I'd be no use to them, plus I'd miss the joy of seeing them grow. It takes past experience to spot the same things in a new person.
I think you'll find that the above all cancel each other out. You can't be everything all the time. Sometimes you have to exchange one set of tools for another, but if you didn't regret that once in a while, if you didn't value the things you lost or gave up, you'd never get the thrill of watching someone else achieve them.

And no, I have no idea where that all came from. Call it a glitch, or a spiritual zit, or something. Sorry about that. I'm just going to toddle off now and find the TCP.....

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

written by Cheryl the Mad Baggage