Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Peace at Last

My cold is still making itself heard. Mostly at night, according to Himself. He is comparing my peaceful nocturnal slumbers to the rasp of chainsaws and the felling of the rainforests.

I would just like to point out that I don't snore. Whatever he is trying to insinuate, he is wrong. I am simply exhaling deeply through my nostrils as I dream of all the annoyances the children and Himself have inflicted upon me that day.

Himself on the other hand... He has a cold too. And... well I did hear that blocking nostrils was a cure for snoring. So I rolled over and pinched his nose closed. All it did was change the pitch and tempo. Which, by the way, if you pinched at different places in the nose and with differing force, can actually play a tune. Like "Jingle Bells". Fun. Still snoring though. Well if blocking the nostrils is supposedly a cure, surely blocking the nostrils and mouth would work too?? HEY! Success! No more snoring! He's awake and all is silent (apart from the shouting "what the hell do you think you were doing??!), and now - even better - he's scared to go to sleep in case I suffocate him in his sleep.

Night night.

Never the Twain?

Something that might surprise you, Dear Reader, is that when I write to you I have no specific person in mind. I tend to write for myself rather than for any specific reader, and in fact very few of my "real-life" friends know that I blog. (If you are a "real-life" friend AND you knew about this blog already, just sit over there in the corner, this won't take long. Don't worry, there's only a half dozen of you so it won't be crowded).

So it was an act of either foolishness or courage to actually add my blog to my Facebook page. Now people that I actually know can read this - if they wish to and have several hours to kill. Perhaps while waiting for a bowel prep to work, because I certainly wouldn't read this whole thing for fun!

(Except I just had to read the whole thing, to quickly run through and edit certain posts before anyone's feelings got hurt. Holy crap, I talk way too much.)

Facebook is actually consuming much of my time at the moment. And not just the scrabble game, which is usually the only part of the site I look at. There seems to have been a surge in people using it, and that surge seems to consist entirely of people I went to school with. People I haven't seen in twenty years (ugh, I had to say that didn't I? That counting thing again. Twenty years. How in hell am I that old?).

The memories of that time are so bittersweet, which I suppose school memories often are. You make friendships there which stay with you your entire life - whether you ever see those people again or not, they make their mark on you and you never, ever forget them. You also make a total and utter prat of yourself and writhe in shame at some of the memories that are refusing to stay bolted behind those steel doors. You never, ever really forget those moments either - although I so wish I could!

The good side of it though, is touching base with those friends who made their mark. People I've never forgotten. My first boyfriend. My best friend. The person I tried to live up to. The person that caught me when I couldn't. And the anticipation of wondering who will join next is tantalising and wonderful.

And if any of you did click the link and come over - I'm so, so pleased to see you again. I hope life is treating you well.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Traditional Habits

I hab a hed code again. S'not a hangover, is just a code. I nearly always hab a code on Boxing Day, is almost tradition. Bleurgh. Stupid Tradition.

Do you have family traditions at Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate? Ours are a bit of a mish-mash of things brought from Himself's family memories in Poland, mine from England all mixed up with good old American consumerism - e.g. "Santa" instead of "Father Christmas".

In Poland the children open their gifts when they see the first star on Christmas Eve. This is a lovely idea and we have adopted it, although for some bizarre reason every year the children have managed to open new pyjamas as their chosen gift. Funny that. One tradition we have thrown away is eating Christmas carp. Ugh. Full of bones and skin and icky things. We'll stick with good old turkey thankyouverymuch!

Taken from my family, Santa leaves the children's stockings on their beds. They find them in the morning and come running in to wake us up and rip open the small gifts inside while Himself and I blearily un-peel our eyelids. The other gifts from Santa are left downstairs cleverly coordinated so that the wrapping of the stocking gifts matches the wrapping of the bigger gifts, so there is never any confusion.

Christmas Lunch is followed by more gifts, the ones from family and friends which have been sitting under the tree for weeks, tempting the poor children unmercifully. Shame they don't yet have my skill of being able to un-stick and re-stick Sellotape without any sign of tampering!

Games of charades, scrabble, trivial pursuit or whatever comes to hand, plus more food end the big day, but the festivities and feasting continue! The traditional Boxing Day full English breakfast - the good old fry-up cooked by Himself! - followed by pantomime tickets or Boxing Day sales and then we all visit Grandma's for her version of the turkey dinner.

Perhaps this is why I have a cold? The one day a year that I don't ever have to cook at all, and can kick back and relax. Makes sense I should always be too sick to enjoy it!

Friday, 19 December 2008

What is the opposite of "organisation"?

Copy of an email I just sent, since I'm far too lazy to think about two ways to say the same thing and copy/paste are just so handy....

"Am not stressed. Not. Am fine. Did NOT forget that Thing One was at a birthday sleep-over. Did forget that she would then need a gift and card for birthday girl. Did have to quickly panic and run into town - the Friday before Christmas so the shops were disgustingly busy! Did also forget that the party is at a pool, so she needs a swimming kit. Did NOT forget that Thing Two was having a sleep-over here. Did NOT forget to wash the bedding. Did forget to dry it... Oh help. Also did forget that Thing One needed our sole sleeping bag for HER sleep-over so we can't have it for Thing Two's, so am quickly reshuffling duvets and quilts. {Sigh}.

Am not stressed, and my feet aren't killing me... also the word "forget" is not looking really weird to me now...

PS Also did NOT forget that sleep-over girl won't eat anything I make. So while I was in town I bought a packet of chicken nuggets, which is something I normally never buy. DID then promptly forget about them and so they have defrosted and am now cooking FORTY bloody chicken nuggets. We'll be eating them all week at this rate."

Yes, I am well aware of the irony of this all happening directly after the last post, headed "organisation".

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Organisation!

The British are great at small talk. We have 'The Weather'. Traffic. The Weather. Temperatures. The Weather. At the moment, though, the number one conversation starter is... "Are you ready?" And the terribly sad thing is that without any further point of context, everyone understands what the hell you are saying.

(I have eleven days to go. No I'm NOT bloody ready.)

It is a never-ending nightmare of present buying, card writing, grocery shopping, menu planning, decorating, wrapping and details. All preceded, of course, by list-making.

I am, naturally, a fantastic list maker. I write lists everywhere and for everything. Perfect tables of lists arranged in Word. Neatly wriiten lists for the notice board. Scraps of paper tucked into my purse. Back of envelope lists. Back of HAND lists. Texted to my own mobile lists. Called to my own telephone and left on the voicemail lists. Lists dictated over my shoulder at various children, friends, or whoever is there "Don't let me forget x, y and z!"

Lists keep you organised. They stop you from worrying and trying to remember things. Instead I tend to spend all my time looking for the damned bit of paper I wrote my list on. But that's okay! Because once I have the paper I will know what to do next because I made a list...

P.S. I just opened my Facebook page and sat staring at it wondering what was wrong with Scrabble now. Why isn't it loading?? I hadn't actually clicked any links or anything, I assumed it would know what to do by now.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Top of the Season to You!

It's December 13th, twelve days before Christmas. Tradition dictates it is tree up day, woohoo! Some people do put the tree up way earlier than this. I've tried that but I only have a limited amount of patience so the later it goes up the better. The year I put it up on the 1st it was down on Boxing Day!

I love the look of "designed" trees. When one person creates a co-ordinated look and the colours and textures dazzle while the balance is perfection itself.

We tend to go for the "many hands make a balls-up" approach. There is no co-ordination. We have many home-made works of art, more precious than Fabergé. Shame they look like so much Fromage. We end up with bare patches and over-laden branches. We have Disney princess rubbing shoulders with Thomas the Tank Engine. We have angels and robins and teddies and drums. Musical bells and icicles. Bits of glittery paper and tufts of cotton wool, so old and battered I have no idea what they were originally supposed to represent. Definitely not perfect. And I will spend the next 3 weeks itching to re-arrange it. But I won't, because the girls have done it and they love doing it!

treeOh... and the fireguard? It's just the perfect finishing touch in a house with toddlers, Labradors, cats and clumsy mums. Actually, perhaps I could expect a "House Beautiful" call soon...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Gutter Press

I keep seeing this rather strange item popping up all over the web. It's slightly bizarre and - for those like me who send their brain to vacation in the sewer - ever so slightly.... um.

banana bunkerTell me, what do YOU think?

This strangely a-peeling object is a sheath to protect your "delicates". To prevent them from becoming bruised and abused, you see. Notice the ribbing so that it can conform to any shape? And the cleverly open ends to slide through? Regardless of your personal opinions and foibles, it isn't a gag (pun intended?) gift.

Still, I can't see any kid happy to whip this little item out in the playground no matter how pristine his banana...

Monday, 8 December 2008

Mrs Malaprop

Cousin (to MIL): Why do you have white powder around the house outside? Have you been vandalised?

MIL: No! It's poison. There are hundreds of sardines here and I hate them.

Where's the nearest river?

MIL (Confused): There's a river just under the next building it goes under the street.

Oh, so then comes under your house?

MIL (Even more confused): No, it goes under and across the road.

Huh? So how do the sardines get in?

MIL (exasperated): What are you talking about? They just walk in. On their feet! There's some in the kitchen, even, it is disgusting! They are inside the walls and all over the floor.

Auntie, show me the sardines, please.

MIL: There! By your foot! Lots of them!

Auntie? That's an ant.

My MIL told me this conversation this evening and I couldn't stop laughing. I did ask what the words were in Polish to see if she had confused two similar words, but she says not (SARDYNKA and MRÓWKA). They both end in "ka" at least, I said. So do at least half the words in Polish MIL told me glumly.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Babe Swap

I know I have a reputation for being oblivious. I know I don't notice things. I know I didn't see a 60' Christmas Tree in the local mall for 4 years. But c'mon. Even I'm not THIS unobservant surely??

doll-dinner The Babe waited until we were all eating quietly then slipped down, placed her doll on her chair to substitute and wandered off to watch television. As if I wouldn't notice!!

OK. OK. I didn't. Thing One started laughing and alerted me. I really need to start paying attention...

Let Them Eat Cake

I don't bake. Wait, I'm not sure you quite got that. I DON'T bake. I cannot stand baking. I don't make fairy cakes. I don't make birthday cakes. I don't make rock buns*. I don't make bara brith**. I don't make pie. I don't bake. Full stop. End of story.

(Short entry then huh?)

(You know better than that!)

I think I had fooled my children into thinking that the "don't" in "I don't bake" was actually a synonym for "can't". Until recently, when Thing One started senior school and Home Economics. And now she needs to make a cake at school. And wanted to practice at home. And so I reluctantly showed her how to make a basic sponge. And now the ruddy kids know that I CAN bake.

Over the last two weeks we've made sponge cake. We've had chocolate cake. Three times. No, five - if you count Himself's efforts. We've had fairy cakes. We've had brownies. We've had butterfly cakes. If I see cake again I may just have to scream. She is going to make her cake on Friday at school and then I need some sort of memory altering ray like the Men in Black so that the children forget I can bake and stop bugging me. I just thought. She's going to bring this cake home, isn't she? We're going to have to [gag] eat it, aren't we?? Oh, help.

Shall just quickly*** tell you about Himself's cakes. Firstly, he criticised the heck out of me for chucking everything in a bowl and mixing it up and throwing it in the oven. Apparently we need to cream the butter and sugar and sift the flour and do something weird with the eggs and add some white stuff and blah and blah. He bet us that he could make a better cake than I could, because he could do it "properly". I have to admit he made a great cake. If you like ring doughnuts. As in, risen and crispy around the edge and sunken to the base in the middle. Even our very polite houseguest slipped her slice under the table towards the dog. (Poor dog now thinks cake is some form of torture).

So this weekend, Himself barricaded himself in the kitchen and with much muttering and banging and swearing he emerged an hour later with - I have to say - two extremely good chocolate cakes which I sandwiched and iced. And we were impressed. Until I found the Betty Crocker packet mix in the bin...

But I didn't complain. In the present economy I feel it is our patriotic duty to support Betty Crocker, Mr Kipling and his pals. You should all throw away your scales and mixing bowls and support our businesses by purchasing all your biscuits and pies and cakes and other goodies. Down with home-made! Support businesses world-wide! I'm on a one woman crusade. Would you like to join me?

I'll make a cuppa. But not a damn cake!

*Incidentally. Rock buns. Why can't you buy those anywhere? I seem to recall liking rock buns.

**Fabulous Welsh fruit cake thing that my mother made every Christmas but hasn't made me ONE since I left home. I want bara brith, Mum. PLEASE!!

*** Ha! Quickly. As if.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow!

Himself managed to kick me so hard today that I fell - face first - flat on the floor. No doubt one day I will laugh about this. One day. Not today though.

mads-and-dad-dec-08 So, about three years ago, Himself bought a sled. Ever since then we have had freakishly warm winters. The odd tiny scatter of snow has only arrived when he is at work. Today though, the snow and his day off coincided and come hell or high water he was taking that sled out! Sadly The Babe refused to go near it, and had to be bribed just to stand near it for a photo. He still had to play on it though, and coerced me into dragging him around. So. Top of hill. Him on sled. Me holding rope. Me pulling rope to start his forward momentum. Me jumping out of way. Him forgetting first lesson of any decent ride i.e. keep bloody arms and legs in the bloody vehicle!

His legs are all over the place and as I jump he kicks me really hard in the thigh and I fall face first forward into the snow! He laughs so hard he skids off the sled but that isn't poetic justice enough so I am planning some revenge. Ideas accepted.

HE thinks that a) it is my fault for getting in his way and b) he was just getting me back for throwing a snowball at him the other week. Can I point out though that The babe and I threw snowballs at Thing One and Thing Two as well as Himself?? Shame all three of them were sitting on the sofa at the time... (not joking about that bit).

mads-snow-26m "Mummy, WHY are you taking so many photos of me in the white cold stuff?"

Bits, Bumps and Whoops-a-Daisy!

Himself's privates need to be discussed again. And again actually. Huh. You'd think I didn't actually know the definition of private. Oh well.

So, it is with some trepidation and not a small amount of internal glee that I announce that Himself needs to go for further tests. You know what that means don't you? A small camera. A smaller entrance. A cystoscopy in fact.

And that gleeful little part of me, the one counting: laparoscopies... labours... caesarean sections... colposcopy... smears... forceps... episiotomy... that little part is sitting in a corner almost wetting herself with laughter.

"Oh no.. he doesn't want anaesthetic! This is a productive pain. We want to do it naturally, don't we darling??!" I'm actually wondering if the doctor would let me hold the camera.

Of course the trepidation part is gloomy and pessimistic. The little drama queen inside us all (please not just me!) who is trying to intervene with worst case scenarios. I'm trying very hard to ignore that bit and just continue imagining Himself. With a camera. Shoved up his bits. Mwah-ha-ha!