Tuesday, 12 December 2006
I really was in the kitchen pointing out the food! I was making it up as I went along so I am not sure what else for dinner. We have fresh veg today and fancy the parsnips too.
PS. And this link and post are now dead!
Monday, 16 October 2006
Lately I've not been having a great time in myself so something has to give. I am a survivor. Simple as that. I need to walk away completely and move on. To think about other projects. Space clearing I guess. It is a positive decision and feels good.
I'm sorry I haven't gone around and said goodbye to my favourite haunts but know that I have given you a cheery wave and a smile. For those of us whose lives have touched, I am the richer for those special moments of connection. May you be very happy and love and peace fill your lives. I will carry your memories and treasure them.
I can recommend www.httrack.com and download their free to use open source software to copy your entire blog and the comments too. (Click on the options on the second page and click on "include link" and then as the Criterion select "Links containing" and then put in the beginning of the url to your comments field. For me it was https://beta.blogger.com/comment and then voila, blog with comments!) The file structure is rather large, and maybe not suitable as a back-up copy but at least you can have a copy of your blog and messages kept for safe keeping for whatever reasons. If I so wish, I can now look back over old posts and enjoy them and the comments made.
[Comments switched off and all posts to date were removed from blog]
Friday, 13 October 2006
This is a great book to read but I wouldn't go quite so far as the front cover blurb "Non-stop fun" or on the back cover: "Dazzling ... a delight".
The Tractor book had on its reverse, "An extraordinary read ... nothing short of amazing. A rare treat, all too easy to gulp down in one greedy sitting".
As it happens I very much enjoyed both books (buy 1 get 1 ½ priced at WH Smith!) but I wonder about the cover reviews they add to books. Such outrageously over the top comments (proabably taken out of context) that leads one to perhaps have higher expectations of the contents than one might ordinarily expect. Perhaps even leading to dissapointment for some readers?
On the other hand, I wonder if quite so many copies would be sold if they didn't put such sensational reviews on the covers? It feels almost deceptive to me. Luckily, on this occasion for me, these books turn out to be good reads but I would be less than impressed if I had been duped by the sensationalism.
My latest book, Emotional rollercoaster, a journey through the science of feelings has a rather more fitting review on it's cover: "An entertaining, informed guide to the responses that drive and colour our lives". I think that is already a far more balanced comment but then this book was tucked up on the 3rd floor and not on the best seller shelves.
Anyway, Freakonomics. It was a fascinating look at economics in terms of number crunching but applied to everyday life social situations. One of the authors took a lot of flack a few years ago for his research which suggested that the massive drop in crime in the US was due to the legalisation of abortion back in the early 70s rather than any crime measures put into place. So that by the time the late 1990s came there just wasn't the numbers of teenaged youth. What made his research so distasteful was his pointing the finger at single, unmarried mothers from low income and mainly Black families that produced the most criminals. And who would make the most use of the low-cost legal abortions. Having been a single parent on a low income of course that raises my hackles but, in the book, he does take it carefully and I didn't get the feeling he was being judgemental as well as he acknowledges the myriad of issues involved.
Other subjects he looks at includes "Why do drug dealers still live with their moms" and "How is the Klu Klu Klan like a group of estate agents" and others. Overall the whole book was thought provoking, funny in places and worth reading. It makes one look at the world, or rather question it, from a different viewpoint.
Tuesday, 10 October 2006
Having our car broken into was a nuisance, a pain, really crap, but that wasn't it. Having a son who started the second year of secondary school last week after having a year and a half away being home educated was more worrying. At 9.15am on his first day he is getting a sick note to excuse himself out the lesson. Sometime during the week he was pulled up by staff for not tucking his shirt into his trousers and on the Friday of this short 3.5 day school week he was sent out of class (the first he had attended with this teacher) for laughing. I walked the 2 mile journey (each way) to and from school 3 times with him and his friends to find that the other boys made no pretence of being on best behaviour on my account. The first journey home took us meandering over roads with disregard of traffic; in and out of sweet shops spending on junk that just ended up being thrown around; trespassing across private property which lead to a choice of scaling the 15 foot fence or doing a spiderman and hanging from the fence and edging along the ledge for about 10 yards until one clambered over a mini bridge and around the fence. I climbed the fence (which admittedly utterly impressed my son).
Oh yes, then there was stopping off at the cheap supermarket for four x 2 litre bottles of fizzy drink which they then had wild fun shaking up and smashing on the ground spraying each other in their new clean school uniforms and passers by with with gunk. One kid ran across the busy road to avoid the spray causing a car to brake and beep their horn. In the park a few of the kids have a grudge against the pigeons and armed themselves with stones and pelted the birds.
These are my son's peers. The people most likely to have an influence over him. I'd say this was pretty depressing.
Meanwhile my daughter is living beyond her means and like her brother swans in and out without thought of helping run the community of our house. That's depressing.
But there is something more and unidentifiable. These are the bleak clouds, like acrid smoke from a fire, it curls in slowly and then takes its grip. Throughout the early stages so that one day I am performing OK and being jolly and then the next day it has fully taken hold. Tears keep flowing and I just can't cope. I'm upset and angry but I don't get loud or shouty. Nor have any desire to except in respect of the kids when I fear I would be way out of control so try desperately to say nothing and keep away.
For nearly 24 hours I am oppressed and under. I'm drowning. Mr Doris is there trying to be nice to me but he can't get through. Nothing touches me. I am cold and dispassionate except for the tears. I try to suppress the tears in bed and sob quietly, sometimes making little gasping for air noises.
Then the clouds start to lift. I'm still susceptible to tears. I'm still close to the edge but not quite so precarious now. In hours even I could be back to my good ole jolly reliable self. This has happened on occasions in the past on and off during my life.
Tuesday, 3 October 2006
Having forced the lock, completely breaking it and damaging the door skin, they then smashed the glass on the passenger side. The only reason the stereo was in the car was because it was a crap model and the buttons had broken and we couldn't remove it nor even open the flap to change the CD. It was a crap stereo.
The car was parked within yards of the security camera. We park under the lime trees of the park and put up with the sticky drippings because of the security camera. We used to park round the corner but similar happened just before Easter of this year so we didn't park there anymore.
Ths time we had the police crime detection people out. A young scrap of a lass who looked younger than my daughter! She did a good job, though the stickiness of the lime trees meant no finger prints were forthcoming, there was a tool imprint she took with a rubber substance.
We will not be getting a replacement stereo. I like to have music and news when I'm driving so we will find a different way for that. This is all such crap. Crap. Crap. Crap.
Sunday, 1 October 2006
After their mother dies, two grown up sisters are horrified when their elderly father remarries a much younger and voluptuous Ukrainian woman, Valentina, seeking to legitimately stay in the UK with her son. The tractor history bit is something that is interwoven throughout and is an extremely novel way of constructing the story.
An undercurrent of the book is the way the two sisters are so different. One is the war child (WWII) aware of the horrors and the other born just after, in peace time UK, and a time of hope and re-birth. There are only a matter of 8 years between them but there is a whole universe of difference with each living their own life until Valentina comes on the scene and they then have a common enemy and resolve their differences.
As for those internal monologues.... this afternoon a call out the blue from son's genetic father (Mr Y Chromosone) who happens to be not that far away dropping off his youngest daughter to university. "Great" says I, "come on over" [after all we never hear from you from almost one year to the next thinks I]. Mr Y is about an hour or so away. Ten minutes later he phones again and says his daughter is coming too and is that alright and am I sure. Without hesitation, of course I say "yes". [I think family is important and they should have more contact now that his children are all adults. A little notice wouldn't have gone amiss though but I say nothing.]
Mr Y coming is one thing and does not require me to do much, but bringing a 20 year old daughter who has never knowingly met me and suddenly I have a desperate need to make sure that the house is reasonably ship-shape and tidy, which it isn't. I am almost the Valentina character from the book. For many years I was the interloper, or perhaps the dark shadow over the lives of Mr Y's children and here his Youngest was braving the visit. Youngest and son are siblings through the father. I am delighted that connections are being made. Son has met Youngest once before and the socialising is like water off a duck's back to him - he has inherited this characteristic from me.
But Youngest is a young woman. The thought she would meet me must have crossed her mind. Is she expecting a Valentina character, all hussy and frou-frou? I know I'm not that but I can't have her thinking what a sluttish house I keep. [It isn't a sluttish house either, it is actually OK but just in need of a little spruce round the edges.]
Whatever Mr Doris must have made of me like a whirling dervlish round the house barking out commands and flapping and cleaning and polishing. He must be wondering why I am making such an effort. And all the while the internal dialogue about this or that continues. At least the house did well out of it and has a fast spring clean.
Mr Y and Youngest have arrived. Youngest was ever so lovely and I reckon we clicked as soon as I loudly acknowledged (within minutes!) that her father was pushing her through University to do courses he thought were good for her rather than making the choices herself.
Mr Doris nipped round to the corner shop to find some cake and biscuits to serve with tea and after a short while into this flying visit I excused myself and Mr Doris and we left them to it. Silly having us all round politely talking: wonderful Mr Doris; the ex-love-of-my-life Mr Y; and me the hussy [which I'm not] with son [my son that Mr Y never contributed to and originally accused me of getting pregnant with on purpose who is now the apple of his eye] and his Youngest. All polite tea and cake. But we left them to it.
I was delighted that my Daughter showed her face and went and said hello. Mr Doris had asked her to do so and she could have avoided it but she didn't. I am grateful.
It wasn't a long visit but extremely pleasant and went well. Youngest hugged us all, including me, "goodbye". We even swapped mobile numbers as she offered to come and braid son's hair next time it was needed. She offered that she was only one stop away on the train. Gosh.
The Toshiba apples are a curious recipe from the book. The eccentric elderly father found a way to prepare the multitude of apples that fell from the tree in the garden. It involved cooking them in the Toshiba microwave until a warm sticky mass. It doesn't appeal to me but I tried to think of an equally quick way to prepare a meal for our guests but as they have to rush I, and they, are spared.
It is an interesting Sunday afternoon.
Saturday, 30 September 2006
If you have trouble commenting because this is a Blogger in Beta then click on *Other* and put in a link to your blog. Though some people can't do this either. I just don't know so good luck!
Tuesday, 26 September 2006
After a more than wonderful weekend away with precious friends I have returned home again. The fast train zooming across countryside stopping only a few times. Absence has certainly made the heart grow fonder as I throw myself into the arms of Mr Doris meeting me at the station. Both the children are home and both give me the loveliest of smiles hello. Like I am someone special.
I sure love those big diesel trains standing at the platforms revving up ready to go. Taking me to beyond and then back home again. Thank you.
Thursday, 21 September 2006
Yesterday: walking home through the park a squirrel stood to attention just ahead of me and held that proud and majestic position until I drew up next to it, then it bounded off. It looked a magnificent creature.
This week: daughter is seventeen and very happy. I feel a sense of achievement and gratefulness that she seems reasonably balanced and hasn't felt the need to run away from home like I had when I was 16.
This weekend: I'm off to stay with a very good friend for a few days down sowf.
Just now: I'm plugged into NASA TV watching preparations for the return to earth of the shuttle with Anousheh Ansari (the first female space tourist) onboard. Anousheh has now written her first blog from space!
NB. I must be completely off my rocker..... Anousheh has only just returned to earth and I was confused as she didn't come back on the Shuttle but instead stayed on the ISS. And I've been reading her blog, well, bits of it, and thought that these were reports written whilst she was up in space but only being logged now. I shall scuttle off now. 29 Sep 2006
Thursday, 14 September 2006
Although I am committed to the idealogy of home education my secondary year age son will be returning to a full time school environment quite soon. It was son's request as a result of peer pressure from friends who said it was an okay school and I just investigated further and arranged a visit. Getting a place is not yet in concrete and we have had a few hurdles along the way but I am quite joyful as it all feels so right.
It turns out that the local rubbishy school wasn't so bad after all and had a lot of bad press. In fact the local school is wonderful to the point I want to cry at how lovely it is on both a pastoral, educational and even architectural level.
Then we find out that son can't have a place after all so I am to go through appeals. A few phone calls later and I already have references sent to the school who call at the end of the school day with some reassuring noises, that son is to attend on Monday for the usual testing procedure, and that one way or another they will squeeze him in.
The act of faith happened earlier today just after the initial refusal (from the council offices and by post - the school do not deal with their own admissions!) and I went into town to get a copy of the guidance for making an appeal. A bit further down the road is the uniform shop where I bought a school tie and sweater in son's size. Buying these essential items showed that I knew he would be going to that school. But I didn't show him until the call from school. He is happy and I am happy.
It has been an interesting wonderful day. This afternoon daughter brought home her A level exam artwork which she gave her permission for me to put up. One piece is appropriately in the breakfast room as it has kitchen connotations which she revealed the colours were based on our own kitchen which she liked. And the other piece which is Klimt in style, I put up over the fire place in pride of place in our parlour. She had no idea and thought I was going to put it up in the hall. She's just come home and seems secretly surprised where I have placed it.
It would be safe to say I am feeling quite smug with today.
Tuesday, 12 September 2006
Dinner was late so I didn't make everyone sit down for dinner so Mr Doris sat as his desk to eat and I on the chaise longue. Son decided he didn't like the dinner and refused it and daughter is a born again "for the umpteenth time" vegetarian. I don't think Mr Doris realised he hasn't been his usual attentive self and didn't acknowledge the lovely food. Me? I'm just in heaven with this gorgeous and sumptuous meal. I have no cares it has not been acknowledged, nor eaten by the kids. Tough. Their loss.
Another busy day. Loads of work, helped a local kid with his grammar which re-instated my confidence as a good educator, and possibly agreed to send son back into a full time school environment at his own request.
But the best bit of today was dinner :-)
Friday, 8 September 2006
Wikipedia says that Satyagraha is "the philosophy of nonviolent resistance most famously employed by Mohandas Gandhi in forcing an end to the British Raj and also against apartheid in South Africa".
At the meeting on 11 September 1906 it was Sheth Haji Habib, a Moslem, who had a huge impact on Ghandi [see the first link], and so began the effective process of "non violent resistance" which became the main force of the Indian Independence movement.
Over the years many still lost their lives but Satyagraha shows that there is a way other than terrorism and war.
Sunday, 3 September 2006
I am not one for conspiracy theories.
So many people died and were terrified in the events of 9/11, and so many more across the world since then as a direct consequence of 9/11. That is a fact and without a doubt.
I have just watched 911 Cover Up - 2nd Edition Recut which is online on Google video and is one hour 29 minutes. It is a compelling documentary.
On their website www.loosechange911.com it honours and respects those that have died. It encourages you to do your own research and to come to your own conclusions.
My thoughts after watching are:
- how many people must be involved if there was a conspiracy and perhaps you can keep 20 people quiet but the number to be involved in planning and planting explosives in one of the World Trade Centre towers alone must be enormous - someone must have a conscience
- there will always be different descriptions of what was seen, or different views after the events of what was possible, and that discrepancies of reports can not be seen as evidence one way or the other
- sometimes the bizarre happens in life such as the flight recorders being irrecoverable whilst a paper passport survives
- the 6 second collapse of WTC building 7 is beyond bizarre
- the fact that three buildings collapsed with almost perfect precision is almost unbelievable but that is what they did
- if those planes with passengers that flew into the Pentagon; and Flight 93 that was brought down; were not the ones then where are the passengers now
- it is most irregular that there is no consistent plane debris at the Pentagon nor the other crash site