Archive for the 'Life, the Universe and Everything' Category


Everywhere I turn in my life, things are broken.  Not insignificant things like the zip on a little-used pair of jeans: giant ball-ache things.  Specifically, in the fifteen weeks since Sprout was born, these things:

  • At four days: the National Grid arrived outside our house to replace metal pipes with plastic as part of a regional improvement programme.  This required digging up our driveway, turning off our gas supply for two days and fucking about under my kitchen floor fiddling with my gas meter; our heating is gas-powered, they have statutory authority blah blah blah and although they are supposed to give five working days’ notice they didn’t.  Do they care that you have a warmth-dependent newborn or that it’s December?  Of course not.
  • At seven weeks: the central heating broke down, and shortly thereafter our only fan-heater blew a fuse.  I found myself flailing around the house trying to think of heat-generating appliances from which I could purloin a 13A fuse to get our only source of heat working again.  I did it, but it was not easy with a wailing baby in tow.  Lesson learned: always store a variety of fuses in an easy-to-reach location.
  • At eight weeks: the car broke down when we were in the town centre and an hour away from company arriving.  The car is a complicated electronic hybrid thingy and once its variety of warning! imminent death! flashing lights start illuminating and the engine doesn’t start, you have no choice but to call the vehicle rescue service.  You’re going nowhere without their help.
  • At ten weeks: while we were in The Province for the weekend, our central heating leaked into the kitchen and dining room ceiling.  Only the dining room ceiling actually fell down, but water damage ruined the carpet, walls, curtains, and (typical) led to a massive restoration bill for the most expensive item we own – my piano.  I had to move to my parents’ place for a week while the repair work was completed.  I will forever be grateful that I was not standing under the ceiling with Sprout when it fell.  I am not grateful to the insurance company, which required a different assessor for each category of damaged item to visit at a time of their choosing.  We’re still arguing about the value of our carpet.

After that heartbreaking incident, I looked at K-man with tears in my eyes and wondered aloud what else could possibly break in our house.  I should not have tempted fate: at thirteen weeks, the toilet broke.  Gone are the days of a simple ballcock arrangement that can be fixed with a piece of coat hanger – now one must have full and half flush options and they come complete with specific-to-your-toilet part numbers and internet orders and three day delivery times.

So, all that might explain why I haven’t had as much time to write as I hoped.  I’ve been practising positive thinking, so I can confidently say that I’ll have more hours at my disposal from here on out.  Unless this computer breaks down.  In which case you will find me under the desk curled in a ball, sobbing.

Rites of Parenthood


Wikimedia Commons, credit Jon Sullivan

It seems this parenting lark comes complete with several rites of passage, inexperience of which leaves you outside the inner circle of the knowing parental head-nodders.   Several of these rites are in the category ‘poo’, and I had personally cleansed Sprout of several episodes each requiring a two-layer costume change.  Embarrassingly, the first one happened at a friend’s house in the relatively early stages when I had even less idea what I am doing. However, I had been avoiding second on the list in the category ‘poo’.  That is, until yesterday.

Sprout had not, as medical professionals so delicately describe it, moved his bowels for nearly three days.  I suspected his digestion had gone awry and practically begged him to take a shit, if only to save us both from his third trip to the doctor.  Though I did fear the what might happen when the floodgates opened.  As I sat listening intently during a paediatric first aid course, a faint waft floated up to my nostrils.  There were other babies in the room so I couldn’t be sure, but I hoped my offspring had followed my instruction.  After class, I rushed home to change him and on our arrival he was, unusually, still awake and looking pleased: my hopes rose further.  Nappy-removal unveiled a smallish turd.  No constipation, no trip to the doctor.  Feeling smug, I changed him with liberal praise.  Later, he was crying for sleep and needed another change so I proceeded upstairs thinking I could look forward to a blissful hour of not having to tend to any of his needs.

How is it possible for babies to curl out a turd that’s over half the length of their entire body?  Sprout filled one nappy and then, after a quick-draw nappy-shuffle, a second.  Like pride before a fall, my smugness soared to new heights. I left the nappy open and, hoping to release all his discomfort-inducing waste products in one session, executed the wind-relieving yoga pose the teacher sold us.

Seconds later Sprout released his sphincter again, only this time there was no containing the carnage.  My jeans, top, and the surrounding carpet area were comprehensively covered in diarrhoea.  I should be grateful for small mercies: the bum-trajectory was horizontal rather than arcing up to face height.  Nevertheless, I took an involuntary leap backwards and yelled out, which made him cry.  We both looked like we’d taken a tumble into the bog of eternal stench.  I cleaned him up, put him in his cot, and then – him still screaming – went to the bathroom and tried not to cry over the possible ruination of my favourite, most expensive, jeans.

Once I had recovered myself sufficiently to be an effective parent again (it is remarkable how little time this takes when one has a needy bundle of scream) and changed my own clothes, I calmed him down and then we laughed at each other for several minutes before calling K-man for advice on how to remove baby-shit stains from various fabrics.  And it was alright again.

Yet Another Birth Story


A card-carrying hippie, I was bursting with ideas about how Sprout’s birth would be.   I read the unfortunately-named Grantley Dick-Read’s work on why most women find childbirth excruciating, and how it need not be so. I bought the hypno-birthing books.  I practiced deep breathing, and diligently attended pregnancy yoga.  I went to the antenatal classes that pushed the drug-free birth agenda, one into which I wholeheartedly bought.  I travelled from seeing childbirth as a necessary evil, to actively looking forward to the spiritual experience it would be.  I was encouraged to write detailed birth ‘preferences’; mine could be summarised as get the fuck away from me unless there’s a medical necessity.  I saw unicorns and rainbows, and heard angels’ voices float gently from undulating cloudscapes.

Three days before Sprout’s ‘due’ date I had a few stomach grumbles during the night, which I attributed to K-man’s poor-quality cooking.  At precisely 5.30am the following morning, a gush of fluid woke me up and I found myself reaching in an undignified manner for the incontinence pads and the telephone.  Joy of joys, the hospital voice said, I needed to be ‘assessed’.  Hospital is a 20 minute drive away in clear traffic.

There is little more frustrating than knowing that you’re about to make a pointless drive through rush hour traffic only to be sent away again.  Apparently, I needed to sit in a waiting room for an eternity to have my incontinence pad examined and it confirmed that my waters had indeed broken.  Then, I needed to wait again for a woman who looked like she finished school last week to carry out an internal examination and proclaim that I would need to go home and come back later.

At about midday I commenced my unicorn-hunting using soothing music, candles, and dimmed lights.  I started using the TENS machine.  Things proceeded nicely until about 6pm, when I met the Go To Hospital criteria of three contractions in ten minutes.  At hospital I went to triage to wait for a second eternity.  Triage was the tenth circle of hell: heated to nuclear temperatures and full of people with non-labour-related baby fears.  The TV was tuned to one of those competition shows where the contestants can’t sing and the judges reach for superlatives strong enough to disguise their disgust.  Eventually, I was examined in a be-curtained area and told I had made minimal progress but couldn’t leave before seeing the registrar.  I should return to triage for a third eternity.  Forty minutes later I succumbed to rage and went outside to find out why the hell I wasn’t being seen.  After all, as far as I knew I was the only person in triage in actual labour, and I was sick of being stared at.

The registrar revealed himself to be an arrogant nonchalant tool whose evening mission was to give himself something to do by getting me to consent to an immediate hormone drip to ‘speed things up’.  Ha!  I thought.  I’ve read the books and been to the classes.  I know what that drip does and I want no part of it.  I lobbied to go to the midwife unit, to no avail.  My choices were to stay in hospital and accept the drip in the consultant’s unit or to go home.  He also kept telling me I wasn’t in labour according to the medical definition, and I kept sitting on my hands so I wouldn’t punch him. I oscillated, until the registrar uttered the fateful words ‘You can leave if you want, but you won’t make it through the night with the pain.’

Well.  Well.  I politely told him he could shove his opinions about my fortitude up his backside, and left on the condition that I would reappear early the following morning to have the drip.  Doctors get twitchy when patients want to colour outside the guidelines, and by morning I would be doing so and my infection risk would double from infinitesimal to extremely unlikely.

And thus began the longest night I’ve ever experienced.  Neither K-man or I could sleep, and I had a shower at 3am.  The warm water was revolutionary pain relief and so I made Stupid Decision Number One: why not have a bath!  The bath was so blissful that I saw a unicorn, and my contractions virtually stopped.  A fourth eternity later, we went back to the hospital.

By this time I was 3cm dilated so now suddenly it was my ‘choice‘ whether to have the drip.  Hello? Everything that happens to me is my choice, unless you wish to be prosecuted for assaulting me.  Obviously, I pointed out, I didn’t want the drip in the first place so if I could just stay here and quietly birth my baby in my own time that would be dandy.  Can’t you see the rainbow?

A fifth eternity later I was deemed to have made ‘inadequate progress’ despite some fairly serious pain – with which I coped using paracetamol, gas and air and the TENS cranked up to 11 – and a few splurts of blood.  I was ‘strongly advised’ to consent to the drip and finally, beaten down, I agreed.

Did I want the epidural?  The midwife asked.  Hell no, I said, because I am stubborn as a mule and was confident I could butch it out.  After all, how much worse could it get?

Somewhere in the ether, a unicorn snorted derisively in my direction and the words Stupid Decision Number Two were written in rainbow colours.

I was attached to the hormone drip, and every physiological monitor known to medical science.  There followed six hours of progressively worse agony, a quite spectacular vomiting episode, my causing a chair to look like it had been a prop in a Quentin Tarantino film, and doctors determining there was a problem with Sprout’s heart rate.  It was dropping too far and not recovering quickly enough.  They thought he was reacting to increases in the hormone drip rate so they turned it off and progress stalled.  Anxiety tweaked at the edges of my consciousness.

A few hours later, doctors were satisfied the problem was not the drip, and it was recommenced.  This was when all hell broke loose.

I was contracting every minute and a half, sobbing, and telling K-man I thought I might die when I finally accepted that I needed the epidural.  Blinded by feelings of massive failure, I mentally hurled the hypno-birthing books and the antenatal teacher against a wall.

The poor anaesthetist.  By this time, he had approximately 30 seconds to get the needle into my spine without paralysing me, a flailing tear-stained emotional wreck.  Admirably, when I screamed that I needed to move NOW! just as he was about to pierce my skin he merely explained that it was very important that I stay completely still, and was incredibly quick.  That’s the first moment I flash back to.  He returned later to check on me, and I could have kissed him.  The epidural was both magical and extremely freaky.

During my subsequent sleepy state, Sprout’s heart rate continued to cause concern.  Every so often I would wake up and enquire whether the baby was OK and I was still contracting.  At one point, there was significant midwifery debate about what to do because the heart rate was not OK and the chief midwife leaned into my ear and whispered to me not to worry but she was going to press a button and in ten seconds there would be 15 people in the room.

Yeah, whatever, I thought, and before my brain could articulate anything further I heard the sound of people pelting down the corridor. The door flew open, and someone jammed an oxygen mask over my face asking me to breathe deeply.  Panic jolted through me: either Sprout or I was in serious trouble, and neither eventuality was acceptable.  That’s the second moment I flash back to.

The crash team quickly realised they were superfluous to requirements: the midwife, frustrated that her requests for a doctor were not being heeded, had done the one thing that guaranteed attendance.  I think K-man’s blood pressure is still recovering.

Assorted medical procedures later (the in utero foetal blood sample being particularly memorable) it was determined that Sprout’s oxygen levels were OK and we could all relax.  Well, except for me.  The obstetrician arrived, and I cannot say enough good things about her.  She was calm, reassuring, authoritative, gentle, and expert.  She explained that it was now urgent that Sprout be removed from me, and somehow did it without causing alarm (though it probably helps if your patient is exhausted and past caring about her own bodily integrity).  I may as well have been holding a sign saying do what you like as long as it’s over soon.

I pushed.  The attendants exclaimed that I was good at pushing.  Hell, I said, nobody wants this kid out of me faster than I do.  A midwife explained that I would be unable to have the natural third stage of labour I preferred.  Look at me, I said, I gave up on my preferences hours ago.  I’m delightful in a stressful situation.

A total of 47 hours, one hormone drip, one epidural, an episiotomy and some gentle forceps action later Sprout was eased reluctantly into the world.  Unicorns and rainbows it was not, and he had the cord wrapped around his neck.  7lb13oz of completely fine, healthy screaming baby entered our world.

I will never be the same again, but it was a small price to pay.




It snowed last week, which is no longer a rare event in this country.  Every year for the last four there has been one decent dump of gentle-sounding white stuff, followed by squeals of indignation as transportation melts down, and an already hellacious one-hour commute becomes a gamble where the prize is three hours trapped in a dark train carriage.  I worked at home for two of the days, which, because I work with highly sensitive information necessitated two senior management approvals, one form-completion, one risk assessment, one secure laptop, a five-meter cable (no WiFi, because that would be a risk) and a bundle of system crashes.

The snow has melted now, and with it Snow Dog.  We created Snow Dog because K-man is desperate for a four-legged friend, but we’re out of the house 50 hours a week at work and it’s just not feasible or fair.  So, we briefly created our own. He doesn’t talk back, or fetch slippers, but he also doesn’t crap on the lawn.  I did consider getting a pile of mud and making an accompanying turd, but this is a Nice Neighbourhood so I restrained myself.

In New Zealand, we built my favourite ever snow-man:





I have been hibernating from blogging, because life is busy and shit-storms a-brew constantly.  It’s disappointing because there is plenty of source material, but I just can’t find the words.  I would (apparently) rather waste countless hours playing Candy Crush and then accidentally deleting my progress.  What with everything that’s been going on around here lately, that was a disaster blown out of all proportion in my tiny mind.

Snow sculpture – or perhaps art in general – is remarkably therapeutic.  Without even really knowing how, I’m reaching some conclusions about myself, and none of them are very comfortable because all of them seem to necessitate radical amendments to my choices about how I spend my time in this merry-go-round.  I can’t get a particular quotation out of my head.

Instead of wondering where your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.

– Seth Godin

Twenty What Now?

sinking ship

Happy new year to you!

This blog has been a flabby and floundering fillet for too long.  My excuses range from the fact that there is a permanent dull ache in my buttocks from the kicking my full time job regularly administers, right through to the outlandish amount of time I spend procrastinating through the medium of the internet.  There’s also the fact that every time I have logged in to WordPress in the last few months I have been confronted with changes that I would need to learn about before I could compose a new post.  It’s like clawing through fog.

The last year has been my best year in a while, mostly.  The one elephant in the room holds a sign in his trunk which reads ‘Oh Holy Fuck’, but the sign does not belong to me.  Once I figure out my own place in the giant familial shit-storm I will write about it from that angle.

Tradition dictates that I must arrive at some New Year Recommendations.  The important thing about recommendations rather than resolutions is that they are just that: recommendations.  I would like to change my life in the following ways, but I give myself no guarantees as to the quality of the outcomes I can achieve, though I will give it my best shot.  This low-fi approach to life means less beating myself up.  So:

  1. No more bloody smoking. I am serious this time. Too many are the occasions where I have been whammed upside the head by self-hatred the morning after a night out, because my mouth feels like it’s been coated in the contents of the hoover bag.  Too many health-giving running sessions end in my wheezing.  I’ll have to re-read that Allen Carr book (the big thick one with too many pages and too small a font) and this time I am not giving it away thinking I’ve cured myself. I will try not to remember that Allen Carr died of lung cancer.  It is not too late for me. 
  2. [Insert Art Here].  For the last year, it has struck me how little art there is in my life.  I’m quite musical. I love to read.  I like writing.  The internet vortex sucketh hard, and now I barely manage to do anything but surf the web or watch TV in my spare time (far be it from me to suggest that TV cannot be art, but recall that I am partial to the KarKrashians and the only creativity involved in those women is plastic surgery). I believe my life would be more fulfilling if I got up off my backside occasionally and challenged myself.  I will read more, and log my thoughts on what I’ve read on this blog. I will write more, which will also appear on this blog. I will try to tighten up my writing and prevent egregious bouts of fingertip-diarhhea. I will learn how to take decent photographs (aided by my brand new Christmas present of a Nikon J1; long have I hankered after a Nikon camera, for which I blame Simon and Garfunkel).
  3. More running.  My  mileage these days is woeful. I have new socks, new full-length running tights, a borrowed buff for cold weather ear-protection, and an expanding arse. Each month I will increase my total mileage, and I will enter one local distance race and train for it.  If I am feeling under-motivated, I will watch Mo Farah win gold in the 10,000m in London. And if I’m still feeling too old and tired, I’ll watch him take the 5,000m too.

I think that’s quite enough for one year. I hope 2013 brings you your heart’s desires.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It’s been a dreadful summer.  Rain in biblical proportions, and temperatures that made it into the 20s twice.  The wettest summer and the coldest August day on record (i.e. for about the last 100 years).

What this means for the peaks and troughs that graph my affection for the suburbs is this: one of the principle peaks of living here is nugatory.

You see, I have agrarian pretensions.  I’ve read the magazines – no self-respecting suburban household is without a vegetable patch these days.  And it’s so! easy! 

This is my second year growing my own food.  Let’s review.

Potatoes:  Chock full of confidence following last year’s harvest, I decided upon three containers, rather than two rows in a raised bed.  I grew plenty of lush foliage, but hardly any potatoes, and half the harvest was mouldy. We ended up with enough for one meal each.  Next year, I will use topsoil rather than pure compost, as I suspect that there was too much nitrogen in the soil for decent cropping.  I will hope for less rain.

Courgette: Last year, Bob the courgette produced so many, and for so long, that we didn’t know what to do with them.  We grilled them with every meal.  I baked courgette bread.  All visitors who showed even an eyebrow-raise-worth of interest went home with a bagful.  This year, not so much.  Bertha had a very slow start.  She was nearly beaten to death by a weather-bomb of unexpected high winds and heavy rain the weekend I planted her.  Lack of light caused her to lean desperately over to one side in search of sunbeams.  Eventually, she produced a rash of courgettes, but she has already slowed down and we haven’t cropped any for over a week.

Tomatoes: The less said about these the better, really.  I’ve had about fifteen microscopic ripe tomatoes, and I’m going to be bequeathing leftover green tomato chutney to my children’s children.

Spring Onions: I cannot comprehend the reproductive oddities of spring onions.  I bought some young plants two years ago.  I planted them, I applied my usual hands-off approach to gardening, and every so often when I needed one I would pull it up. Mainly they existed as a barrier to discourage carrot-fly from chomping my carrot supply.  In about March, I observed that they magically survived several frosts and a ton of snow and what’s more: each one had split into a collection of teeny tiny onions, like when cells divide.  I carefully dug them up, binned half of them, and separated each little new onion.  I planted them in rows in between where I would eventually want my carrots to grow.  They flourished.  In May they flowered, I failed to collect seed, and I thought that would be that.  Not so: the odd cell-division thing has started again (albeit months earlier than last year).  You cannot kill these things.  Along with cockroaches and George Galloway, they will be all that’s left after WW3.

Carrots: Fewer carrot fly than last year, but I imagine tiny insects find it a bit difficult to thrive when they are deluged every week.  Sadly, a generous description of my carrots would be stunted.  They are so small and insignificant that I forgot to photograph them.

Salad leaves: Carrot fly might find it difficult when flooded out, but slugs have a party.  I planted my leaves – never having had a problem with slugs before – and left them to it.  Overnight, the young shoots disappeared.  It kept happening, and I kept feeling beaten.  Then, a toad moved in and suddenly I had lettuce.  I had it for all of two days before a freak hot spell caused the whole lot to bolt.

So, those are the crops with which I now have a couple of years experience.  This year, before I knew that the Ark might be a sensible thing to build, I opted to diversify slightly.  By popular demand, I attempted strawberries.

Strawberries: It was quite a bit of effort.  I had to carefully plant and nurture them.  I constructed a wire cage to keep the birds off the fruit.  I visited the pet shop and fended off a massive allergic reaction to procure the straw required.  Every week I trimmed off long shoots trying to grow more strawberries where I didn’t want them.  And what did I get for all this effort?  Five strawberries.  Count them.  FIVE.  Actually, I got two and a half, since I had to share them with K-man.  And while they did taste very nice, each of those strawberries cost a couple of quid.  Animals got some of them (troublesome burrowing birds and squirrels, and the aforementioned slugs of doom), and mould got the rest.  My cage was virtually pointless. Oh, they look all healthy now the fruit season is over:


Beans: After a glacial start and a bean-germination rate of one in five, I had some plants.  The beans have done phenomenally, and take this year’s Courgette Prize of please lard no more.  Three plants actually grew, so next near I will plant three and we’ll see what happens.  I learned this year to germinate them inside and grow them until they are long enough to be tied up.  I wasted weeks of growing time hoping they would germinate from being sown straight into the soil.  They started cropping about a month ago and are still going strong.


Peas: these were also a success, but they’re done now and I forgot to take photos when they were verdant.  We had several meals with fresh peas and they were delicious.  They are a definite for next year.

Other plans for next year include leeks, which are apparently ridiculously easy.  I would dearly love to grow sweetcorn and I will try, but success will depend on the weather being considerably more clement.  Having witnessed sweetcorn in the USA for 2¢ an ear, I cannot bring myself to purchase it in this country where it retails at 50p an ear during the five-minute season.  You can get it plastic-wrapped and flown thousands of miles at a price marginally cheaper than dinner for two at a decent restaurant but you know how I feel about that.  If, if I could grow it myself I would be deliriously happy.  I also plan more fruit.  Fewer tomato plants and instead a blueberry bush in a container.

Even with the variety of miserable failures, I am not discouraged in the long-term.  There are few things more satisfying – and more convenient or environmentally friendly – than growing your own organic food.

Seven Things

There I was, quietly chugging a glass of sarsaparilla, when a thought skewered my brain.

I have a blog.

I have not updated the blog for some considerable time.  Also, in old news from the Department of Wonders Never Cease, a kind reader gave me an award for my tiny corner of the internet.  The award looks like this:

Those two facts rolled themselves around in my head for a moment before the Action! Stations! part of my brain kicked in.

It’s incredibly flattering to be recognised for my intermittent navel-gazing, of course.  It goes without saying that I should not have taken weeks to respond by carrying out the instructions.  It also goes without saying that I am a firm believer that rules are made to be bent to my will, so I’m participating with one small modification that I will get to shortly.

What am I meant to do?

1.  Display the award certificate on my website.  Done.

2.  Announce your win with a post and include a link to whoever presented your award.  Done.  My award was presented by the wonderful Ashley, who blogs at Thirsty Babies about being the mother of three kids, race, social justice, religiosity, and other big picture stuff.  Many, many times reading Ashley’s blog and tweets have I wondered whether we are separate reincarnations of the same spiritual entity.  Ashley is fortunate enough to live in the city of my parents’ upbringing, and one of these days I will get around to visiting my remaining family who live there, and maybe I’ll bump into Ashley at a pre-arranged space and time.  It’s not impossible, especially now I have a full time wage and more annual leave than I know what to do with.

3.   Present seven awards to deserving bloggers.  Create a post linking to them, and drop them a comment to tip them off.  This is my modification.  The truth is that I don’t read many blogs.  Most of the blogs I used to read avidly have pulled up the drawbridge to their castle (Granny Gets A Vibrator, Blogapotamus, As The Tumor Turns).  I love and am inspired by some of the bigger hitters, unconcerned with awards (Margaret and Helen, I Blame the Patriarchy, I Am Bossy).  I love reading, but giving an award to these folks just seems, well, weird.  So, I can’t come up with seven blogs, but some is better than none:

  • Mrs G at Derfwad Manor. I do actually count Mrs G as a big hitter, but we go back, internet-wise, so I’m comfortable.  She is one of the most amazing and inspiring individuals I have ever encountered.  Most of you probably know her already, but in case not, go check her out.  She just completed a road trip around the USA meeting bloggers she has drawn together through her writing.  The word ‘community’ is etched on Mrs G’s heart.
  • Jen on the Edge: Jen blogs about anything and everything, but what initially tuned me in to her blog was her running.  Jen is on an incredible journey to run and eat herself healthy, and she is reaping the many benefits.  She is currently in my Third Spiritual Home, New Zealand.  I’m profoundly jealous.  Head on over and read about the adventures of a family in a camper van!
  • Juggling Jenn: I’ve been a reader of Jenn’s for years.  Recently, I have found her blog particularly inspiring as she has chronicled how she and her family have dealt with her daughter’s eating disorder.  It is compelling and uplifting stuff and through it all, Jenn has remained absolutely thoughtful and full of grace.
  • If I could give the award back to Ashley, I would, but I don’t think that’s permitted.

4.  Post seven interesting facts about myself.  

  • Recently, I battled some fairly unpleasant feelings that had drawn swords in my head.  Ultimately I concluded that if I died tomorrow, I would die happy.  Unless someone killed me.  Then I’d die angry.  I’m going to write about my feeling of fulfilment some other time.  It’s not as morbid as it sounds.
  • I am beyond proud of my family.  My extensive research leads me to believe this is unusual.  My family is the personification of living by your principles.  My parents left the country of their birth rather than have my father fight in a war he didn’t believe in.  If you think that’s cowardly, you have no idea what you’re talking about.  My uncle and aunt were very active in the Chicago civil rights movement of the 1960s, and were rewarded with death threats from nut cases.  Did they stop?  Did they hell.  They were placed on a CIA watch-list.  Did they stop?  Did they hell.  I could bore on at length about how privileged I feel to even speak to these people, let alone actually be related to them.
  • I am 5 feet and 3 inches tall
  • I can ride a horse.  I mean properly ride it, not just sit on it and hope for the best.
  • As a child I lived for a while on what could best be described as a communal hippie living settlement, with a side helping of religion.
  • My eyes make people who are paying close attention think I have Chinese heritage somewhere way back in the dawn of my ancestry.  I don’t: my eyes are almond-shaped because my maternal great-grandmother was Finnish and that eye-shape is a common trait of Northern Europeans (you know Bjork?  My eyes look like hers). The appearance of my eyes used to bother me as a child (it was far more pronounced then) but now I like it.
  • I watch a great deal of Trash Television.  Keeping Up With the KarKrashians, Dawg the Bounty Hunter, you name it, I will sink that low.

Periodically I promise myself I will write more on this blog.  I have a lot to say, and I should start saying it.  I’m going to commit to writing here once a week.   Next week: travel!



  • @SewSoDef Happy birthday! You are up criminally early. Do you get to watch the sun rise? Hope you have a wonderful day! 5 months ago
  • RT @SarahLudford: I object to way Letwin amendment is being portrayed on @BBCr4today as provoking ‘groans across the nation as meaning yet… 5 months ago
  • RT @Sathnam: Life is a great big conspiracy to stop you doing what you really want to do: which is to sit in a room by yourself and read al… 5 months ago

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