Saturday, May 31, 2008

Childbirth Song - Helen Austin

Came across this on Facebook. I've watched it several times now, I'm still laughing.

House Of Pain - Jump Around

This remains the best floor filling track ever. My abiding memory of the wedding evening do will be a very pregnant lady bouncing up and down to this.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Balancing Act

I'm not dead. Really. I've been away. Went to a wedding and then Boy and I went oop North and planted ourselves on my Viking - who is probably shovelling out his house as we speak, from all the devastation we seem to cause, wherever we go.

The wedding was fabulous. Viking's family are brilliant and his sister-in-law's are amazing. I was made to feel welcome in both camps. I had emergency tissues at the ready while bride and groom made their heart-felt, sincere promises to each other. Fortunately, forward planning meant hard-core waterproof mascara and eyeliner, so afterwards I didn't look like the clown from Stephen King's 'It'. The bride looked beautiful, the groom looked nervous and both of them, once they'd got through the ceremony smiled as if they'd just run the London marathon and won the lottery. My Viking's speech went really well. Although he's probably lost a couple years in his life expectancy in the worry and stress in the run-up to the proceedings, he did a brilliant job. Most importantly, he got the music spot on and didn't lose the rings. I came away feeling like I'd made new friends and expanded my family network.

Boy and I kicked around doing not a lot at my Viking's pad. He spent most of his time on the X-Box oggling Lara Croft's tits and bum as she swung round and round a horizontal pole. I disappeared into a pile of trashy reading, occasionally coming out to swat him when poor Lara must have been getting dizzy doing all those flips, rolls and somersaults out of the way of the bad guys and monsters. Seriously, she must have a cast-iron sports bra. We wandered into the Market Town where my Viking calls home and indulged in naughty cakes and dvds. It's been a really nice time. Though, the Cat is seriously freaked out by being left on her own for the better part of a week (I have to explain that our time away was broken up into two and three days away with a couple of days at home, in case you were thinking of dialing the RSPCS). She peed all over an M&S bag I'd left by my front door, full of clothes I was going to return this week. Fortunately, M&S make good waterproof carrier bags and the clothes don't whiff of cat's pee.

On the train journey back, as I listened to the racket on my MP3 player, I wrestled with a Truth about myself that I can't resolve. In many aspects I'm a split personality. I am constantly torn by my conflicting needs. It should be a fairly obvious process to prioritise my needs, but it's not. It's like I'm two entirely different women existing in the same consciousness.

I crave stability, success, recognition, status. I'd love to have a job which was well-remunerated, status filled and successful. Unfortunately, I'm too flakey to have a successful 'career'. Hence me working in cosmetics. I can't bear the routine and the structure which goes with the job. I can't function in the structures which would fullfil my need to be useful. I'd love to be able to have a responsible job like nursing or policing, but I can't deal with the pain and emotional fall-out which goes with those professions. So I sell expensive creams to spoilt women.

I don't know what I'm doing, or where I'm going long-term. In the short to medium term, I'll be starting my MA again in October, I'll be doing that part-time. That'll give me another two years before I have to make a serious decision. I can't move anywhere until Boy has completed his A-levels in 4 years time. Where I'll be then is anyone's guess. I suppose I'll just try and keep both sides of my split self happy and hope for the best.

I used to think when I got sorted that life would be easier and more straight forward. While things are a lot more clear, they aren't much easier. Painful decisions aren't any less painful, it's just that the consequences are more obvious. Life has become a process of elimination, me having a checklist ticking off things that don't/haven't worked for me. The real problem has become the fact that just because I know it doesn't work for me, it hasn't stoped me craving it.

Like me eating meat. I really love my meat. Give me dead animal slapped bloody on my plate, with a bit of mustard and fries and mayo and I'm a happy, happy carnivore. I have had at least 2 years when I was a vegetarian and I was very healthy with it. My system works so much more efficiently when I don't have meat in my diet. Yet, I regularly over-indulge. Meat with more meat thanks very much. I gave into my carnivourous cravings after an afternoon fantasizing about bacon sandwiches, KFC and Burger King. I have the will power of a moth, but I'm tired of the singed wings. Perhaps this is really the truth of my inner conflict - I don't want to give things up that are bad for me. I'm not really a grown up at all, I'm really 5 years old sprawled on a pavement throwing a tantrum. Perhaps I should just grow up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Acts of Parliament

Blogland is buzzing with the vote about to go through Parliament dealing with stem cells, IVF & the abortion limit. The Daily Mail and Guardian go head to head waving their flags, fists and rhetoric. I haven't been keeping an eye on the debate simply because I'm trying to deal with my day to day stuff. Pretty much like everyone else I suspect. Turning over to the sports page, looking for cheap holidays or a date.

I haven't voted for years. In fact, I last voted for Tony Blair the first time around (yes, it's all my fault. I know). I am the disaffected voter. Part of it comes from working in Local Government and seeing the process of democracy at work and the complete loonies who claim to represent you and I. The truly shocking decisions that get made, or don't. Granted the council I worked for was in worse shape than most, but it excelled in arse covering and wall-papering. The fact of the matter is I don't believe that those members on a local level are any different to Members of Parliament. I don't believe that my local MP is any more honest and trustworthy and quite frankly he gets paid a damn side more for regularly fucking up, than I do. If I was that incompetent or dishonest I'd be sacked forthwith. That they get away with spouting forth about family values and have the personal lives of alley cats, makes me less likely to believe anything they say about family values and moral fibre.

However, I this is an uninformed and general rant. My opinion, which accounts for absolutely zip, but doesn't stop me from voicing it.

There are some mutterings from the conservatives about the rights of lesbian couples to IVF. They claim that the lack of a father figure will lead to the downfall of society and have followed through with various statistics about the terror of single parenthood and the apocalypse. As a single parent, I am constantly disappointed in my child. I hang my head in shame. My Boy, despite his lack of father on hand 24/7, continues to be polite to adults. *gasp* He's doing well in school. *shock* I mean, he doesn't even throw stones at little old ladies! The shame.

It's always dodgy trying to simplify a complex argument, but I think they're missing a point here. A lesbian couple who want a child are more likely to parent their child properly. Their child has the same chances as the rest of us to grow up 'normal'. Tell me again, how is that wrong? And try not to quote 'God' in any of your answers.

There's also the abortion law. Moves afoot to drop the limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. Foetus viability hasn't improved despite advances in neo-natal medicine. Interesting, since there are tests which can only be done at 20 weeks to check for birth defects. Will a woman who has the test done at 20 weeks, receive the results in the same week and if necessary arrange and have an abortion in that same week? So a woman has a test done and gets the result and makes a decision to have an abortion before the Friday? Because of course most clinics operate Monday to Friday. How exactly is that going to work?

Do I believe that a woman has a right to chose whether she has a baby? Absolutely. Especially since the Nanny State we live in fails so miserably to care for the carers. If a woman decides she won't have a baby for financial, emotional, psychological reasons, I think she should have access to the services to make a termination possible. I don't think society has a right to dictate that she brings an unwanted baby into this world.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two Things I Learnt Today

1. Eating cold, day old pizza is not as disgusting as it sounds.

2. I always seem to achieve more when I don't set out to do anything.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Getting On a Bit

It's official. I am a year older today. So I went to work.

I've been feeling very pre-menstrual to the point where the cat stopped talking to me and started fleeing the room I walked in. Boy merely put his head-phones on and listened to Penduluum. My Viking gave me cuddles and was sympathetic as I tried to bite the carpet in my frustration.

Despite the horrid moodiness, I've had a really nice birthday. I bought loads of cakes for the ladies at work, when it was quiet I pottered around in the stockroom and played with our new testers. I like playing with Stuff, don't quite know why, I just do. I think I'm just a hoarder at heart, which is probably why I've got a silly amount of fragrances, cosmetics and make-up. Thanks to my birthday bag from work, that pile has just got a little bit higher - much to my delight. I've been treated to loads of fabulous new colours, cosmetics and some of my favourite fragrances. I think my bottle count is now 19! Oops. Perhaps that is a touch over the top.

I'm settling into my job quite nicely. My Counter Manager is such a sweetie. She's been in the industry long enough to know her stuff backwards, but is still enthusiastic about her work. The training has done wonders for my confidence in the product knowledge, which has meant that I've been landing some good sales. I no longer feel apologetic for charging a hideous amount of money for our products. They cost a lot, because a lot goes into them. They really do what they say on the jar.

Apart from the attack of the Grumps, life continues quite happily.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Nite In

This week is Summer and I have been flashing my bronzed legs. The flat's windows and front door are wide open letting the cooling evening breeze take out the fusty air that's built up during the day while I was at work and Boy at school.

Boy has survived his SATs and has reluctantly agreed that maybe the revision I nagged him into doing helped a bit. As I type he's happily killing the bad guys on the XBox. He looks a touch tired, but is otherwise unscathed.

As for myself, I'm not sure where the week went. Actually, that's not true. I know exactly where it went. I just haven't caught up with myself yet. I had four days of training in London, a night in my own bed then it was back down to London for a Hen-Do. Viking's eldest brother is tying the knot and I got invited to his fiancee's Do. It was a sucessful weekend, if a lot of hard work. Network Rail decided to do loads of engineering works, so what should have been less than a 2 hour journey down, became a 3 1/2 hour journing. The organiser of said Do, arranged for me to share with a woman who was lovely enough to book a twin room. When I got to the hotel I realised I'd forgotten the e-mail with the booking details in Norwich. I rocked up to this posh, 4 **** hotel, marble lobby, brass fittings, I thought 'oh dear'. The very nice receptionist couldn't find me or my room-mate on her system. She called her manager who also looked and couldn't find us. To cut a long story short, because my roomy was still at home while I was trying to book, she was able to send a copy of her confirmation e-mail to the Duty Manager (a very dishy Australian). He then organised a twin room in their sister hotel, The Westbury for the original price. They also paid for the cab to take me from them, to there.

Now, you have to understand that my half of the room was £60. One of the first questions my room-mate asked me was whether the hotel was a dive. It was most certainly not. I was feeling scruffy enough as it was. I had a scruffy cardigan, battered and none-to-clean jeans, knackered trainers, Lumpy and my back-pack. In all likelihood I would have just been allowed into a hostel. During the journey across to The Westbury, the cabbie asked whether I had posher clothes to change into - did I have time to go shopping. When I'm all grown up and have a proper income, I want to do London from The Westbury. The staff were starched, proper and very kind. Nothing was too much trouble. I was helped from my cab, Lumpy taken off me to be delivered to my room shortly, I was shown to Reception, shown to the lift. The room, or should I say rooms, were stunning. It was an Olde Worlde feel with the latest technology. There was a dressing room, complete with a walnut dressing table, polished within an inch of it's life. I want that bathroom, marble and white tile, white cotton bathrobes and a towel warmer.

I did scrub up good for the Hen-Do and had a brilliant time in good restaurants with great company. We went clubbing in a basement club that was concentrating on 50s-60s rock'n'roll. Elvis without the tassles, Duke Ellington etc. Thankfully there was not a pink cowboy hat, handcuffs or an L-plate to be seen. I gave up about 2am and got back to my blissfull room.

My bed. What can I say about my bed? Yes, it was a single, but with a touch more room than a normal single. The bed was so comfortable it was like sleeping in a hug. The duvet and pillows were feather, but I didn't have any problems with allergies at all. It was only the realisation that I'd forgotten to ask what time breakfast finished and when we had to vacate the room, that actually got me out of bed by 10.00. I just didn't want to risk having to pay full price for the room (that would have set me back £175) for the Sunday.

It was just as well I had a good time Saturday night, the journey back was horrendous. Fortunately, I had a Viking meet me at the Norwich station which soothed and eased my very tired, ruffled feathers.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Slipping Away

I find it difficult to believe that 2 weeks ago I was at work, looking forward to my two weeks off. Don't ask me where the time has gone, because I sure as hell don't know.

My weeks' holiday was spent pretty much on my sofa catching up with a huge pile of reading. I finally got round to reading Virgin Suicides after much nagging from The Viking. Yes, it was very well written, and I did like the clever bits he did with the retrospective multiple narrator. Would I pick it up again in a hurry? No, not really. I did feel it was so incredibly sad.

I also spent most of my time nagging Boy. He starts his SATs next week. After much lecturing he sat down to revise. I was somewhat surprised that his teachers had not gone through revision or exam tactics with him. So I invested in some revision guides and went through the basics of revision. I am trying not to nag him about the revision. If he wants to be a vet, then he's going to have to work bloody hard. If he doesn't put in the work, then he'll have to think of something else. Me nagging him, isn't going to help. I keep telling myself that. Hasn't been working though. But I keep trying.

The Viking and his dad came visiting on their way back from Sweden last weekend. On Saturday morning we ambled into town and I became a bit concerned about Dad. He looked a touch confused and seemed to be struggling a bit. When we finally found a free table in a cafe, he admitted that he didn't feel up to the walk home. My alarm bells went off. This is a man who runs marathons, flies gliders and is building a conservatory from scratch. The Viking and Boy went home to get the car, I rang my surgery and got an automated message advising me to ring NHS Direct. I didn't particularly want to take him to A & E without a bloody good reason, but I did not want to wait for the Call Back from NHS Direct. Then I remembered, we've got a Walk-In Centre. I strongly advised that course of action to Viking and Dad and they agreed it would be a good idea for him to be checked out there. We didn't wait very long in the waiting room before Dad came back clutching a large brown envelope saying A & E.

I've not been to the A & E in the new hospital, so that was a bit of an experience. The staff were brilliant, got him into a cubicle and hooked up to the ECG pdq. And there we stayed. I didn't think to check my watch and see if we made the 4 hour deadline. But to cut a long and stressful story short, they wanted to keep him in for observation and to do more blood tests. So he went up to the ward and we went off to pack a bag for him and to get something to eat. That's when the fun and games started. When we got there, they'd moved him to another ward and it was on visitor lock-down, thanks to the Norovirus. We weren't supposed to visit him at all. Thankfully, the staff let us take him his bag and settle him in properly. He'd made friends with the other gentlemen on the ward, who of a similar age and when we left they were having a lively debate about the football results (Championship - will Hull go up and Premiership). The staff weren't sure that they discharge him on Sunday, the doctor's were considering doing more tests. Since I had to be in London during the week and The Viking had to be back at work, leaving Dad in a strange city by himself, we were hoping he'd be well enough to go home again.

This is a happy ending. Dad is back home oop North and according to the Viking is back to normal. It's funny, but at throughout it all I had the comforting presence of Mousie and Tom in the back of my mind. I knew that Dad would get the best of care. And he did.

My week in London was packed as I was trained to be Super Orange Woman. I now have had the basic product training so when I get back on counter no longer will I have to look to my Counter Manager to fill in the gaps. I'll have further training in the selling techniques to show me the best way to part women from their hard-earned cash. It hasn't really changed how I view the PCH, or their products. What was a bit shocking was the basic science behind the skin and how it ages - and the damage caused by the sun and sunbeds.

Of everything I've learnt this week, that has been had the greatest impact. I'm sure I've said that every now and then I've gone along and had a quick blast on a sunbed, to warm up and get a touch of colour in my skin. I'm by no means brown, it just keeps me from looking like a ghost or a vampire-wannabe. What I didn't realise is that the damage doesn't appear straight away, it takes about 20-30 years for it to work it's way up to the surface of the skin. It's scary. Really scary. I'm going invest in several bottles of self-tan - which in a way is just as scary as melanoma. I'm turning into Super Orange Woman!

Waiting for Paint to Dry

Yesterday evening, I thought I'd finished the triptych. I kicked back, drank a glass of raspberry beer and contemplated my work. As I co...