Monday, 30 November 2009

Dinosaur cake and a judgemental clown-god

When I told Marie it was her second birthday soon, she said "Then you will sing for me and I will cut a dinosaur cake." Apparently a precedent had been set two summers ago with a dinosaur cake for Jack. She'd seen him cutting his cake in the photos of that party, and concluded that's what happens when it's your birthday. Now Jack's cake was a real, shop-bought British affair (with many thanks to granny - he adored it):

This rather laid down the gauntlet. So I decided not to compete and make my normal birthday cake (chocolate spunge, bound with chocolate spread, covered in chocolate icing, decorated with chocolate Smarties - do you see a pattern here?) and then add a cunning cunning thing - voila:

Dinosaur biscuits! How cunning am I? And I still got to have my favourite cake.

One of the presents Marie got was a balloon of our old friend Bumba:

He's now hanging god-like over our living room, looking on benignly. Actually, I think he is secretly judging us and disapproving. I call him the Bumba. When someone farts you can just about see the Bumba thinking "That offends me." I have to go now. The Bumba is telling me to stop wasting time online.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Everything looks prettier without cynicism

We were hit by a fast-forward storm yesterday. Walking back from school, a thunderstorm started right above our heads. Hailstones covered the whole street so that we were sliding in our boots. It went very dark and the rain and wind were raging. Lightning flashed simultaneously with a huge crash of thunder. This all took about a minute, and then the storm was gone. The rain stopped, the light came back, the hailstones started to melt, the thunder was quiet in the distance. A couple of minutes later a rainbow appeared. It stayed less than a minute as well.

It was a very strange but wonderful experience. I had the rain cover on Marie's buggy, and Jack and I had our winter coats on with the hoods up, so we were all protected from the hailstones. I found it such a shame that all the other people around us were complaining or running away or generally hating the storm. It was exhilarating to be in, and they just couldn't appreciate its beauty. Just looking at things differently could have brightened their day.

I have been guilty of a similar thing - of not seeing beauty where it is so obviously to be found. On Sunday I was sitting in Starbucks at the airport, waiting for May to arrive. Around me were three men, also sitting on their own, each minding his own business. I had been wondering where they were from. One looked like he was Indian, or from that part of the world. One was more Eastern European, the other perhaps North African looking. (I'm not so good at that guessing game.)

After about half an hour, one of the men got up to buy some sweets and he offered one to me. I declined straightaway, in a friendly way but not inviting any more conversation. In the past, I would have quite happily chatted away for a while, perhaps learning a little more about the world through his eyes. Instead, I assumed he was trying to pick me up. (I know - I'm so modest and unassuming. I'm looking particularly hot these days, though. ;-) )

Of all the times I have spoken to random people in public places, maybe twice ended in my being slightly creeped out, and both times I just said goodbye and left. I wish I wouldn't have hit him with my prejudices. I wish I'd been a little more open. I wish I'd given the conversation a chance. I bet he was just bored. He probably had another five hours to wait there until he could check in. Chances are he was just trying to pass some time by finding out where I was from and why I was sitting there in the middle of the night.

The world was fine and beautiful. It was my thoughts that made it less pretty.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Picture post in which I am a holy man

Our Santa is called Sinterklaas. He's Santa, the Catholic version. Actually, Santa is Sinterklaas, the infidel's version. He's coming next weekend, but the kids can't wait:

And I just had to join in:

Also, I have sunk to new lows when it comes to "cooking" "dinner." Have you ever heard of frozen mashed potatoes? I hadn't, but here they are (with butter and milk). I warmed them up

added frozen creamed spinach

and chopped up frankfurters.

Then I added more frankfurters. Then it exploded slightly. (I now know where bubble and squeak got the bubble part of its name.)

It tasted grrrreat.

I think I shall do penance tomorrow and make chowder.

Right - I have to go wrap a cute little bike now because my little girl is turning two in the morning! Which reminds me I forgot to bake a cake so she'll be the poor little mutt whose mother sent her to the creche with a shop-bought cake. I may as well write "neglected" all over her forehead.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

This post offends me

I seem to have acquired a catchphrase. It amuses me greatly. Every time I don't like something, I say "That offends me." You know, like all the people online and in the newspapers who get offended by everything, especially things that don't impact on themselves in the slightest. It makes me giggle anyway. (It's ironic, right? Just to be clear.)

Things that have offended me today:
  • An old woman's shell suit.

    I swear it was this exact one. It offended me.
  • The non-abilities of the proprietor of our local sandwich shop. He is profoundly commercially challenged. He has these drinks on display to take away, and different ones that he sells for the people who sit in. I asked if I could have one of the other ones, and he fucking refused. He's retarded. I'd have been quite happy to pay more than the take-away price.
    Also? The guy sells lunch and breakfast but no coffee or tea to go. He's an idiot. He gets stroppy with people who ask for something different and he can't organise to save his life, so while the take-away people get served right away, the people who sit in regularly wait more than half an hour to even order their food. It's like he's wasting a perfectly good shop. This offends me.
  • The cleaning is going great, but there are a few (literally) sticky points:
    1. The inside of the fridge.
    2. The inside of the oven.
    3. The inside of the microwave.
    4. The extractor fan.
    5. The moldy bits at the bottom of the shower.
    6. The bit behind the toilet in the bathroom.
    7. The outside of the windows.
    (Any handy tips gratefully received.)
    These things offend me. I will get on with them, but they offend me.
  • The nature of my cough. It's phlegmish, to use Belgian Waffle's most amusing spelling of my brand of Dutch. Phlegm offends me.
  • The fact that my cleaning mojo is making my everything ache. I haven't been to the gym in ages. I don't need to. I've also not been cold in ages. Cleaning heals all ills apparently. I'm embarrassed about admitting all this, but hey I like to read about all your warts as well. (My warts cleaned up nicely a couple of years ago, and I haven't had a relapse, thank you.) (No, on my FEET! WTF?) I'm offended by your dirty mind.
What offends you? And do you think it will catch on? (The catchphrase, not the warts.)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Thoughts on blogging and parenting - but mixed up!

  • So here's a free piece of blogging advice for you: do not name a post "My Library - Part II" unless you're actively trying to scare off readers. ("But I like the little dip in my stats - it makes the graph more interesting.") Future book blogs may have to come in a cunning disguise because, people, it seems you are not sitting up at night waiting for them.
    Yet. Mwoo-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaa!
  • A fart with sauce (not mine) can be problematic. Unless released in nappy or toilet.
  •  I am a blatant comment whore and should stop checking my email obsessively. I admire people who close comments for a while to heal themselves. However, I have thrown out the beer and I'm not buying any more gin. A girl needs her fixes from somewhere.
    (Love me, love me, pretend that you love me!)
  • I need to stop randomly licking my children's faces. It was funny for a while (to me, at least) but now they don't trust me when I go in for a kiss.
    (Of course it's still funny. Especially followed by a shout of "I licked your face!" It will always be funny.)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Gay Porn part IV

I've been thinking a lot lately about gayness. And not just about the porn. Why is it that the overwhelming majority of Hollywood movies still feature almost exclusively straight actors and straight stories? How is that for a message about what is and isn't acceptable? They're getting slightly better, I agree, but there's a long way to go.

(I may leave my heartfelt and serious point slightly here, you have been warned. It's all in the interest of increased visibility, though, so you have to forgive me.)

I was discussing the issue of visibility with our budding young actors Bumba and Bumbalu the other day, and they agreed. They were up for another remake, but this time we were going to tackle a more mainstream Hollywood romance, in order to show that gay protagonists do not change the story fundamentally. Love is love.

Together we settled on the well-known feature film "Titanic." I did have to restrain them a little. Bumba and Bumbalu are in the throes of their igniting passion for each other, and they insisted we make it a porn movie. Now I would like this blog to keep whatever propriety it still has, so I declined. Besides, what would we name it? As they are both men, "Tittanic" was out. "Titanal" was just one step too far for me. A PG rated version it would be.

Then while I was doing the preparation work some issue arose over who was going to play whom (they couldn't agree who was going to be Kate), and they both started to be such divas about this that I fired them. I was only using them out of loyalty, after our Brokeback Mountain adventure, but I never promised them exclusivity. Also, I'm well aware gay people don't only come in the male flavour, so I'd been keen to do a lesbian movie. (While I'm on the topic of diversity - we seem to have a whole lot of ethnic diversity in our male puppets, and none in our (small) ladies. Why would that be?)

So, without further ado, I give you Bob Lady and Little Princess, in the lesbian remake of Titanic. We started with the obvious and famous scene:

Next up was the drawing scene. It seems I had underestimated the diva potential of Little Princess. She could give Bumba and Bumbalu a run for their money. You remember Kate was naked in this scene. Well, it took more than a bottle of champagne, all my powers of persuasion and the promise of a part in my next film to get her to lose the skirt.

The car scene:

And finally, the scene on the inside of the ship while it is sinking. No expense was spared. We even rented a water tank and had the set rebuilt inside it. It was tough for the actors because they had to spend hours every day in the cold water. Bob Lady was a trouper. Little Princess had some complaints about cold feet, but even she agreed afterwards it was worth it.

I hope you enjoyed our movie. Have a great week!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Where did those damn fairies go?

So you're expecting me to say I've lost my cleaning mojo again, and I've fallen back into my old patterns and woe is me, right? Frankly I don't blame you, because so was I. But I haven't! I'm completely hormonal and sick today, and not nice, but I've cleaned the hallway, stairs, and four other rooms. Vacuumed, removed dust and cleaned off stains. My anal self is rather loving this.

I keep wondering what changed. Obviously the immediate trigger was Dr Phil, the bastard, but surely it goes a bit deeper than that. I think I finally worked it out. I was never required to do any household chores when I was growing up. I'm not complaining about this - I mean, who wouldn't want everything done for them? All I was ever required to do was set the table and put things away again after a meal. And tidy my own toys and room of course. But that was it. The fairies came and did everything else. When I moved out, I moved to a college where someone would come in and clean my room every week.The fairies basically followed me there.

I think ever since I moved out, I've been subconsciously waiting for the fairies to move in here as well and sort the whole situation out. I've now stopped believing in those lovely fairies. No one is going to come in and manage my house for me. I am the one in charge. Sounds like a bit of a duh! thought, no? I still needed to think it.

Oh, and another thing I needed to realise - it doesn't matter how you clean, it's the result that counts. I used to think there was some magical body of knowledge that got passed on through the generations on how to clean a house, and I hadn't been initiated, so I should leave well alone. Well, there isn't! (Ka-tching!!!) Watching cleaning whizzes at work, and thinking "I wouldn't do it like that" has opened my eyes (sorry May). And if I do occasionally (often) clean some crap off the floor using a wet wipe then so be it. Better than leaving the crap.

So, in conclusion, I could use ♥Aunt Becky♥'s subtle words of wisdom and admit I've finally pulled my head out of my ass and taken responsibility for the state of my house (and by extension the state of my life), or I could put it slightly more mildly and go with...

*tones it down to a near-silent whisper*

...I may be growing up.

Friday, 20 November 2009


I'm sick and I can only think of bitchy things to say. I'm going to give you the day off.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The question: changed, manic or abducted by aliens?

I'm trying to decide if Dr Phil has some evil voodoo power over me, or if I've inadvertently contracted manic superpowers somewhere. I wonder what the council of Hasselt put in the water. Here's the freaky thing:

I finally get it. The whole housework thing. It's happening all around me. On Monday, some change came over me, and this is Wednesday night and the kitchen and the living room are both tidy and sanitary. Most of the laundry is done. And (and!) while I have some people coming around to the house tomorrow, this was not for their benefit. Hardly anything got stuffed behind something else. Reorganising was done, as was cleaning under things. Babes helped, as did the kids, but honestly? This was my doing.

And I'm sitting here, wondering what just happened. Maybe aliens have abducted me and put me in my place. I don't want me back. They can keep me.

I'm so happy to see all the clear shiny surfaces and the clean TV screen. I'm thinking of finally putting some pictures up tomorrow (we've only lived here for four and a half years). I'm considering painting the cupboard and stencilling it, for fuck's sake. I feel inspired to keep going in the rest of the house. I need buckets, and cloths! I feel like washing the windows and I only did that last year. If this is what fully functional humans feel like, I want to be one of them all the time.

Surely this can't only be the result of one measly thing Dr Phil said? (I still think he's creepy.) Let's look at the other possible contributing factors:
  • I've just been away for a few days, so I'm all refreshed.
  • Jack and Babes are sick, so I've pretty much been housebound, giving me lots of time to tidy.
  • Marie's growing up, so I don't need to spend as much time stopping her putting everything she finds in her mouth.
  • I have been feeling very inspired lately by Maggie May. She is teaching me about the consolation of beauty. Her blog is about life and love and many tribulations, but through it all she manages to make time and room for beauty. She made me see again how necessary beauty is in life.
    I feel stupid for forgetting it, because I used to know, and I am surrounded by people who show me by example every day. It's been right in front of my nose the whole time - An, my sister, lives and breathes beauty and yet I did not understand why for a while. And Ms. Moon and Michelle, of course. And so many more of you bloggers of beauty (my apologies for not naming all of you).
    It's especially silly as I've been rediscovering the consolation of beautiful words and sentences in the last months.
You would think I'd be all joy. I am very happy, but I'm also concerned. In the middle of all this, I had time to play with the kids, sing songs, read books with them, as well as spending hours upstairs messing with my books. I have also not been sleeping. I'm sitting here, after one in the morning again, and I'm buzzing slightly. I'm hoping there won't be one, but I'm waiting for the fall. At least if I get one, I'll fall in a tidy house.

Do you think it's possible that I've changed fundamentally? Babes said he's never seen such a change in me, when I asked him if he thought this was another one of my phases. Perhaps I've really twigged. I'd like that so much, because I've always wanted a fully functioning household. Maybe all along it was as simple as believing I could do it, and then making the first move.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

My library - Part II

I'm still organising my library. I think I will probably be kept busy with it for another few weeks. Because I'm freaky and anal, and because I love books, and because I can. It's a harmless hobby, really, if you compare it to torturing small livestock. I don't actually own that many books, but there are many reasons why it's going to take me a long time.

First comes the categorising. Fiction is separated from non-fiction, prose from poetry, self-help from economics, dictionaries from grammars. Then comes the alphabetising, with a subsorting by publication date (for books by the same author). Non-fiction gets moved around a million times. Categories get separated and put back together. Mindfulness: with self-help, psychology, philosophy? Not so sure. Can baby books have their own section or do they go with health? What goes in the "other" category?

I'm trying to convince our resident hoarder (Babes) to let me dispose of some of the books I loath or will never need again. The Da Vinci Code may spontaneously combust in the back garden some time if he doesn't agree. Actually, I may just keep all the crappers and make a separate category for them. You never know when you need a cringeworthy quote for the blog.

Then there's the digitalisation. Even before I'm done sorting, I'm putting all my books online. I have a ♥LibraryThing♥ account. Last year, I paid up for the lifetime membership and of course promptly stopped using it. Now we have been joyfully reunited. I'm too anal about that as well. For example, when my exact book cover is not on there, I scan the book myself and upload it. I have to do that for every third book because I'm rather fussy about this - one slight difference, even in colour, and I go in. That's why I've only done up to the Es of my fiction tonight. Luckily it's the easiest site in the universe to use.

After LibraryThing, I will also export all my books to Goodreads. It's not as nice as LibraryThing to the anal bookcollector (no free choice of book cover, for one thing), but it is more of a social site, and I happen to have some lovely friends on there who will kick my butt if I don't join them on there. (Hi, An!) When it is ready, I may link to this site so we can all be friends over there.

Right - now it's so late it's early again and I need to stop loving my books and go to sleep because I have a sick husband, a sick son and an energetic toddler to look after in the morning. Goodnight all and happy reading!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I can, and I will

On Thursday afternoon I was dozing on my hotel bed and half-listening to Dr Phil. It can't be all sex all of the time, even when you're away. In my defense, it was the afternoon and Belgian TV has nothing on in the afternoon. Except for Dr Phil. I generally think he's quite creepy, but there I was. Dozing. And half-listening.

On the show he had a woman who was scared of everything. I know what that's like, so I dozed a little less and listened a little more, still not opening my eyes. This woman could clean her front room perfectly for visitors, but the rest of her house was a tip. I did open one eye for that bit, because I do love to see other people's mess. She was also a terrible hypochondriac. I get both things. My house is not as bad as hers, but I will admit to a lot of hurried camouflaging going on just before visitors arrive. Also, toilets only ever get cleaned before visitors come. Luckily we are not social outcasts, so the children have not contracted anthrax from the toilet yet. As for the hypochondria, well, you know my ongoing sternum saga.

So I was wondering how Baldy would deal with this, because I often take offense at his judgemental approach, and he can be so paternalistic. So he asked her how come her house was such a mess, while she was perfectly capable of having one room tidy. She answered that she just couldn't do the rest, it was too much. I get that. And then he said "You can't, or you won't?" WTF? Obviously he was being his usual self. In the end, the woman got some free treatment and I dozed some more.

Ever since then, Dr ePhil's question has been going around and around in my head. And then yesterday I finally tidied the bits of the kitchen that never get tidied. In one day. And then I cleaned it. In the same day. And I didn't wash my hands a thousand times while I was cleaning it. I even cleaned the inside of the bin of the mouldy bits. (I did wash my hands after that.) Now I have a glorious plan to keep on top of the housework to start with, and to make some improvements in the long run. Because I can, and I will.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Tourist in my own country

So I'm back! Did you miss me? I missed you lots! I suppose I didn't really give you the chance to miss me much because I had those old posts up. We were away only until yesterday, but I forced myself not to go online today until I'd played with the children, cleaned the kitchen (!) and got some washing done, because I knew I would just get sucked right in. I wasn't wrong - I have 330 posts sitting in my reader, waiting to be read. I may be a while until I catch up.

I composed many many posts in my head during the last week, but today I shall start with some pictures of the towns we went to, because I always like to see pretty foreign places and these may be foreign to you (if not to me).

We went to Brugge (Bruges to the English speaking folk) first for a couple of nights. It is gobsmackingly beautiful. A lot of effort has gone into restoring the place and keeping it authentic. It is rather popular with the tourists, but not so much on a weekday in November.

There are tons of pretty squares and buildings.

It is called "the Venice of the North" because it is full of canals.

This was away from the very centre, where tourists don't go as much:

Our hotel had some parts which date back to the sixteenth century. This is its courtyard:

The last couple of nights we spent in Hasselt. It is less spectacularly beautiful than Brugge, but has excellent shopping and is home to the friendliest people in Flanders. I took far fewer photos, though, because we (obviously) went shopping and that occupied 100% of my thought processes. I did take this picture:

This is a church in the middle of Hasselt which has a carillon. Someone was playing it on Thursday, and they were playing "I will survive". They even did the bit at the end where the song stops completely and starts again. How cool is that?

Right - I'm off to read what you've all been up to.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Blast from the past - Part III

While I'm away I'm recycling some of my favourite older posts. Please enjoy. I'll be back on Monday.

(The following is a slightly edited version of that post. It's only been a few months of daily writing, but I seem to have made some progress on the verb tense front. I could not mix my tenses like that any more. This pleases me muchly.)

Monday, 8 June 2009

Too sexy for their hair

I've been needing (badly needing) to go to a hairdresser for a while now. Today, I finally got the chance. This, I can tell you, is a treat for many a woman, but it acquires just a little more importance if you don't often get gratuitous pamper-time. And if you are prematurely gray like I am.

Anyways - I went to a local hairdresser and I was told there would be at least a two hour wait. This would not do. I then drove into Antwerp, thinking I'd go to some funky hairdresser and get the best haircut ever. I went to this place I know from a few years ago (when I was still funky and young). I walked in there, and straightaway I got the "up and down" look. I should have turned around and left at this point.

I told them I wanted a colour and a cut, and they sat me down. At this point, I asked some advice on which colour and which cut they might think was suitable. The rolled eyes! The "don't you know what you want"s! I even got two "you're not the type of person to want this"es when I mentioned a style I like. (Those really pissed me off.) I was getting a tad crabby by this point. The guy started to put Vaseline around my hairline (prevents my skin from becoming all brown) and got a girl to come with a colour chart.

Then, together, they started badmouthing my old hairdresser (the lovely Toni) who used to work there. I told them I wasn't sure which colour I wanted, and could they maybe advise me on my new hairstyle, and maybe the colour as well. They told me that colour has nothing to do with hairstyle, and they'd just make my hair a chocolate colour if I couldn't be bothered to pick a colour. The girl walked off with a huge speechbubble over her head saying "whatever, old lady" to get the hair colour.

By this time, I was fuming. I told them I'm a customer and I want some advice, so could they please at least be polite. The girl's reply? "The customer may be king, but we are the emperor." (I kid you not.) Now both of them were telling me that something personal must have happened to me before I walked in the shop, and they can't help it if I have personal issues. Yes, seriously. My hair was all brushed out by now, and my head covered in Vaseline, but I just walked out. I told them they should not treat people this way. I don't think they got it.

One good thing that came out of this: not much further into town, I found my lovely old hairdresser Toni, who gave me a great haircut, and never once implied I wasn't cool enough for his shop. I think I know why he left the other one, though.

(Also: While I was getting my hair coloured, the girl from the other shop walked by and laughed at me!)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Blast from the past - Part II

While I'm away I'm recycling some of my favourite older posts. Please enjoy. I'll be back on Monday.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Internet fever

I wake up in the morning and I find I'm trying to perfect a turn of phrase. In the shower, I'm debating if my dearest internet would be interested at all in what we're about to have for breakfast. (Probably not.) At said breakfast, I internally dare the children to say something funny. When they sit playing quietly on the mat, I wish they were doing something more photogenic. My heart sinks when I find I have NO readers at all. (My hit counter was broken.) I go outside to do some gardening and take my camera, just in case I write about it later. I play with the children and photograph the result. (Must try not to do that too much.) When I go to check my blog, my heart jumps when I find I have a comment! I want to be so witty in the reply, but keep worrying I will be misunderstood and my few readers will never return.

Internet fever got me good.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Blast from the past - Part I

While I'm away I'm recycling some of my favourite older posts. Please enjoy. I'll be back on Monday. This one is probably my favourite of all, so it's nice to be able to bring it out for a few more readers than last time.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


That there is a picture of my sister and I. I am on the left, my sister is sitting on my lap. I ADORE this picture. It is one of the few where we both look happy, and - even better - happy to be together.

Tonight she came to my house for tortillas. We had a wonderful, cava-fuelled time. She's recently been crocheting around pictures she loves (as seen in the picture above). We were talking about the time that picture was taken. Both of us had to dig around in our brains to find a time when we actually got on. In the end, we decided that we did present a unified front to the outer world, it's just that in private, we made each other's lives hell. I used to think what she did was much worse: she used to kick me and mess with my mind. Now, I realise what I did was at least as bad. I used to just ignore her and treat her like a lower life form. (And kick her, too.) For a little sister, that kind of treatment cannot be good.

When we were around eighteen years old (she's only sixteen months younger), we went on a family holiday to France. There, somehow, we started to fight first, and then to talk, and all the old hurts came out. I still love the memory of that holiday, even though I've never had a holiday that involved so much crying and so many upsets. Since then, she has become simply the best friend I could have in the world, and there is nothing I don't share with her. It's such a waste that we couldn't be each other's allies growing up. Especially in the tougher times we could have helped each other through.

When we visit our parents, we still sometimes fall into our old patterns - get annoyed with each other, stop trusting each other to be kind. I do the same when I go there on my own: I revert to my eight year old self and get hurt by small comments, feel unable to stand up for myself, get too vulnerable. I suppose as long as I can't fix that for myself (and she for herself), we will keep having the same problem. Until then, maybe we should see each other all the time on our own, and be more careful with each other when we go to see the folks.

Don't you just love that photo?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Not about books at all

I've had to make some adjustments to my PENIS due to the fast approaching TWAT. There was no way I was going to spend my evening writing about books, knowing that I was about to leave the kids for five days. So instead, I documented the main event of the evening. I call it Anxiety Reduction by Synchronised Entertainment (ARSE).

This is the second time since we became parents that Babes and I are away for five days minus offspring. The first time we went to a wedding in Romania. Jack was about two years old, the same age Marie is now. I have a cunning trick to explain how long we will be away to such a small child.

I buy five presents. (This time five presents times two - the presents got cheaper all of a sudden.)

Then I wrap and number them.

Next I explain to the small child that she is going for a sleepover at grandma's (she loves that, but they're usually shorter). Each morning she will get a present. When all the presents are opened, mama and daddy come back. Works beautifully. Well, it did last time anyway. I have all my fingers crossed. I have repeated the mantra to Marie about a hundred times and she seems to understand.

So that's my ARSE. Isn't it great? Feel free to use it for your own purposes anytime.

Monday, 9 November 2009

What will you all do without me?

Hello there my lovely internet people! I was away on my yearly choir trip this weekend, so I have been neglecting you all comment-wise. You will have to do without my sparkling presence the rest of the week as well, as Babes and I are finally getting away on our Three Way Anniversary Trip (TWAT), in honour of five years of parenthood, ten years of marriage and fifteen years of lurve! My lovely lovely man had already checked out the hotels to see if they had wireless internet (they do) but I have decided not to take a computer. I will probably have withdrawal symptoms, and will be looking for an internet cafe by Wednesday, but I reckon I should perhaps give some exclusive attention to my husband - this being our TWAT and all.

However! I am not leaving you alone even now. I cannot have a weekday without a post (it's a mental condition, have pity on me) so I have a Plan to Entertain my Noble and Illuminated Sitevisitors (PENIS). Tonight, I will compose my first installment on the reorganisation of my library. I will post it tomorrow morning as we are only leaving in the afternoon. The rest of the week, I will be republishing old posts from the days when I was already diligently drafting daily dollops of delight, and only Ms. Moon, Xbox and Aunt Becky were reading them (and many many kisses to them for doing so (wasn't I just the luckiest new blogger ever with that crowd to encourage me (I'm so addicted to brackets (I just love them)))). I wrote these posts months ago, so it's probably okay to repost. Right? Now that's what I call a PENIS.

So, dear reader - you can rest assured that my PENIS will see us right through this TWAT. I can just about hear you sighing with relief. You're welcome, dear reader. My pleasure entirely.

Friday, 6 November 2009

I, too, could be a writer

We were in the UK at the weekend, so I bought the Sunday Times. I do this every time I go over, and it is two pounds very well spent as the paper usually lasts me until the next time we go over. I have now reached page seven. At least I get my full money's worth.

On page seven, there is an article about the BBC. I have a long-held and deep respect for the BBC. Of all the channels I watch, I think theirs is one of the ones with the best drivel to not-completely-pointless ratio. They also know what's funny. Or so I thought. Apparently, no more. After a few rows over who exactly can say what to whom (because manners are the same for everyone and free speech is - well - ehm - well - yeah...) the BBC has introduced some "measures" to ensure that no one can ever say anything remotely funny or interesting ever again, because if they do they may offend dog owners or glue manufacturers or grannies who only have one leg.

The actors of My Family, a sitcom, tried to take the phrase "Oh, sweet Jesus" out of one of the scripts because it might upset someone. An episode of Dr Who was changed so that someone was no longer described as "drunk" for fear of turning children to drink. (I bet they didn't take the violence out. At least they won't be drunken hooligans when they grow up.) It's funny what they wrote instead, though: the character is now described as "merry and cheerful." Now that's comedy.

Frankie Boyle, a comedian I personally find side-splittingly funny, has left the BBC, and I'm guessing it had something to do with the BBC investigating him for various complaints. If you can't make sexual jokes about the queen, who can you make them about? I see that this guy's humour may be offensive to some people, but he's always kept in the safe little pens of comedy shows no self-respecting straight-laced git should be watching in the first place. If you're offended easily, just press the off-button or watch ITV. Don't you have that DVD of Enchanted that you've been waiting to watch?

The BBC have gone so far as to introduce a "Safeguarding Trust factual drama interactive module" and I have a sneaking suspicion that the person who thought up that title wasn't even being ironic. Tony Marchant, a longtime writer of TV programmes, has been asked to sit this module and take a test (really). He's won a BAFTA. Apparently he was taught "Don't oversimplify the 'goodies' and the 'baddies' ... the truth is rarely as cut and dried as this."

So - I've decided to write some drama for the BBC. They obviously set their standards extremely low, so I reckon I'll have a go. As long as I remember not to make any jokes about one-legged grannies, I should be fine.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Sternum Tales - Final Installment & My library - Part I

I went to see another doctor this morning. I knew there was nothing wrong but the pain was bugging me and I could think of nothing else any more, so I had to have a clear answer about what was causing it. The doctor could feel extra cartiledge in exactly the place I have been aching in, and he assured me that this is normal, comes from doing abdominal exercises (I knew exercise was bad for me) and there's nothing I can do. I feel quite relieved. Very relieved. Wanting to have a party relieved. And now I have to go bra shopping.


I'm organising my library. Yes, I have a library. The age of the bookshelf is long gone in this house. My obsessive love of books years ago necessitated a library. In fact, I have a library as well as a growing collection of bookshelves.

There's two shelves in the kitchen for cookbooks. Then two shelves in the living room for frequently consulted reference works (dictionaries, children's encyclopedia - Jack's favourite book). Underneath, there are two cupboards with children's books. In the bedroom, my darling husband has recently constructed two extra sets of bookshelves to house my new and not yet read books. He must have feared waking up one morning to find himself buried in books. Of course there's the shelf next to the toilet, but that's mainly for magazines. (I find it a physical impossibility to poop without reading, but I don't need much more than an article's worth of reading. Getting engrossed in a good novel has proved inconvenient in the past.) Marie's room has two shelves with babies'/toddlers' books. Jack's room has a huge bookcase with all other children's books - his, Babes', mine - past and present. And then there's my library.

It's a small one - don't think it's like the Bodleian or anything. I'm categorising and alphabetising it at the moment. (These must be two of my favourite activities in the world.) I think I may do a little series of posts on what I find in there. I love books, no reason to think you don't love books. I especially like to see what other people have in their bookcases. - If you don't, please do return when I post my next installment of gay porn. If you do, you may want to leave me a comment so I don't chicken out thinking I will lose all my readers. Or comment if you hate (posts about) books - but then say why because I would want to know.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Losing it

The sternum tale continues. I've been quite sore lately around the whole bump-on-my-breastbone. I have discovered, though, that my daughter has a distinct bump in exactly the same place. But mine's been getting sorer every day and being me I have convinced myself that something is very wrong and then I feel sad for my children for having to grow up without a mother, which makes me hyperventilate, which makes me think oh my god now I can't breathe, surely I have a huge tumour in there which is taking over my lungs, which causes more stress and then my stomach and my intestines stop working and get infected which makes me believe that the tumour has spread to my digestive system and I'm a goner again. Barrel of laughs this body of mine just now. (Actually this mind of mine - I know, I know.)

Right. So before going to the doctor again with the same problem again and having her tell me that it's nothing again, I thought I would try to eliminate some of the contributing factors, which has resulted in my decision to not wear a bra so much (in the house). I have lost weight in the last year (yay me!) and the resulting relative skinniness means I now have a smaller cushion of fat between sternum and underwire. This is most probably the cause of the irritation. My increased love of the interweb also has me sitting more, wedging my underwire firmly between boobs and belly flab, right on top of the very same protrusion. (I know it's too much information. This is MY blog, you know. If you want world rocking importance in your reading, go read the BBC News website or something.) Luckily An, who is studying to be a psychologist (which is like a psychiatrist, but then without the respect of the world or access to the good stuff), assures me that fear of cancer does not cause cancer. I'm sure that's what they teach them. But are the psychiatrists being told the same thing??? So maybe I'm not a goner, but I still worry about it and now I'm eliminating factors.

Maybe I need to try - gasp - no underwire or something. Next thing you know I'll be in the shops wearing polyester tracksuit bottoms and a string vest.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Dream run

I have become a runner in my dreams. How cool is that?

I've always been an unfit person, and running was the ultimate horror. The last couple of years I have fallen hard in love with
                              ♥ exercise
and especially with the exercise bike at the gym and the buzz I get from a good workout. The other night I woke up and realised that I had been running in my dream, and it felt like it wasn't the first time I'd done this. I also felt the buzz. In my dreams I have fallen hard in love with running.

I'm hoping one day real life will follow because that would be the greatest hobby ever.

My daddy is a runner. He'd be so proud. Oh my god I'm such a Freudian case study sometimes.

Monday, 2 November 2009

So glad to be 32

We were visiting my in-laws over the weekend. Lovely people one and all. My inner seven year old was out all of Saturday. It's something to do with relatives or a lot of people in one place - perhaps staying at someone else's house, being at their mercy for food and shelter. I don't know. When my inner seven year old makes an appearance, she is hard to ignore (for me - I can mostly hide her from other people).

This is a strange thing: my actual seven year old self is gone. I remember some things from when I was three, four, five. Then six, seven, eight - all gone. I don't know which class I was in, which teachers I had, what I did outside school. Then from nine I have a few memories again. (I'm not one for memories generally, to the despair of many of my friends and relatives. I forget birthdays, holidays, good times. I like to think I'm all about the future, but I fear it may be a mental defect or a lack of interest.) With no memories at all of my actual seventh year, it's ironic that I'm so often plagued by my fictitious seven year old self.

* My inner seven year old is completely self-involved. She wants attention and love from everyone, even when she hides in her room. She wants everyone to find her witty and clever and interesting ALL the time. She wants compliments! (Interestingly, pretty/beautiful is not an aim. That's my 32 year old's worry.)

* My inner seven year old is greedy - she wants, wants, wants. She wants chocolate and she wants it NOW. She wants the biscuit that my 32 year old self gives to the kids. She resents that the children get ice cream and custard and she doesn't. (She won't ask for it.) She actually hid a yucky burger under her lettuce because she didn't like it and was very embarrassed when she got found out.

* My inner seven year old is lazy. She just wants to read a book and be left alone. She's happy to play with the children, but doesn't want to take care of them. She sets the table, but inwardly complains about it the whole entire complete time.

* My inner seven year old is lonely. She feels no one likes her and she doesn't fit in. She hides so she doesn't have to see herself through other people's eyes. She feels inadequate because she is constantly comparing herself to others. She's slower, not funny, not noticed. She wishes she could sparkle.

* My inner seven year old is touchy. She goes on the defensive too fast. She's always shouting "BUT I AM!" She can hear other people's thoughts - judging her, criticising her, pointing out the million ways she doesn't measure up. She lashes out first. (But only to those who are closest - sorry, Babes.)

* My inner seven year old is sad. Her tears are close to the surface. She wants to hug her knees. She needs big warm jumpers, wants hot chocolate. She doesn't laugh, doesn't find things very funny. Except for poo and farts, and people tripping up.

I wish I could be kinder to my inner seven year old. I wish I could hug her and sit with her and make her feel less alone. I wish I could stop judging her and making her feel even more useless. I wish I could feel more compassion for that little girl. I wish I could take my inner seven year old on my lap and truly look at her, listen to her, be with her, and then tell her she's fine just the way she is. The problem is I really don't like her. She's annoying.