Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pass The Asparagus Please

I was sitting in my office quietly not minding my own business when I overheard the following exchange in the waiting room:-

Elderly Gentleman - "Absolutely; without fail, he stopped what he was doing and had high tea at four in the afternoon. He still does."
Random Woman - "I've heard that. The whole country does it. It's so civilized and yet so peculiar at the same time.

Meanwhile, I'm just grinding my teeth, because this is just one of the many oft-repeated inaccuracies that I try and refute, but no, people absolutely know it's true. I often wonder how people marry this image of England as a land of bowler hats, the Queen and high tea with the Sex Pistols or even the Spice Girls. Please? Hugh Grant has a lot to answer for I tell you. Upon re-reading, it appears I'm saying 'high tea with the Sex Pistols' which is quite a thought. I wish I knew something about grammar.

Anyway, there I was musing about this and other common misconceptions I hear all the time, like; 'it's absolutely impossible to get ice in your drink in London', or 'I was in the UK for six months and it rained every single day', or 'the Brits hate asparagus' WTF? When it occurred to me that I was ruminating on this, whilst nursing my 4 o'clock cup of tea. No joke.

Someone's in denial here apparently.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sunshine in February

OK, so it wasn't all high drama and intrigue round here this week. There was a bit of this too, which isn't bad for February. I do like to moan though.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Pancake Day!

Or as LK said this morning, "Happy Pancake Guy Fawkes". I keep him around because he's pretty.

Here's some vintage footage of LK flipping pancakes (notice the intense concentration, requiring him to stick his tongue out).

Here's me, 5 months pregnant with Anna, showing off my years of honed pancake-flipping prowess (no tongue but a good amount of lower jaw).

By 'eck, look at the height on that pancake. Almost flirting with the ceiling.

.....and finally, here's today's effort. Not bad if I do say so myself. It would almost make you hungry if you hadn't just eaten ten of the damn things, making me look substantially more pregnant than I was in the above photo.

Those aren't miniature lemons by the way, they're home-grown key limes courtesy of my father-in-law. Because the fake lemon juice I had in my fridge expired Nov '05.

A fact we discovered on pancake number three.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Monday Monday, Can't Trust That Day

LK looks after Anna on Mondays. This photo epitomizes why it is his favourite day of the week, and no doubt Anna's too.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

And The Winner Is.......

No-one, although we did have a couple of 4 out of 5s (itsgrimupnorth and chilly/redfox combo). Better luck next time.

I'm publishing this now before somebody gets it right through sheer bloody-minded persistence (love you guys), and besides I need the Borders gift certificate for book club. I'm that cheap.

So, here you go.......close but no cigar.

1. I have had poetry published. TRUE
I wrote a poem once when I was bored at the end of a German test. I thought it was rubbish. It was rubbish. My friend V. secretly sent it in to the Yorkshire Post where they published it. That says a lot more about the loyalty of my friend V. than it does about the number of poetry submissions to the Yorkshire Post. Yes I do still have a clipping of the poem, and no I'm not going to reproduce it here because I can't remember anything other than the fact that it was about poppies *it's that awful* and the original newspaper clipping is over five thousand miles away in my parents house. Thank God.

Why no-one thought this was false is beyond me.

2. I am a natural blonde, no highlights nothing. TRUE
My hair was white until I was about 14, and now it's more of a yellow blonde, with the addition of wisps of grey courtesy of Anna's formative years and our mortgage-s. I've never done anything other than cut it, and only then about twice a year. I hate going to the hairdressers, which is a good job really as we can't afford it.

3. I break out in a rash drinking tequila. TRUE
It takes a lot of tequila to do this, but I do get a pinprick rash all over my face after about three margaritas which doesn't disappear for a couple of days. It has never stopped me drinking tequila to excess, although I often wish it would.

4. I briefly had a pet lamb, Willie. - FALSE
I can't believe no-one plumped for this one. Honestly people, just because I grew up in North Yorkshire, land of 'All Creatures Great and Small' does not mean that we all have pet sheep.

5. I hold grudges for years. TRUE
Definitely one of my least attractive personality traits, and one that's a constant battle for me. Was it Confucius, and I may be paraphrasing a tad here, who said holding a grudge is only hurtful to the holder? Well, whatever, it's true. I nurse grudges like nobody's business. Do you recall Mr. Darcy's famous line 'my good opinion, once lost, is lost forever?'. Amateur. Part-timer. Of course, if you call me on it, you're dead to me.

6. I have never shoplifted. TRUE
What the chuff everyone - why did you all, including my dear old bro think I was, in his words a 'tea leaf' (thief). This one cracked me up. I can't lie to save my life, I'm about the only 33 year old left that still blushes. I could never shoplift and get away with it. Maybe I should try. You only need to take a look at this list of 'quirky' facts about me to realise I might need to get out a bit more.

7. I have never had a filling. FALSE
I have truly truly awful crap teeth. Fortunately my mouth-o-metal is now all whitened out, but they're still fillings, just posher ones. It's not me I swear. I am convinced that one day they will discover that good dental hygiene is only half the battle and that there is some malicious bacteria that only attacks some people. There is simply no logic to the fact that I have financed my Dentist's porsche while my brother still has all his teeth.

I do love me some candy though. Mmm.

8. I got married at 23. TRUE
It seems bloody young now (I was four days away from being 24, but still whoop-de-doo, 24 isn't exactly a pensioner). I think marriage and emigrating seemed like a better idea than getting a job in The City. Ha bloody ha.

9. I have loudly farted on a first date. TRUE
I couldn't even say fart without blushing for the longest time, and this would have devastated me, except I was drunk. He was my first love, and looking back he probably just thought 'thank Christ this stuck up cow is finally starting to relax'. Oh how we laughed.

10. I can knit but I can't crochet. TRUE
The only thing I could possibly ever use a crochet hook for would be to get a pea out of a toddler's nose.

11. I have a green thumb. FALSE
My Mum did botany at University and can grow grapes and asparagus in the frozen tundra of North Yorkshire. I on the other hand.......

and apparently I'm no great shakes as a photographer either.

12. I have never broken a bone. FALSE

As one of our docs said 'let me put it this way, even our medical records clerk could read this x-ray', or as my friend R. said to the rest of her medical practice upon pulling this up 'holy fucking shit - you gotta see this you guys'.

and yes, I think that is my boob on the left.

13. I have testified in court. TRUE
I was eight months pregnant. The defence attorney didn't even bother cross-examining me. Thank God otherwise I would have lost bladder control for sure. My friend won her case.

14. I was too scared to pump my own gas for years. TRUE
Obviously I'm not the most practically-minded person, but this was a real embarrassment to me for years. I can't believe everyone thought it was was true. You bastards.

15. I lost my virginity at 15. FALSE
Or rather, as my brother put it 'lost my virginity at 15 my arse.'
Actually it should read 'lost my viriginity at 15 by arse.'
No, that's not true either.

16. I graduated from Cambridge. TRUE
This is becoming more laughable by the year. I work in a doctor's office. A couple of years ago an English drug rep popped her head in my office and said 'I hear you went to Cambridge why do you work in a doctor's office?'. She went to Hull. It's a good question though, but ten years on I can say it was a smarter career decision than going to work for Arthur Anderson like the rest of my cohorts; although we are skint.

17. I have an assistant who is
terrified of me. TRUE
Oh my God, terrified of me. It's almost laughable, except she really does shake when I correct her work. Being afraid of me is like being afraid of vanilla pudding (in so many ways), or so I thought, because when I told LK this he said 'really'. Not 'really? no fucking way how hilarious' just 'really / possible'. Maybe I should ease off on the coffee first thing.

18. I have been proposed to on a first date. TRUE
By LK. He made me a ring out of a Budweiser label. It fell off in the shower the next morning. We were both joking (he when he proposed, me when I accepted). Not so funny now though is it.

19. I have over 10lbs of candy in my office. TRUE
I would take a picture, but for once I'm not at work.

It is obscene how much candy gets consumed in a doctors waiting room. Blue and green Jolly Ranchers are always left in the bottom of the bowl, closely followed by Werthers. Riesens are unfeasibly popular considering that most of our patients lack both youth and tooth.

20. I inhale but I don't swallow. TRUE
No comment.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

If you thought you were lazy....

Item #5 of this list made me laugh out loud, which is never a good thing if you're at your desk pretending to work accounts.

I wonder if it's true that running your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes in the sink? I bloody hope so. Our water bill is nearly $400 a month because of the apartments. I cringe every time I hear next door start the shower (we can hear the pipes). I feel like the father of a teenage lad when I say to LK - 'I mean seriously, who takes a thirty minute shower? What are they doing in there?'.

'Shagging?' he answers hopefully.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Luck of the English

I bought a lottery ticket last Friday, and no, I'm not writing this on my way to the Seychelles. I was planning to keep Mum about my win anyway, just buy a few nice things, set the family up with some play money and breath a huge financial sigh of relief.

What a shocker though, it didn't pan out.

I've never got more than one number out of six right anyway, so why do I do it? Why? Because it's almost worth it isn't it? That $3 (me, LK & Anna) for a few hours of what if. That kind of hope defies rational thought, you *know* it's never going to happen, but bloody hell, you've already spent that money a thousand times in your head haven't you.

It should be obvious to me that I'm not going to win, and not just because I did statistics at A-level and at College. If that doesn't teach you, nothing else will. No, the real reason I will never win the lottery is because I'm not a lucky person. Oh, I believe in that count-your-blessings kind of luck, the 'you've got your health' sort of thing, work hard and make your own luck. Of course I do. As they say in tennis, the more you practice the luckier you get, and I do honestly consider some of the things that have happened to me to be on the jammy side. But lucky? No.

I won a bottle of gin once in a raffle. I was ten.

My brother on the other hand is Mr. Four Leaf Clover. We once went to a raffle at his football club, and his name was pulled so many times they had to start giving the prizes to someone else. Or maybe that's just how I remember it.

Was there a point to this? I think so, although my brain is as usual addled by wine. I think the point is that although I didn't win *again* I knew what I'd do with the money if I had it, and that made me remember a very different life.

I think the most depressed I've ever been, (excluding opening our mortgage bills....) was when I'd just graduated from College, and I had no clue what to do in my life because, I was a fucking Geography graduate which is the epitome of directionless apathy. Anyway, in those days I was honestly at the point where I thought, if I won the lottery, what the fuck would I do? I had no career, no bloke, no-one to travel the world with, no goals, no ambitions, everyone I knew was starting pretentious jobs in 'The City', and I felt like I'd just run out of runway. I would have maybe splashed out on some new boots at Hobbs, but as for real ideas - nothing. There can be very little as pathetic or depressing as someone who can't think of what to do with a lottery windfall, but then maybe I was just a tad self-involved and introverted. Anyway, just a few weeks later I took a chance and moved thousands of miles to a country where I knew literally no-one, and now look. Or rather, now luck. It just goes to show. Our friend and ex-landlord likes to say it's always darkest before the dawn, (which I repeat as a mantra every time I check the mail), but it's true. Sometimes it takes not winning the lottery to make you realise, as it did me today, that things could be a lot worse.

I do need a new fucking car though.


As for the competition - there've been some interesting guesses, and some abuse - thanks, itsgrimupnorth whoever you may be, and Redfox/Turtle Rocket, number 20? please, I'm ashamed of you.

I think I'm going to give it one more week. If you're feeling lucky of course.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Not So Mellow Lellow

Just to prove it's neither nature nor nurture, Anna is turning in to a positive wunderkind and is having what I believe is called a 'language explosion'. One of her favourite pastimes at present is to read license plates, and she's pretty good at it too, except whenever she sees the letter 'A' she says 'Anna'. Stupid girl.

She's also having a stab at colours, except she describes everything as being 'lellow'. We don't know what's going on here. Yellow has got to be one of the hardest colours for a baby to pronounce, being as how it's packed with 'l's, yet it's the one she's got down to a science. What about red or blue? Surely those are easier to say? Aquamarine isn't that much more of a stretch. Yet if I ask her if she wants to put her pyjamas on she says 'lellow?', and she always points out sunflowers, tennis balls (of which there are many in our household) and squash and then says 'lellow'. Cleary a genius right? We could certainly have people fooled, but unfortunately she describes everything that is colourful as 'lellow.

A tomato? Lellow.

Her tasteful lime green clogs? Lellow.

I've been trying to work out what her fascination is. She also says 'purple' and I suppose she is managing to channel some of her Dad's Laker's fervour by opting for those two colours. I had a different thought though. I mentioned to LK that I been thinking about it, and I'd come to the conclusion that yellow must be her favourite colour because she has a really cheery disposition and is like sunshine to me. At which point he went 'urrghhh' whilst rolling his eyes like he'd just been hit by a particularly bad waft of patchouli. Maybe not then.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ronny Turiaf v. Aladdin's Genie

Is it just me, or do these two look exactly alike? - until he picks out that fro of course.

I think I need to stop drinking so much during Lakers games.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Twenty Things You May Not Know About Me And Probably Couldn't Care Less Anyway:

It's Competition Time!! Is anyone else stuck for 'busy work' to while away their time on a work-day afternoon? Does anyone else need to look like they're typing furiously? Well, I am and I do, so here's a little quiz, with an honest to goodness prize for the winner, something like a Borders gift certificate of unspecified worth (*wow*), whatever my cunning mind thinks is appropriate in about a month's time. If and only if you are the first to correctly guess which five statements are in fact a load of bollocks, only one guess per person, form an orderly queue. Competition not open to LK, but it would be interesting to see if he knew.

1. I have had poetry published.
2. I am a natural blonde, no highlights nothing.
3. I break out in a rash drinking tequila.
4. I briefly had a pet lamb, Willie.
5. I hold grudges for years.
6. I have never shoplifted.
7. I have never had a filling.
8. I got married at 23.
9. I have loudly farted on a first date.
10. I can knit but I can't crochet.
11. I have a green thumb.
12. I have never broken a bone.
13. I have testified in court.
14. I was too scared to pump my own gas for years.
15. I lost my virginity at 15.
16. I graduated from Cambridge.
17. I have an assistant who is terrified of me.
18. I have been proposed to on a first date.
19. I have over 10lbs of candy in my office
20. I inhale but I don't swallow.

Apparently yes I am that bored and boring.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

So Proud

Anna swore for the first time yesterday.

She's at that age where she repeats the last word of everything you utter, so you can have a lot of fun with her, making her say 'ho' and 'be-otch'. I did not intend for her to say 'fuck' but what can I say, I was in the Trader Joe's parking lot and if that doesn't make you swear then nothing will. Ever.

There are three Trader Joe's in Santa Barbara (technically two in SB, one in Goleta) and each one is a parking travesty. One Christmas Eve I was stuck in the Milpas TJ's for an aeon because my parking space was too valuable for someone to actually back-up and let me out. Fascinating no? Anyway, back to yesterday, I was already a tad stressed and in need of a large glass of wine because Anna now has the wingspan of a small pterodactyl and loves to throw things from the shelves in to the trolley or on the floor. Maybe that's how I ended up with that can of lychees.

I was turboing round the shelves trying to get the chuff out of there, buying minced ginger instead of minced garlic by mistake (mmmm that lasagne's going to taste gooood tonight - lasagne Thai style). So there I am trying to reverse out of the parking lot, and I didn't even realise I'd been swearing until Anna is parroting 'chuck' 'chuck' all the home. Not a bad way to start swearing really, especially as in the North of England (where my soul still resides) 'chuck' is a term of endearment. 'Ay up chuck' means 'hello love'.

Then my friend M. hinted at another more sinister possibility. What if Anna wasn't saying fuck? What if she truly was swearing and was repeating the last word of the scourge of every dinner party in SB - two buck chuck? Charles Shaw to those not in the know, a Trader Joes blended red wine that sells for $2 a bottle, hence the name two buck chuck. What if Anna was yearning for cheap booze? Not that implausible given her albeit brief upbringing in the K household.

I'll keep you posted.