Friday, 30 December 2005
With the germs it meant we have had little actual contact with anyone else which makes it a very different Christmas which I reckon added to it being special.
Come the Bank Holiday sales I'm there at the DIY store buying wallpaper and paint to finish off the upstairs hallway - which I've done despite feeling entirely under par. Oh why on earth did I leave it for so long. We have a Victorian house and I swear it grows with loving vibes each time we do some improvements. This time I used a "proper" 1800s thick embossed pattern paper which took up the multitude of sins on the plaster underneath and have now given it and the ceiling a lick of paint. I almost want to take a table and chair upstairs and have tea in the hall!
As for the radiator I must be so peculiar. It seems I am happy to start off the first length of paper going round an electric switch and cutting out round a door frame. I love challenges and it makes the job more interesting. For example, much more fun to get the wallpaper perfect behind the radiator - without taking the radiator off. Maybe it is an anal aspect to me, but I love to get it as neat behind the radiator as anywhere else that is visible. Light switches and plugs and odd corners are my forte it seems. I wouldn't want to make a career out of it, nor do it too often, but it is extremely satisfying and rewarding when I do.
It all looks so lovely and clean and wonderful now. Just a few minor details to sort out, a couple of the door frames to give the final coat of paint, hang a mirror and some pics and it is done. All those knocks, and holes and dents and gaps have all been filled nicely and the textured paper brings it all together.
It sure has been a lovely and productive holiday. If only I can now shake off this yucky cough and throat. The gravelly voice is quite sexy though and I'd like to keep that!
Thursday, 22 December 2005
Wednesday, 21 December 2005
Both clients and colleagues thank me for my work over the year and one asks if I can continue in the next year, please. Days like this I feel quite smug about my self-employed existence. Being able to work for who I want, being treated with respect and thanks. Yup, smug is how it feels.
The other client was the managing director of a small to medium sized company but in their world being a multi-million pound company is not enough so they have sold themselves to a larger company and are to be absorbed. At this stage my services are no longer needed by them, but who knows. (I really don't mind as I had the contract for much longer than originally expected.)
I was going to criticise the bigger businesses for eating up the smaller businesses such as my client's but since meeting today and getting a bit more of the inside info my views have changed. But not that much. It seems that even my client had absorbed smaller businesses and now they too have had to put their heads on the block. Sure there is money to be made from the deal and it seems a viable way forward but in my mind, there is something liberating about not being tied to a conglomerate/company/employer. There is something scary about the constant driving forward of business because it doesn't have to be like that. Business doesn't have to be cut throat, not if it stays small. Sure, there are businesses like my client's that become untenable unless they are part of something bigger, but it sad that it comes to that.
Sunday, 18 December 2005
We've just been to see Narnia and I notice that most of the audience were adults. Three small children and their dad were sat in front of us but there was an altercation, he snapped at the kids then trundled them out during the movie very cross. The film is just too long to get started and I reckon it truly deserves its PG rating.
They did well to find old-fashioned looking kids but I take exception that the eldest (the goodie) had golden hair (and Prince William looks) whilst Edmund (the traitor) had the darkest hair of the 'siblings'. All the baddies were stereotypically ugly and dark.
I also found the intial adult and child relationships: youngest Lucy going off for tea with Mr. Tumnus, the Faun; and Edmund meeting the White Witch; just a tad icky. Something about these scenes made me feel uncomfortable. These are the aspects of the film I didn't like.
A long time at the beginning covers the kids in wartime London and being evacuated. This was poignantly portrayed and makes me think about how I was nervous just to leave my son at the swimming pool on his own today and yet many parents sent their kids off on train journeys to unknown destinations. How scary must that have been.
The special effects were superb. Aslan looked like a real lion and I'm sure I couldn't work out the joins. Various characters were wonderful and spiced with humour.
I rated the film a harsh 6 out of 10. Son's friend gave it something like 24 out of 10 whilst son gave it 10 out of 10. He loved especially the scary bits. The violence and scary bits should not be underestimated. And don't rush out when the credits start because the film isn't quite over at that point!
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As a kid I was doing all sorts at that age and younger but times have changed. Up to now I have always made sure son didn't even go into the changing rooms on his own and here I was to leave him for such a period of time at a potentially high-risk activity and environment. It was as scary as leaving him for his first day at nursery.
Of course I tried to look cool, as did son who I'm sure couldn't believe his luck at being let off the noose. Sadly though, I made him tell me our phone number in case they needed to call me on a public phone. And off I went.
Now I'm clock watching and told them I might come back and check up on them. Only two hours to go.
NB: I don't know who the woman in the apron is, in the piccy above, but she comes from our royalty free supply of interesting pics. And she makes me smile!
Saturday, 17 December 2005
It is much easier to point out 'errors' on someone else's blog than sort out the discrepancies in one's own. In a way, I am sorry I pointed out that she referred to Christmas dinner being next Friday because she then posted Mad Cow Disease - For Doris which pushed the other post undeservedly down the page. Cheryl says "Forgetting what day is Christmas is bloody peanuts, really." LOL I know what you mean, and agree, but don't think so! There are people who have their Christmas menus planned by November so that produce can be ordered in good time. (If you don't order in time you'd be Gobbled Smacked and then have a Turkey Crisis) The magazines, newspapers and TV magazines all produce calenders with step by step details to a hassle free Christmas. Imagine you are running to one of these calenders but then find your D-day is out by two days?
Yesterday was one of those days filled from beginning to end that I was exhausted. Mr Doris popped off to the kitchen to forage for us some dinner when the doorbell went. It was twenty to 7 and I knew son was due to go to Brigades for twenty past 7. Another of the mum's had popped round and as I cleared a space for her to get to the chaise and sit down I thought she was round for a chat a la Peanuts: "the doctor is in". She politely sat and then asked about the kids having to be at church at 7pm. No, I said.... I haven't heard that. But she had - from my son. It took all of five minutes to get out of him a straight answer that it was 7pm and not much more. I stood there gobsmacked but probably looked more like my eyes were bulging in shock and in my slightly crazed "I can not cope" demented manner. Mr Doris was already making dinner on a tight schedule plus son was standing around not ready. I arranged to take both boys as the other mum and I usually share the trip. At the door she drops the bombshell as to whether we are supposed to go too.
Being slow on the uptake I hadn't realised it was Christmas. That this would be the big Christmas play. That this was serious stuff and as parents of course we should be there. Time is clicking on, son is not ready, we've not eaten, I'd have to go and stay for the show/session, and I just wanted a quiet night. In amongst this, son had a particulalry painful splinter I was to remove. We did it and were only two minutes late.
Mercifully, the Christmas show was more like a service and clearly was something also whipped up the week before. Kids sang from song sheets and you could see they weren't rehearsed. It cheered me up no end to realise that I wasn't the only one trying to cobble things together.
We sang some Carols and it was actually quite nice. Silent Night was a bit difficult as I was sure I had the same words as everyone else but they didn't sound like it. Added to that, the organist seemed a bit creative with his choice of sound effects on the organ. The organist looked like a cross between neanderthal man and Frankenstein. It is not that he was ugly, just that he didn't have the refined brow and looks I expect from a musician. I greatly admire anyone who plays music but if I had seen him in the street I'd not have imagined the music within him. Note to self to not make such judgements about people.
On Wednesday my mother had arranged to pass by our place yesterday to be helpful with the exchange of presents. They could carry ours to various members of the family and also deliver others to us. It is a convenient state of affairs except that I wasn't actually organised. Christmas hasn't happened here and I'd much rather wait until I felt in the right spirit before "doing it". Christmas Eve is usually good for me but doesn't leave any time to despatch anything. And I had actually been enjoying my Scroogish "Bah Humbug" ways and was looking forward to a BuyNothing Christmas but am afraid that I relented.
Thursday evening young son had a disco to go to many miles away so I figured that I would take the opportunity whilst waiting for him to have his fun to actually go to the nearby large supermarket and "shop". Two hours and a lot of saved-up coupons later and the shopping for family was done and I was quite pleased. All mainly special consumables so that they could be enjoyed and not have their houses cluttered with junk. Dearest Mr Doris has been doing his Santa thing so had already ordered the kids presents off the internet otherwise they might not be quite so lucky.
Yesterday I wrapped the presents and then what surprise, I actually parcelled up other presents and cards and wrote letters and then got them to the post office and posted. In my mind, it doesn't matter that I have missed all the international posting deadlines, I at least got them posted which is a great improvement on many previous years.
Two trips to the post office in one day plus the emotional exhaustion of writing letters and the relief of actually doing them, and then a relatively smooth visit from my parents, then the unexpected Christmas show including cordial participation and by the end I was whacked. No wonder I sleep so much.
Thursday, 15 December 2005
Hmmm. First Mad Baggage tags me with The Spreading Infection? and then A Host of Spirits tags me with Wishes and Fantasies. I'm not up to fully completing either and so will do a diet version!
The Spreading Infection?: Ten things you didn't know about me, except that I wear my heart on my sleeve in an anonymous way and I'm not sure that I have anything interestingly new. But.... one thing about me, I have always wondered what it is that Meatloaf "won't do for love" with all sorts of dirrrty stuff crossing my mind. Ever in the need for enlightenment I just did a websearch and came across this page in which the following conversation ensues:
Gentreau (Dec 15, 2003, 07:16)And then the next message summarises nicely for me:
Girl : Will you raise me up? Will you help me down? Will you get me right out of this Godforsaken town? Will you make it all a little less cold?
Boy : I can do that! I can do that!
Girl : Will you hold me sacred? Will you hold me tight? Can you colourise my life, I'm so sick of black & white? Can you make it all a little less old?
Boy : I can do that! I can do that!
Girl : Will you make me some magic, with your own two hands? Can you build an Emerald city with these grains of sand? Can you give me something I can take home?
Boy : I can do that! I can do that!
Girl : Will you cater to every fantasy I got? Will you hose me down with Holy water - if I get too hot? Will you take me places I've never known?
Boy : I can do that! I can do that!
Girl : After a while you'll forget everything. It was a brief interlude a midsummer nights fling. And you'll see that it's time to move on.
Boy : I won't do that! No I won't do that!
Girl : I know the territory - I've been around. It'll all turn to dust and we'll all fall down. And sooner or later you'll be screwing around.
Boy : I won't do that! No I won't do that!
Oh I would do anything for love, but I won't do THAT.
UnoChild (Dec 15, 2003, 08:49)The discourse continues on and is quite funny. So there is something you have travelled with me on my path to enlightenment and no longer is something I wonder about.
So really, the "I wont do that..." is unrelated to the "i would do anything for love".
Basically, I'll do anything for love, but i won't be a shit and leave you.
Furthermore, being a shit and leaving is nothing to do with doing anything for love.
Wishes and Fantasies: Things I would love to do just for me and things I would love to do for the world. I'm out of wishes for myself as I feel I am already living the dream. I certainly need new dreams as I feel like I am in a wonderful harbour, doing good stuff but just going round and round. At some point I need to get the whole dreams and fantasy bank operational again in order to move forward and explore other places. As for the world, well, I wish for the world what I have wished and found for myself: for each and everyone to love and be loved. With the power of love behind us we will not need to fight stupid battles, there will be more hapiness and harmony and intelligence as we are not having to struggle unsupported and can work on better things than just surviving.
Over to you - if you feel inspired then share your "Wishes and Fantasies" or "10 Things We Didn't Know About You". Let me know and I'd be pleased to give you the 10th degree about them! :-)
Monday, 12 December 2005
This last year he has taken pride in having a large afro. He still didn't maintain it but each time I had combed it out (about quarterly!) a few days would follow when he would preen himself, and then it gets too tough. Son has the self-esteem of a giant and I can only admire his aplomb and confidence about himself. He is gentle and sensitive but yet seems to 'know' that he is cool and gorgeous. Many people compliment him on his eyes and he has a million watt smile. He knows he can wrap adults around his finger.
He is also a complete pain in the backside. He can take five minutes saying "yes" or "no" because he has to give you first the whys and wherefores and still not give a straight answer. He manipulates language like a first class lawyer and can be really frustrating.
Anyway, he finally let me plait his hair despite his previous protestations and is now loving it. He says that he can pull his hair (plaits) behind his ear and has always wanted to do that. This morning he had wobbly neck syndrome as he shook his head and plaits round stating "Because you are worth it" a la Loreal style! Cheeky so and so.
Sunday, 11 December 2005
Sunday, 4 December 2005
All the reviews I have read about these items usually preface their article with a warning about icky contents or perhaps to warn blokes they might be reading something about "womens stuff". Well, tosh. If you are reading this you are reading it! I love to get the low-down on all sorts and don't see why this shouldn't be any different.
A Mooncup and the like (Diva Cup, Keeper) are billed to be an eco-friendly alternative to sanitary towels and tampons. Saves the environment and saves money. The Mooncup makers reckons the £17.99 cost amounts to six months worth of sanitary supplies and last 10 years. They talk about how it keeps tampons out of the oceans (after they have been flushed down the toilet).
However, I am not sure if I read anywhere about how fabulous I would feel as a woman using the Mooncup and it is only my first cycle of using it. I have never known a menstrual cycle where I have felt so physically clean and fresh, and yet when I first anticipated using the Mooncup I focused on the actual mechanics of inserting and using the thing instead of the rest of the time when, apart from the usual cramp, there is no sign of having a period. It is almost a case of naturism here I come because I could walk round naked and no-one would ever know!
Down to the basics. I read quite a few online reviews before even trying out my Mooncup. Notably, this review with its numerous comments and questions. Having read that, I then put it all aside and waited until I was ready to try it out.
I am extremely fortunate in working at home and having a particularly nice bathroom with a bidet. I'll say now that once I had gotten past this stage and on the second day of my period I purposefully didn't use the bidet nor any of the facilities to mimic a public lavatory situation, but more on that later!
The reviews I read mainly seemed to suggest it best to wait until you are into your period before trying this out. The leaflet suggests trying it out before your period and possibly use something like KY jelly for lubrication. I reckon you have to go with your gut feeling. Personally, I didn't fancy the idea of messing around with something brand new when I would not be in the best of form during a period, but as it happened, although I had the Mooncup for several days a moment came on Friday lunchtime when I had just finished a piece of work and I reckoned this was the right time to try it out for the first time.
I told Mr Doris and he wished me well and I headed off to the bathroom like an adventurer with Mooncup, leaflet, scissors and KY jelly. I put the radio on in the background and locked the bathroom door. I don't normally lock the door but I wanted to feel completely at ease and take it easy. The instructions say that one should boil the Mooncup for ten minutes before using it. Since I can't remember the last time I boiled a penis for ten minutes before inserting it I reckoned a good wash with soap and water would do.
The thing about me is that I can be quite a fragile flower at times and extremely dry. I made myself comfortable on the bidet and with my washed hands and washed Mooncup I thought I would try with just the Mooncup wet. This is how the makers recommend it should normally be inserted - wet. They say to aim the Mooncup towards your lower back so just to be sure I had my angles right I inserted a wet finger to make sure I was going the right way for the position I was in. The Mooncup is simply folded in on itself twice so it is a tight wad. With a surprising minimal amount of manouvering I had managed to shove this thing inside myself. Without the assistance of any KY or actually being on a period. Once it was inside, it was easy enough to reach up inside and to run a finger around to make sure that the Mooncup had completely opened up.
At this stage I hadn't cut the tail off or trimmed it. I have read so many horror stories about this tail causing such pain as it poked back down so I felt a bit of a freak and an old wellington boot when it didn't really cause me any bother. Maybe because I had the Mooncup inserted high up first time. I cautiously stood up to make sure everything felt OK and it was. I washed my hands and dressed and came downstairs and did a ta-daa for Mr Doris who didn't notice anything different about me!
Nothing on this earth would have possessed me try to remove the Mooncup straight away. It might have gone in easily but I knew it wasn't going to be easy to take out. I've read horror stories of women who have fiddled around with their Mooncup and had it in and out like a yo-yo and then ended up sore. So I waited a couple of hours. In that time, the tail of the Mooncup started to give me twinges and I reckon if I had left it in much longer I might have gotten sore.
Repeating the process of using the bidet, I first washed my hands and got my delicate bits wet. It was then a case of reaching in and grabbing the base of the bowl of the Mooncup. I had read horror stories of women who had used the tail to pull and thus created a suction effect with nothing wanting to move unless it brought out half your guts with it. But by grasping the base of the Mooncup bowl, it slightly folds the cup and breaks the seal and lets in the air. Then it is a case of tweaking the cup from side to side, or backwards and forwards, each time pulling down gently. Meanwhile, you are alternately bearing down and somehow holding tight somewhere deep inside. It is extremely bizarre and hard to explain. The first time you remove it is the worst. It feels like you have just pulled out a solid egg cup from down below. I found my eyes bulging and my breath being taken away but otherwise it wasn't too bad.
I washed the Mooncup with soap and water and put it away. I tried it again two days later and left it in a few hours. But first I cut the tail off. See my pic above - it shows where I cut the tail. It was better without the tail as I could then use the base of the Mooncup more for pushing up. I tried it again the next day too. Each time was much easier to remove it and was not a discomfort. Two days later my period started - this was the day after I had another major tooth extraction under anaesthetic. I was not feeling too fabulous but was like an excited kid to realise I finally got to use my Mooncup for real.
It is incredible, but it was actually clean to use. Even with inserting a finger after the Mooncup had been inserted I think I had less mess than using a tampon applicator. Not that I had that much but it was not unusual for a finger nail to be a bit blood stained. Once I started using the Mooncup then the period blood did not come down below a certain point in my body as it landed in the cup. Removing the cup was easy enough - I thought it might be like a slippery object and could possibly be dropped, or I thought the contents would overflow and tip out the side. Nope. None of that. A couple of times there was a gelatinous string of goo that stretched from the cup to inside me but it was very minor and easy to wipe away.
Reaching up and removing the cup was clean, then it was a case of emptying the matter inside the cup. I have marked with an arrow (the top arrow) the maximum I have had in my cup - that was over a 5 hour time span one evening but I had less overnight which was in for about 7 hours. The lower arrow shows the general amount I had in my cup but it went right down to near nothing towards the end.
Using the bidet was fantastic. I was able to sit comfortably, wash out my cup and give myself a little rinse although I didn't need it. Knowing that there are times when I won't be at home I went for the "mock public loo facilities test". On the second day of my period I used just the toilet and toilet paper. Removing the Mooncup and wiping out with toilet paper was easy enough. Only took a few sheets and was OK. Re-inserting the Mooncup without the assistance of water was a definite no-no for me. I had no lubrication and no period blood low-down to help. I tried but really, life is too short to go through that pain. Although I continued the day with just emptying and inserting whilst sitting on the toilet I did have to reach over and run the Mooncup under the tap to get it wet. The manufacturers suggest you take a bottle of water into the toilet with you. Personally, I don't see how you can manipulate a bottle of water and put it somewhere I'd consider clean in a public loo whilst sorting out your Mooncup. I think I'd rather wait until I could use a toilet with basin en suite.
There are air holes at the top (see pic). Each time you wash your Mooncup (usually at the end of each day - unless you have a bidet!) you make sure the air holes are clear. This is easy - when your cup is full of warm water simply put your palm over the top and gently squeeze the base. Or invert and squeeze. This forces the water out the air holes and hey presto, nice and clean.
I'm now done for this month. I've washed my Mooncup with soap and water but will likely give it a boil to keep it fresh. I think, because I was very calm and took it slowly, that I was able to get on really well with my Mooncup in my very first period. They say it normally takes at least two cycles to get comfortable but I reckon I'd never look back. Like I said at the beginning, I really felt noticeably cleaner during this cycle. Tampons have their bits of string that get mucky and suck the life out of you, and pads just suck the life out of your entire nether regions whilst spinning around and sticking where they ought not to stick and then have the audacity to not do the job they are supposed to do. This is the first period where everything was where it should be and not a single item of underwear was marked. Or beds! I could sleep as I normally do, au naturale, without having to wear precautionary knickers.
And then of course, there are the fascinating contents of the Mooncup! Watching the changing colours and textures. I had no idea. That's not entirely true, I had some idea but to see what it is undiluted by bleached and sanitising chemicals and fibres is an incredible adventure. I'm in my early forties and I'm only just finding out. Only just experiencing that there is a far better alternative to the tampons and pads that not only saves me money and saves the environment but is much cleaner and makes me feel wonderful. If I could afford it I'd buy every woman I know a Mooncup.
Addendum #1: I didn't mention how the Mooncup felt when it was inside. Nothing. Couldn't feel it, it was so comfortable. Again, this could be because I managed to insert it high up. Nearly twenty years ago I used to have a contraceptive cap but gave up using it because I found it such a pain. I could feel the heavy duty ring forcing itself against my insides. The Mooncup is different as it is gentle and soft with no internal wiring.
Addendum #2: Menstrual Cups have been around at least since the 1930s. www.mum.org/MenCups.htm
Different brands made of different materials:
- www.softcup.com Disposable; can be used during sex (!)
Addendum #3: Previous post on mother and daughter mooncups!
Addendum #4: It is now May 2006 and I have not used any other form of sanitary protection since.
Addendum #5: It is now November 2012 and I have used the same Mooncup since December 2005 which is seven years, and nothing else! Initial cost £17.99 / 7 years = £2.57 per year for sanitary protection. As I continue to use it through to peri-menopause and menopause it will have cost even less for sanitary protection. It is something I would definitely recommend to any woman, especially younger women who have many menstruating years ahead. Though it is not just about the cost - the cleanliness one feels can not be matched. I see that in 2012 it now costs £19.99 which is a lot of money for a little bit silicone but if mine is anything to go by it is invaluable.
Any questions post below?