Friday, 18 December 2009


So I've decided to take some time off during the holidays. We will only be travelling and full of festive cheer. So. Happy holidays one and all and see you in the new year!

PS Negotiations with Bob Lady and Little Princess will go on as normal.
PPS Please don't all desert me. If I have only five readers left when I get back I will cry bitter tears.
PPPS Really. I mean it. Don't leave me.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

I needed that

All of a sudden my world looks like this

and I feel cleansed.

It hasn't stopped snowing yet since this morning, and it may well just keep going. We've been out walking everywhere since about ten o'clock, and I tell you it's glorious. After naptime we'll have another couple of hours outside. I should keep the small-child-who-barks-like-a-seal indoors, but our day is packed full of unmissable outdoors stuff. Thank fuck for that. It is the perfect snowy day: hardly any wind, about 0 degrees, continuous snow. There's light and air, more than I've been craving even.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009


I'm sick of
  • being sick. Stupid runny nose, stupid cough, stupid temperature.
  • having to look after children when I'm sick. Especially a sick child.
  • not having any inspiration. (Anyone who leaves a comment saying I don't have to post every day will get virtually punched in the mouth. You have been warned.)
  • not being funny. I can do funny, dammit, just not when I have drip-nose.
  • not sleeping. Did I mention the sick kid? (I think the other one is catching it, too.)
  • having to be responsible (walking to school, making sure everyone is fed, changing fucking crappy nappies, wiping fucking snotty noses, inserting fucking thermometers into various fucking orifices).
You get the gist.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

I am not your stalker, but I am the one you can smell around the corner

  • I know some bloggers watch their stats like crazy. I will admit to being the one visiting from Belgium, but I am NOT your stalker. When I stay on your site for 24 hours in a row, that just means I open your post, walk off to do something with the kids, and then come back to the computer the next day. Just saying.
  • I have terrible garlic breath tonight. I love my pitta with garlic sauce, and my fries with garlic sauce, and also my garlic sauce with garlic sauce. Poor Babes did not go out with me, so he must feel he's been conquered by the French, and now he will get his sweet revenge because I will not sleep one wink tonight. Not one. By morning, I will vow never to have garlic sauce again, which I will forget by the next time I go into a pitta place. *burps up a little garlic*
  • The Bumba will not die. He has developed some wrinkles and some pimples, but he may have to be euthanised.

    (This photo shows him in better days.)

Monday, 14 December 2009

You make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside

Can I just say how much I love all of you, my dearest commenters? Because I do. You come here and disagree with me, or agree with me, but you make me feel like the crazy is okay and love is coming my way. And you suggest this:

(Thank you MrsW.)

Friday, 11 December 2009

The ears vs front bottom vs back bottom quandary

Our shower is incapacitated. This is a major stressfactor in my life at the moment. Actually, the shower does work, but when we get in it, it rains in the kitchen underneath. So we have decided to use the bath (thank fuck for the bath, I suppose) until this is fixed. This has brought home to me how much of a bath hater I am. I know there are women, like my lovely sister An may she walk on rose petals, who like to "relax" in a bath, but I'm missing that gene. I just think a bath is a very ineffective way to get clean. You really get dirtier. Because, let's face it, you're lying around in your own soapy dirt. More often than not I follow a bath with a shower.

Anyway, earlier I was using the bath, but I was still stealthily having a shower. I was sitting in a dry bath, soaping myself, and then rinsing myself off with the shower attachment. That must have saved a few buckets of water as well. The situation led me to contemplate the inherent problems in my regular washing routine. I always create too much laundry. I just can't reuse a towel. Well, I can reuse a hair towel (ahem) but not a rest-of-the-body towel. The reason is very simple: all my bits get dried with the same towel. Then the next day I can't very well restart with that same towel at my face, because there are a few bits I would not stick my face in. You get what I mean, right?

Then there's also the age-old face cloth problem. How can anyone fully wash themselves using only one facecloth? I shall call this the "ears vs front bottom dilemma". How are you meant to wash both of these with the same facecloth? Then you say "But Mwa, surely a facecloth has two sides" and so it does, but then I could just rephrase the problem as the "ears vs front bottom vs back bottom quandary." And then of course you may say "But surely a facecloth is large enough to be cunningly divided into sections, for different particular uses." And then I would have to show our Belgian variety, which would be better named a wash mitten:

and besides this is my blog so butt out with the questions already.

I need my shower back and also perhaps a life.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The simple and the not so simple life

  • Life can be so simple sometimes. Jack has been sleeping very badly for weeks. He's been touchy and sad during the day because he's exhausted. We have tried sympathy, sternness, warm milk, going to bed later, going to bed earlier, extra blankets - just about everything. Turns out all he needed was a better nightlight. He hadn't told us he was scared in the semi-dark. (I can't understand why. It's not like I don't try to listen to him until my ears turn blue.)
  • Life can be so complicated sometimes. I like my dresses, my boots, my figure-hugging tops. I would defend the right of any woman to wear what she likes, and to use her body any way she likes. And yet, and yet. At choir the other day a lovely beautiful girl turned up in a skirt which, because I'm 32 now, I have earned the right to describe as "a belt" and a turtleneck jumper on top which was so sheer it showed her freckles through it, all topped off with perfect make-up and hairdo. And while I love this girl and sometimes aspire to be more like her, she made me feel so bloody inadequate for about ten minutes (until I got over myself).
    Tonight on TV I saw a girl on a quiz. Pouty mouth, giggly laugh, eyebrows plucked into oblivion. Painted hair, painted eyes, painted lips, painted everything. This girl I mainly don't understand. Why would you want to paint a face on top of your perfectly decent face, at 26 and in the age of perfection? I'm baffled to such an extent that I didn't get around to feeling inadequate. I understand make-up when things start going South. I'm considering getting some make-up myself in the next decade or so. Perhaps if the basics you've been given aren't all that appealing. Then - fine. This girl, though, I got a strong feeling she was selling herself short; implying that she needed all this hoopla to be a fully functioning woman. It makes me sad. Sad for her for feeling she needs this, and sad for the world for falling for it.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Low Countries bloggers unite! Or not!

(A post in which I prove I could be a motivational speaker. Or a salesperson.)

So yeah, after those last comments, why don't we have a party sometime for all the English speaking bloggers we know in the neighbourhood? Well, maybe not a party. We might be safer starting with dinner. You know, in case some of us are really dull. Or creepy. Or an axe murderer. Actually, let's do lunch. Then we have the added bonus of daylight.

Seriously - France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium - all pretty close together. How about we meet in the middle? (Did you see how cunningly the middle of all that is Belgium?) Anyone interested, leave a comment or send me an email. Yes, I'm looking at YOU! Don't be shy - it'd be fun. We could decide where exactly when we see who wants to come, and make it about as far for everyone.

You think this is a bad idea, right? We have a good thing going, why spoil it? Do we really want to put faces to the fake names? Are we ready to be infected with each other's swine flu? Also - compared to the walk to your desk, the journey would be a lot longer.

I'm terrified about this. I like to hide behind my blog. But really, people in other countries seem to enjoy this kind of thing. They don't tend to die of embarrassment or boredom or disappointment or an axe stroke. And you are all lovely. At least in writing you are. ;-) Okay, must stop scaring you all now. What do you think?

(And those of you not geographically close, have you met bloggers in real life? Did you have good or bad experiences? Do you think we shouldn't spoil the mystery? Really. I want to know. Badly. Urgently. Before it's too late.)

See, I could totally sell a blind man binoculars.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Three things that are making me happy today

1. My new boots

2. Marie's slippers

3. And this one has me smiling like a lunatic:

I don't know why. It's a little fake tree, with pink and purple tinsel. It's living in the kitchen, right in front of the sink. I hid the foot and the wires under a purple table cloth. It is making me stupendously happy.

I think it appeals to my anally retentive side. I chose it. I decorated it. No bits fall off all the time. No resin comes off. If I don't like the way a branch goes, I just bend it into shape. Every branch has exactly one light. Every needle has the same length. Two lengths of tinsel only means regularity and symmetry. Ahhh.

Also? In Belgium? A fake tree is not done (I've always been very anti-plastic tree), so I'm also being contrary.

(We're getting a real tree as well.)

Monday, 7 December 2009

Why are you staring at my face?

You remember the show Ally McBeal? The head of the law firm, Richard, had a kinky thing for "wattles", the loose skin under a woman's chin. I always thought he said "waddle", but a little googling set me straight. In any case *draws deep breath, then leaps and takes the plunge* - I have long been afflicted with a wattle. I think in the last decade, I have not liked a single picture of myself in which I wasn't leaning on my hand, peeking out from behind someone, or looking up.

I was obsessing about this yesterday, and asked Babes about it, and he just said quite matter-of-factly "yes, you have a waddle" (this was pre-Google). It was a shock, I tell you! This lovely boy married me, impregnated me on numerous occasions, and yet all along he was perfectly aware of the fact that I had a waddle. (Again, pre-Google.) Now, admittedly, I do not wear burkhas around the house, and it does get a little tiring to do all the housework constantly looking up. Also, he has on occasion faced me while we were having a conversation, so really this should come as no great surprise. He didn't seem particularly bothered. I'm thinking I may not make this another ankle-gate (the time he mentioned, in passing, that my ankles were not in proportion to the rest of my legs (okay, maybe not in passing (okay, so I nagged him for ages to tell me one thing he didn't like so much about my body (girls, FYI that is a question best left unasked)))).

Today I feel strangely liberated. I have accepted my waddle. In fact, I have accepted that not all pictures of me looking straight forward are horrible. If my main man can accept my wattle so matter-of-factly, so can I. In fact, I have been looking at family photos and *whispers* it's genetic. (Sorry family.) No matter how thin I get or how much exercise my face, the wattle is here to stay. So stay it will and no more worrying will be done about it. Actually my wattle is more of a cushion. It's a young wattle. Yes, a litte cushion underneath my chin. I can live with that. In fact, I am putting up a picture of the wattle so it's out there and there's nothing more I can do about it.

(That crease underneath is because I'm looking to my left. That is NOT a giant wrinkle. Just so you know. One issue at a time, people.)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Sex education for the faint-hearted

I've been reading a lot of posts about children asking questions about sex, and their parents shying away from the topic. This post is partly for them, but I would also like to hear what you all think. If you have a minute and have something to say on the matter (doesn't matter if you're a parent or not), please leave your two cents' worth.

This is what I did when I felt the time was right:

Jack was three. I was pregnant with Marie, and we told him of my pregnancy around his third birthday. It didn't take him very long to ask exactly how this child got in there. I was PREPARED! Because I hadn't been sure how to explain all of this to a small child and exactly how much information I should share, I got myself a picture book to read with him. (I'm a bit of a coward, but at least I'm a well-informed and well-prepared coward.) I chose the Dutch version of Babette Cole's "Mummy Laid an Egg!". There are a lot of books with the express purpose of explaining procreation to very young children. They take all the scariness out. They're funny, not too graphic and don't even name names. (I named names, I'm not squeamish that way.)

When the question came, I sat him down, got the book out and we read it together. We laughed at the pictures and the preposterous suggestions ("some children are brought by a dinosaur"), and then he learned how babies are made. No one was embarrassed. The questions that came were so innocent, they were very easy to deal with. I was truthful, without giving too much information. There are things a three year old just isn't ready for. Then we read the book again. And again. And again. And then again an hour later. And again. And again the next day and again the next. Until he could tell me everything by himself and he was satisfied that he understood. And that's how he learned how babies are made. I shared this beautiful experience with him and I wouldn't have missed that for the world.

My children will learn about sex one way or another, and I would rather their first information came from me. I'm all about the mind control. I'd be worried about what exactly they would learn in the playground otherwise. There is so much misinformation out there, I want my children to be happy to come to me with questions. (My own mother wanted to talk about sex so much we had to beat her off with a stick, but now I see that she was right. About that at least.)

Please tell me how you (would) deal with this. I would love to know. Please say if you disagree as well, and why you would rather not tell children until they are older or even never. Perhaps your child was made another way. How do you deal with that information? I am rather fond of debate. I promise to respect all opinions.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Gay Porn part V

So Bumba and Bumbalu are getting desperate. Ever since I ditched them in favour of Bob Lady and Little Princess for my gay remake of Titanic, they have completely lost their diva attitude and are begging me every day to do another movie with them. Apparently I made the right move by letting them feel who's boss. No more demands for rose petals in their toilet bowls, no more requests for vegan champagne or daily strippers. I'm playing hard to get, just because it's quite fun seeing them demean themselves. I'm also getting used to being given fruit baskets, feet rubs and daily strippers.

In an effort to convince me of their talents, Bumba and Bumbalu have been rehearsing scenes from their favourite movies, and videoing them. I get them in my inbox nearly every day just now, and I have to say they're rather sweet. The picture quality is obviously not brilliant, but I'm keeping them for the "extras" section of their next DVD. Either that, or I could do a deal with Oprah when they go for their next interview. I'm sure she'd love the exclusive footage of their "dark days" and their attempts at a comeback.

Their first attempt was technically rather poor, but you have to remember they're actors and not directors, like me. They did the kissing scene from Spiderman:

To show me they were serious about winning me back, they included some stills of the set. They hired a crane and a stunt crew for the day.

They must be going through their savings quite fast at this rate.

The next scene can't have helped their piggybanks. Just look at the number of extras they needed to hire for this diner scene from When Harry Met Sally:


I have to say, though, that this was a scene they shouldn't have sent in. The acting was appalling. Bumbalu does not have to worry about Bumba faking it with him. At least not realistically.

I think Bumba is getting the upper hand in the relationship. Maybe this is to do with him also being a deity. (Let's all bow to the Bumba.)

In the past, there was some discussion as to who got to play the part of the original girl in the movie. It shouldn't matter because I make sure not to make the guys in my movies stereotypical camp/girly boy with butch/fatherly man - aren't we all sick of that? But when their inner diva comes out, both still want to be able to say "I played the part of Angelina Jolie." These days, Bumba wins out every time. Maybe their relationship has settled more, and Bumbalu is happy to let his man shine if that makes him happy. Perhaps Bumba is just better at throwing hissy fits.

Anyway, next up was American Beauty and this is a scene in which Bumba took center stage:


Finally, they must have got quite stuck for favourite scenes, because I found them doing a cartoon, starring animals. How the mighty have fallen. I suppose at least the set would have been cheaper for this romantic scene from The Lady and the Tramp:


I do think Bumba and Bumbalu shot themselves in the foot a little with their series of audition videos. For one thing, I could see how truly terrible their acting was in some of them. They are B-movie material at best. I've also secretly been forwarding the films to Bob Lady and Little Princess, and they are working on a video response right now. I love playing them off against each other. Watch this space!

Note from the editor

I woke up this morning beating myself up for being so damn married and couple-centred. Apologies to the world. (Yes, apparently I review and edit in my sleep.) So I'm a moron and did exactly what I hate in other people. I will try to rephrase:

To any parent out there, you should get dating. For those in a relationship, you may want to do this with your partner. If you want.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Date night

We've just come back from date night. (All you parents out there - if you don't already, do yourself a favour and start dating again.) (I mean with your own spouse, before I get blamed for any divorces.) We went out with my lovely sister An and her husband Dean to celebrate his new PhD. Congratulations Doctor Dean!

The Bumba says it would be bad form to blog at length instead of focusing on the husband just now. So I'm really just popping in to say hello to you all. Hello!

Tell me, what did you do tonight?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

What bit me in the arse, what happened to the poo, and why exactly we're fucked

I figured out this week:
(I'm having a good week. I just happened to learn stuff. Carissajade made me aware that I sounded a bit negative. Good week. Really.)
  • Sending your child to Catholic school will come to bite you in the arse. Like when your son comes home all upset because the priest told him in church that he should be praying in his bed every night. (I told him that's like the baker telling you you need to buy a loaf of bread from him every day.)
  • Or when he's told Saturday night mass is "homework." (Not bloody likely.)
  • Or when he tells me he doesn't like to stay over for lunch because they have to pray too much. (I told him to pretend, tune out and think of fun things.)
  • Taking a two year old on a long walk with her doll in a pram always means you end up pushing the pram and pulling the child by the end of the walk.
  • You can't take your eyes off a kid's diet for a week if he has poo issues. Not even when it's your other child's birthday. Especially not when it's your other child's birthday. It's now fibre week at casa de Mwa.
  • Christmas is expensive when you're a Belgian-British family. I want to spend money on Sinterklaas, Babes wants to spend money on Christmas. We're fucked. But I'm getting better at finding bargains. (Yay me!)
  • Barring very difficult circumstances, it really isn't the world, it's how you are able to look at it. Every day I get more convinced that depression is mostly chemical/hormonal/physical. I'm waiting for someone to tell us all the root cause, how to test for it, and then the cure of course. Our descendants will learn about cancers, bacteria, viruses and depressors.

The Bumba says this is all.