Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy 2007!!

This is a cow that is quite literally in our back garden.

Let's keep our fingers crossed 2007 isn't as shitty as the cow is!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Resolutely Written

I'm starting this early because it's going to require some forethought.

What I'm not going to do is give up booze, or limit myself to one drink, or two or three. That would just start rumours of pregnancy, and besides these days I'm only ever relaxed and not talking about the @*&!ing mortgage when I'm drunk.

I am going to:

1- Drink more water. Okay, a safe one to start with here. It's boring, but it bloody well works. I always feel loads better when I drink lots of water. I hate drinking lots of water (why is it I can down glass after glass of gin but have to force down a mouthful of water?).

2- Write at least 100 pages of my book. Hopefully this won't be too hard. I'm already at 75 pages, which is just staggering to me, and I still have two, maybe three ideas left for the characters. OK, it's going to be bloody hard work, but if I'm not going to do it now I'm certainly not going to do it if we have even more sprogs.

3- Go running more. I finally splurged and bought the jogger of my dreams. Now I can't find a link to it, which makes me think hmmm, recall. It's bloody brilliant. I am absolutely in love with it, not least because it actually fits in my car so I can go jogging down at the beach without having to jog down there through the barrio first. Or as much of a barrio as SB allows. I used to love running, and my friend Chilly runs all the time and weighs less than a chia pet.

4- Stop being such an uptight bitch. 2006 has been the year of terror and worry for us in many many ways. Mostly financial, but whatever happens, even if we have to leave this country under cover of darkness and flee to the UK using assumed names, we will be OK. I have to remember this. We have our health (resolution number 6 - stop sounding like an old fart) and everything else can be dealt with. I am a chronic worrier and like to be in control. Don't I sound fun? If LK is reading this, he is already rolling his eyes. We've had a stressful, worrying, crappy year and we've dealt with this stress in different ways - me by bitching and moaning and nagging and nagging and nagging and nagging, and LK by running for the hills whenever he sees me so much as draw breath. This coupled with Anna sleeping in our bed has meant we've reached a bit of an all-time low. I love LK. Yes still, and he's being actively pursued by a gorgeous wealthy ex-supermodel who fortunately happens to be gay. If he wasn't I think LK would have trotted off to Montecito months ago, but if I carry on being such a harpy he might just change teams for an easier life, and I bet this bloke gives a better blow job too. I need to stop being such a wife/mother and start being more of a wife/girlfriend.

5- Don't try and achieve resolution number 4 through use of gin.

6- Keep up with this blog. My goal will be to actually have someone read this blog that hasn't first googled 'army circumcision'. True.

7- Eat more fruit and vegetables. I buy more fresh fruit and veg for Louis our guinea pig than I do for us. I make Anna eat all the good stuff before she even has a sniff at a cookie, maybe I should set a better example.

8- Actually put my face in the water when ocean swimming. I have done four sprint triathlons doing the breaststroke and one doing the crawl. Only once did I get the top of my head wet and that was when heavy surf knocked me repeatedly on my arse in 2002. I've progressed to doing the crawl, but I still only partially submerge my face. I need to get over my fear of seeing something swimming underneath me and swim like a swimmer not like an old lady who's afraid to get her perm wet. This is never going to happen.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Old Macdonald had a poor nights sleep

Anna at 3am this morning:
"Mumma Mumma"
Me blearily:
Anna VERY pleased with herself.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bah Humbug 1 - Christmas Spirit 1

OK, so it wasn't all bad, and maybe I was a tad moany (and hungover) at 4am on Christmas morning.

Thanks to some good friends, excellent mimosas with eggs benedict, and yet another bike ride, Christmas wasn't a complete washout. It felt a little more special than a run-of-the-mill weekend, but it didn't feel like Christmas either.

Anna provided some excellent entertainment by really getting in to ripping open her presents. Her top picks were a Fisher Price Amazing Animals train and an old-fashioned jewelry box with a fairy that pirouetted when it opened. I had no idea they still made things like that. Our fave present for her had to be this wonderful book by Werner Holzwarth and Wolf Erlbruch The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business which is absolutely hilarious. I want to buy it for all my friends.

LK got me an Ali G DVD and an Oasis boxed set, which together made me feel a little less like a prematurely middle-aged vanilla hausfrau. Well less of a prematurely middle-aged vanilla hausfrau than I actually am. He did after all also buy me some slippers. Fluffy slippers.

I have a sneaking suspicion that we will also be spending next Christmas in sunny old California, as we're flying to Blighty in May, but I'm going to do my upmost to persuade my family to come out here this time. And you know what? A bizarre sunny Christmas with dolphins and inflatable snowmen wilting on yellowed parched lawns - I'm sure they'll chuffing love it.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Bah Humbug 1 - Christmas Spirit 0

I keep imagining the above being recited a la Saturday afternoon Grandstand football scores reporter. Bah Humbug 1 (voice gently rises) Christmas Spirit 0 (voice gently falls). And in typing it out I realize I had Bah Humbug playing at home. Christmas Spirit were away, they never stood a chance.

I hate Christmas out here, it's just so wrong. To use a delightful Californian expression, it sucks. I don't get to see my family, and it's non-stop blue skies and sunshine (oh, poor me.....). Usually at some point in the run-up to Christmas I'll get that wave of Christmas spirit, however fleeting, that 'Joy to the World' feeling. Not this year.

I tried. We did a family bike ride down to the ocean (non-stop blue skies and sunshine again) and there were dolphins leaping and pirouetting like it was going out of fashion, or maybe as if they were being pursued by a great white. Who knows. It was good fun, but just not Christmas. Where's the pub and the sideways sleet? When we got back home I cracked open the Delia Smith and baked 24 mince pies and a meat and potato pie to try and get in the mood, but came to realize that spending hours baking cold-weather food for the edification of one person is just daft.

I then tried channeling Christmas Spirit with the use of copious amounts of red wine. Not a good idea, which is why I'm sitting here at 4am writing this post. Alcohol is a depressant Wrigs you moron.

Anyway, I realize Christmas Spirit is a deeper thing than Delia Smith (did I just write that?), and that it's still not officially Christmas morning so Christmas Spirit may eke out a late equalizer. But I felt like purging this Bah Humbug feeling. Particularly as I have 21 mince pies left to go.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How do you spell that?

You know the admitting staff at the hospital are a tad overworked when they register a patient's address of 'Lakeshore Drive' as 'Lakers Hore Drive'.

Then again, this is So Cal, and it just might be possible.....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

All we hear is Radio Blah Blah...

I did not get stuck in the horrendous four hour delay north-bound traffic on the 101 this morning. Thank goodness. I got on at Carrillo, where the freeway resembled those 'welcome to LA in the 50s' idealized images of three lanes of pavement with a car or two in the distance. I sailed to work.

I did have chance to listen to the radio though, where the DJs were calling bosses on behalf of employees stuck in the traffic, to try and legitimize their lateness. Santa Barbara is a peculiar bubble in many ways, but geographically so because there's practically only one way in and one way out. If anything happens to either of these escape routes we're cut off from the world. This happened a couple of years ago when heavy rains and mudslides closed the freeways at either end of the town leaving us without fresh food and petrol for days. I called LK at the time from Trader Joes to say 'it's like Russia here, the shelves are completely empty and all I can find is organic milk' and he replied 'yeah Wrigs, it's like Russia when all you can buy is organic milk'. Good point.

Anyway I digress, nobody can afford to live in SB so everyone drives in from the south or the north, as a result, most of Santa Barbara's workforce was sitting in traffic this morning instead of keeping the town running. One of my staff was driving in from Ojai, and I knew she'd be listening to KTYD so as soon as I got to work I called her to see how stuck she was and to thank her for not calling in to the station to have them call me. To cut a very long story short, my phone rang ten minutes later and lo and behold I was on the air.

Everyone in SB listens to this radio station, not least because there is a dearth of radio stations in this town. I've never been live on air before and fortunately I didn't spack out completely. They dutifully told me that due to a big rig accident said employee wasn't going to be in til much much later, and I managed to squeak out that that was the second alleged big-rig-conflagration-closes-the-freeway excuse I'd heard that week and that she was fired. Not too funny in the re-telling but I thought I didn't sound like a complete muppet.

For about two hours after though, my heart was still hammering away like I'd had about fifteen cups of coffee, so apparently I am a muppet. A practically famous muppet.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


LK on turning on BBC America,

"Wrigs come quick, it's one of your shows, I hear the rustle of period costume and some guy trying to explain his despair".

Friday, December 15, 2006


I went spinning today for the first time in ...ahem...and I swear I was not so much sweating as oozing a toxic sludge.

I used to exercise all the time. B.C. (before child) I would play tennis at least three times a week, and run triathlons, and .... stuff. Now, A.D. (Anna Dominates) I'm lucky if I can make it to the gym once a month, and my tennis game involves still receiving the A-team e-mails. That's it.

So, my $30.50 spinning class was brilliant (once a month....). And I really should do it more often. Blah blah blah. But I swear I was sweating neat Bombay Sapphire. It's been so long since I've done any sweating other than going in to a cold financial sweat that I was producing pure radioactive waste. I think kissing me would have been the same as licking as high-school chemistry bench. Lovely.

Must drink more gin and replenish.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I've just read this article on the BBC website;

and it's really got me thinking, because up until about ten minutes ago I was absolutely dead against the idea of circumcision. One of the reasons why I'm very glad Anna was a girl, was that the circumdecision as I call it, never came up.

This is another issue where it's odd living in a culture different to that which you grew up in. As far as I can tell, the only countries which routinely circumcise are the US and Israel. Growing up it wasn't an issue, and I distinctly remember discussions at University about one of the lads who was 'cut' and what did it look like etc. It's less endemic now in the US, and definitely treated like a decision rather than a requirement - unlike in the 70s when a tennis friend of ours managed to duck out of a tour of duty in 'Nam by volunteering to get circ'd - the Army was that keen for all their Johnsons to look the same apparently.

Prior to Anna's birth LK and I discussed what we would do if we had a boy (other than make LK's Dad very very happy), and in the end it was agreed we would leave the decision up to LK, as I deferred to the idea that our boy should look like his father, if that's what Lance decided. He would handle it all though; the idea of inflicting unnecessary pain on a newborn seems barbaric to me. And yes it is unnecessary as even the American Academy of Pediatricians now admits that circumcision is a purely cultural phenomenon without medical benefit. I've always heard pro-circumcision arguments along the lines of 'well young boys never clean them properly, so non-circumcision is more likely to lead to infection etc etc and circumcision is just cleaner' but to my mind, that's like arguing for removing all teeth because young boys never clean those either.

Anyway, that was my perspective, until I read this article which has completely thrown me for a loop. It basically states the rate of HIV infection is more than 50% lower in circumcised males, that the results were so stark that the "US National Institutes of Health decided it would be unethical to continue and stopped the trials early" so that they could encourage the 'control' group of uncircumcised males to get it done.

The reason is not, by the way, that uncircumcised penises are less easy to clean but that the skin protected under the foreskin is more sensitive, more likely to bleed and increase the risk of transmission.

So there you have it, I'm now starting to lean towards the idea of giving male baby K (should it ever happen) the snip - just in case he ever goes to sub-Saharan Africa of course. But now LK is worried that with circumcision we will be desensitizing the pecker of our little pecker and that's a far more unethical decision!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dude, how embarrassing....

Here's just one example of why Anna should count herself lucky she has two so diverse parents. When I read out loud, I read slowly, and point at the pictures, and if I'm feeling truly adventurous I'll attempt a funny voice.

Lance on the other hand, overheard whilst reading Eric Carle's 'Mister Seahorse'

"Mrs. Kurtus laid her eggs and I have stuck them on my head. Now I am taking good care of them until they hatch"
"Woah, that's messed up. Imagine that Anna. Hi I'd like a cheeseburger and a large fries please"
"Dude you have a whole bunch of eggs on your head"
"Yeah it's kinda embarrassing".

No funny voices needed.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

December, Briefly

A grey and overcast day here in SB, so I took Anna to the park for some fresh air and colour. A little botanist in the making I think.

Whereas living in England makes you appreciate the infrequent sunshine, living out here makes you covet the odd day of cloud or rain - so you can pretend that's it's winter for a while and actually use the fireplace, wear a fleece (a light fleece) and think about baked potatoes and chili for tea.

Oops. Spoke too soon, it's sunny again. What a surprise.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Death Warmed Up

The worst thing about having a cold (and yes I have a cold, because yes I have a germ-encrusted toddler) is that by the time you are sneezing with a streaming nose and eyes, and you can plausibly take time off work, you've already been feeling crap for days.

I feel awful. That horrid post-nasal-drip sore throat, fever, exhaustion pre-cursor of a cold thing. I would love to leave work right now and just curl up in bed, but you can't see a sore throat, you can only vaguely hear it, and although I look a bit flushed and feverish it's just not convincing enough. I would definitely look like I was skiving off to go Christmas shopping.

God I feel awful.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Today was a massive day in the K household. A crucial meeting to decide our future.

To cut a very long and involved story short, the City approved our planning proposals, our future, and unknowingly our second child. Now all I have to do is persuade LK that Doodle #2 is a good idea!!

I'm going to confess a completely daft superstition I have been giving too much credence to in the run-up to this huge meeting. And yes I do realise this is the second 'superstitious' post in less than a month, and that does make me a really sad cow, but these have been desperate times people.

I'm almost loathe to admit this, because if there is anyone out here reading this, I'd hate for them to get contaminated by this ridiculous superstition too.

If I see a digital clock that reads '9:11' it means bad luck is on its way (for obvious reasons) and 9:10 means good luck, as it's my birthday. Trust me, it's almost impossible to look at a clock without me seeing 9:11, this has been an incredibly pessimistic year.

When I changed Anna's nappy last night it was 9:11, when I finished putting out fires at work this morning it was 9:11. It's a digital ides of March for me. But when I sat down for the meeting thinking all was lost, (a 2pm meeting meant not a chance of seeing a clock say 9:10) our consultant said 'we need to pull the plans from September, the ones dated 9:10', I just about fell off my chair, and bingo, we got approval.

We're not home free yet, there's the possibility of public appeals, ridiculous months of construction and graft, more loans, and many many more 9:11's on the clock, but cheers everyone, I hope you all get the Christmas present that I just did! More wine please!

Now I just have to convince myself that I haven't tempted fate by confessing these 'signs' to a public forum.

Sad sad cow.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Outside the box...

LK "The reason we're such a team's because you're good at the details, and I'm good at the creative stuff"
Me "Yeah, like you can think outside the box, and I can't"
LK "I can even think outside your box"
Me "...."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thankyou for calling..

Imagine installing a brand new phone system in a doctor's office, where it is absolutely imperative people get through in order to learn who the on-call doc is. Imagine looking after an 18-month old girl for six hours straight in a small cluttered office. Imagine doing both at the same time.

The voicemail message recording took about an hour of that time and went something like this...

'Thankyou for calling blah doctors office, if this is a true medical you need to go potty?'
Please hang up and not in the mouth
and and ask that the on Anna that Sharps container is not a toy.

I should have known that the 'we'll have it up and running for you in about an hour, no worries' approach was too good to be true.

Don't feel bad for me though, feel bad for anyone who had a genuine medical emergency between the hours of 10am and 4pm today that didn't involve the potty.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Stop the press!

I went to the bathroom at work yesterday (this is going to be good, you can just tell....) and I noticed that I'd been wearing my T-shirt inside out for 6 straight hours.

How is that even possible? I'm sure if you're reading this anywhere other than CA or FL you're thinking - I know, how is it possible that someone's only wearing a T-shirt in November! Chuffing weird!. But seriously - 6 straight hours and nobody told me?

Ok, it wasn't that good was it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ocean Swimming

It rained here last night for the first time in months. The first proper rain of the winter, which as a 'Brit' is still gobsmacking to me. No rain for months and months? It's unnatural. My Mum says that people from Manchester have webbed feet due to growing up suffused in drizzle. Not here.

Now for most Santa Barbarans (Sanna Barrbrans) the first rain of the season means turning off your sprinklers and cutting back on your monstrous water bills, or for some it's 'Stormwatch 2006', no joke, rain here is a headline event. For me, it is usually always welcome, except when it's the first rain of the season, because that means the end of ocean swimming.

I ocean swim. By choice. That's one of the things I would never, ever, have envisioned myself doing 15 years ago growing up in the UK, well that and living in the glorious U S of A, but again, that's another story. I ocean swim and I love it.

During the summer a group of us swim at least twice a week; on Sunday mornings which we follow with breakfast, and on Thursday evenings, which we follow with Mai Tais (much better). In fact we consume so many Mai Tais at the Shoreline Beach Cafe that we call ourselves the Mai Tris (as most of us have done a triathlon or two along the way).

The rain means no more ocean swimming for a while because the first proper downpour flushes months of rubbish, pesticides, oil and other chemicals right into the ocean, and for a few weeks at least it will be like swimming in a sewer, which it effectively is.

I love the photo above, because it epitomizes what I love most about the Mai Tris. The camaraderie, the booze, the fact that we're all shapes and sizes, and that we all wear the most thrown-together wetsuits and are generally really crap swimmers. And that's why I'm sad it rained for the first time this winter.
Spice It Up

To all you medical office managers out there silently cruising the web looking for inspiration, or more likely a new job (ha! jaded office managers, what a concept), I have the perfect recipe to get you through the Christmas season.

Literally a recipe. For Spiced Apple Cider. Put a huge vat of it in one corner of the office, mix apple cider with Williams Sonoma mulling spices - crucial 'secret ingredient' and let it sit in the coffee urn and stew. That's all you have to do and the waiting room fills up with this most incredible warm and enticing festive aroma, the patients are lapping it up like it's going out of fashion, and the doctors are chuffed to bits that their office is so popular.

What you should not do however, is send one of your minions out to buy extra Williams Sonoma mulling spices and have her loudly proclaim in front of the doctors 'wow that stuff's expensive'. Because then the yuletide atmosphere will disappear as readily as your Christmas bonus. Trust me.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bugger Off!

I have a new assistant at work, who I personally hired, so I have no-one to blame but myself. In general, she is very sweet and anxious to please, but she has this annoying habit that is driving me bonkers. She trys to mimic me, and it's really, really irritating, especially when she gets it wrong.

I know for certain people it's irristible not to practice your accent when talking to a foreigner, it's like some bizarre nervous tic some have - I'm sure a lot of people don't even realise they're doing it. That's not what's irritating. I'm not talking getting it wrong by doing an appalling accent that swings violently from Ringo Starr to the Queen in one sentence. Often that's more comic than annoying. I've been here for ten years now, and I can't do a passable Californian accent either. That distinctive nasal drawl thing that renders Santa Barbara into 'Sanna Barrbra' particularly when uttered by women. California is an entire State unable to pronouce its t's.

I'm talking getting the basic vocab wrong. Case in point. Bugger! As in, oh bugger it, bugger off, and bugger bugger bugger (a la Hugh Grant on getting stopped on Sunset).

My new employee says 'oh buggers' whenever she gets something wrong, which is pretty frequently considering she's just a fledging after all. She's not the only one either, I used to play tennis with an American lady who would say 'oh buggers' every time I ballsed up a shot (all the time). What are you supposed to do though? Correct someone's attempt at empathetic swearing? It's not even like anyone I know says bugger, it's very southern and posh after all. I'm hoping that with time she'll hear me swearing like a true English girl, (probably not all that much time considering I deal with Medicare on a daily basis) and she will learn to give up the buggers/boogers and start saying bollocks like a proper classy bird.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey Day

Hope everybody had a Happy Turkey Day. Here's a picture of a pie I made, apple cherry cranberry. It tasted much better than it looked. I just couldn't channel enough inner-Martha Stewart to crimp my crust satisfactorily. What's a girl to do.

Here's a picture of Anna looking all gussied up for the occasion. She had a wonderful time, and absolutely loved being dressed up to the nines, which doesn't augur well for the future. I'm going to work hard at keeping my little surfer girl low-key on the girly stuff otherwise her wardrobe is going to start costing us a fortune!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Beautiful Dreamer

LK woke me last night with another of his comedy nightmares. Comedy to me - disturbing and bloodthirsty to him. He's always had them, so he's not that fazed any more, but it took some getting used to for me, to have him cavorting around in the middle of the night trying to thwart evil in the corner of the room.

I used to try and placate him, but that would just make him cross, because I clearly had no idea how dangerous the radioactive spider/sniper/rabid dog in question was, and he would become quite pissed off with how I could be so ignorant of our impending doom.

His suggestion has always been that I should switch on the lights, to snap him out of it, but these days it would also snap Anna out of her hard-to-attain toddler sleep. And yes, she does still sleep with us, which is another post entirely.

Anyway, back to last night. He wakes suddenly, and I hear him talking urgently but incoherently. As my eyes gradually adjust to the gloom I realise that he's reciting something, with his hand suspended over my head, as if he's blessing me, or more worryingly exorcising me. It was really disconcerting.

He sadly has no recollection of it, so I've been spending the entire day wondering if I was blessed or cursed. The jury's still out.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Our Million Dollar Washing Machine.

When I was about 5 months pregnant LK and I went downstairs to talk to our landlords about the possibility of putting a washing machine in our apartment. We had survived for 8 years with no in-house laundry, and while it was always a complete pain going to the laundromat (and later, as we got a bit more flush - dropping it off for fluff and fold) it was always do-able.

We didn't know much about babies, but we knew our laundry situation was going to reach situation critical as soon as Baby K made landfall. Our one-bedroom apartment was already full to bursting with hand-me-down furniture and bikes and surf boards, but we thought that with a little clever reorganisation we could just about fit a tiny European washing machine in the bathroom. Sort of.

We walked back up to our place later that evening after the usual 17 glasses of expensive Pinot (sadly not me), having been told that there was no way a washing machine could go up there. Apparently there was no other alternative than to buy an income property complete with washing machine. Looking back on it it does seem a cunning ruse to get rid of two tenants who were about to bring a screaming addition in to the upstairs apartment. What did happen in the end was that through truly creative (read terrifyingly dodgy) accounting we now 'own' an apartment building, and the first thing we did was install a stackable washer/dryer.

The other night I was lying in bed, and I could hear one of out tenants in the next door apartment discussing laundry-room etiquette. It appeared that someone, someone with a heart as black as Hades, had moved his pile of quarters from the dryer, put his wet clothes to one side, and had gazumped him by washing and drying their own clothes instead. This story was told in a very loud drunken, colourful voice, which I swear, was impossible not to overhear. The interesting thing was, they went through a list of all the other tenants to see who the most likely perp was. Finally after having gone through everyone else, they were left with us, their new landlords.

"What about the K's? Dude do you think it was them?"
"Naw man. They never do laundry. It's fucking WEIRD".

So there you have it. That is what our tenants think of us. Not beyond suspicion, unquestionably dirty, and above all FUCKING WEIRD.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Check 1-2-3

For the longest time now I've been aware of a weird dichotomy with patients who pay us by check.

Those who have the bland, boring bank-issue checks always pay on time and in full. Those who have the personalised, fancy checks always pay their balance in dribs and drabs and are significantly more likely to bounce their checks. The fluffier their checks, the worse their financial situation. If a check has both puppies and flowers, it's sometimes not even worth the time trying to cash it. A check with cherubs on it? Clearly that person is writing the check on a wing and a prayer.

The irony is, we have personalised checks, and ever since we got them our financial situation has started a subtle but irreparable slide. Of course, that may just be because we have Anna now, and children will always render you bankrupt, and I'm sure it's not unrelated to the recent interest rate hikes considering we foolishly have an ARM. But I'm susperstitious. I'm convinced that it's the checks putting some weird economic voodoo on our finances. Every time I write one of those Elvis checks (don't ask) I feel like I'm tempting fate. Flaunting our insolvency. Of course I could just reorder our checks, get some nice safe bland ones, but that's just daft right? I tell you, I'm that close to doing it otherwise we might just be singing Jailhouse Rock with Elvis.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Queen and I

I've just come back from seeing the movie 'The Queen' with two friends, one of whom called whilst we were queuing up to buy tickets to say:
"Am I in the wrong place?"
"Well, that depends where you are"
"I'm at Theatre X"
"Well yes, then you're not here and definitely at the wrong place"
"Shit, fuck, am I really" urgent whispering 'excuse me what movie is this we're watching' "Fuck, Flags of our Fathers. I'm sitting in the wrong movie eating Milk Duds. I'll be right there".

Nice one Jen (who finally did make it, yay)

Anyway, the film was brilliant, as I'm sure more than enough people have already said, Helen Mirren surefire Oscar blah blah blah. The thing is, that time, Diana's death, is a very poignant time for me. Not because I have some special attachment to the 'Queen of Hearts', actually not at all, I personally think she was a bit of a player towards the end; but because Princess Diana's funeral was my wedding day. No joke. LK and I got married in England on the day they buried Princess Di.

So to sit there and watch all the footage of the media frenzy surrounding her death, and the funeral, was to relive that incredibly frenzied week of my life. I doubt many people get the opportunity to do that.

The night she died I was blissfully unaware of the massive hangover that was ready to pounce courtesy of my hen-night the evening before. Far too much champagne and tequila, coupled with Mexican food from North Yorkshire truly is a recipe for disaster. LK wasn't even in the country yet, and he was the first person I spoke to that morning, calling from the States, neither of us aware bizarrely enough of Diana's death even though it was already all over the news. I went back to bed to continue to be violently ill, and in the end my brother was the one who broke the news. he said 'Di and Dodi have been killed' and I thought 'bloody hell, who'd want to kill them', and then instantly, 'bloody hell, they'll have the funeral on Saturday won't they'. Me. Me. Me.

I went back to throwing up for a couple of hours until my Mother In Law called from Heathrow to say she was catching an earlier flight up to Leeds and would be three hours early. I was still so deathly ill I had to have my Mum drive me. What fun memories this film brought back. I don't really remember too much about the Queen being perceived as being cold and heartless, no doubt because I was in the middle of organising my chuffing wedding. I do remember all the piles of flowers everywhere, the collective hysteria, my hairdresser cancelling because my, sorry, our, wedding was going to be the same day as the funeral. I do remember the Archbishop of Canterbury coming on the telly advising couples who were planning to get married on Sept 6th 1997, that even though they had probably thought long and hard about canceling (I was thinking, what? you're joking - people were already flying in) that 'love is stronger than death' and Diana would have wanted the weddings to go ahead. The Minister actually made reference to her funeral in our wedding service, mentioning 'love is stronger than death'. I do remember that.

There's a lot of gloriously inappropriate and wonderful anecdotes about our wedding, which I will save for a later date when I'm starved for better things to blog about. The point of this entry is; whenever you hear anyone complaining about their wedding disasters, the dropped cake, or the late car, or the rain or spilling wine on their dress, just remember this. We got married on a NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hair-Raising Discovery

Ha! Now it's all over, internet. I've worked out how to post photos, so Anna, it you're reading this (unlikely considering you're only one) don't let me take a photo of you without first running a comb through that thatch.

She has some serious morning hair, my girl, which she gets from her Dad. I have about 3 strands of hair all-told, so it will always look limp and defeated, but never like I've received an electric shock whilst going through a wind-tunnel. That is pure Viking hair.

Flu Shots

Flu Shots

Today was the flu clinic for Anna, which I was totally unprepared for. I'd imagined us having an appointment for an injection, not standing in a Stalin-esque line catching flu from every other child under 5 in Santa Barbara. Actually the queue moved fairly fast, and I am English, so part of my genetic core yearns to 'form an orderly line' at any given opportunity. Anna did her part like a trooper, looked wounded and surprised when jabbed, but didn't cry, and then tried to eat the sticker. I failed on several levels. I didn't bring a pen to sign the form, I also didn't bring cash or a checkbook.

Actually I thought I'd brought cash, but apparently I was robbed last night by my husband. I turned him down when he went on a 10pm snack rampage and threatened to eat the Trader Joes pralines that I'd bought for 'company' as they would say back home. He stormed off to the shops in a huff, and must have mugged my purse on the way because I only had $6 on me when the flu lady asked for my copay. They say that crime never pays, and in his case it was true because I had to call him back on his trip out to find surf so he could rush $20 to me so that I didn't miss my spot in the flu-line. Ho ho ho.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Importance of Ice-Cream

I was on hold with HealthNet the other day, because that is my job, dealing with insurance companies. Lucky, lucky me.

Instead of soothing hold music they have a much more proactive approach, and have a recorded spiel full of useful health tips. Along the lines of 'if you're pregnant - CONGRATULATIONS, now eat some folic acid and don’t contact us for health coverage' etc etc. So there I was, busily multi-tasking whilst still on hold and you can imagine my surprise when I heard the automated voice say 'all children need to get their ice-cream at ages 1 and 3'.

Wow, I thought, Anna is one, and whilst she has had a bit of ice cream in her short life, I haven't exactly been religious about it. But wait - could that be right? Mandatory ice cream? This is America people. Who knows what makes this country tick.

Fortunately though, it was HealthNet that I was being put on hold by, so I had a chance to listen through the full 5-minute healthy life pep talk a further 3 times. And yes, without a doubt it IS important for children as young as 1 and 3 to get their ice-cream. Or eyes screened, as I later discerned. What a shame. Poor old Anna.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Laundry by Remote Control

Sometimes you really can get too early a start on the day. For example. Don't try and wash your bedding at 8am, or you might just find 45 minutes later that you've also washed the remote control too.