Friday, September 30, 2005

For Geezer; He's so Ghei!!

Geezer is one of my favourite bloggers, because he's just so damned funny, and I can tell from the way he writes (which is often a puzzle and requires a bit of thought, which I like) that he's a fast talker and he seems like a hyper sort.

While goofing about in Google's image catacombs (okay I was looking at porn) (no, not really but you were shocked for a wee second there weren't you. No, I was only reading porn) and I found this picture. I really hope Geezer likes it. I wish I had called it Geezers.gif instead of gayeric, but being Eric Estrada I went for that first. Damn my head and it's perfect hindsight!!


gayeric


He's so brill. Eric is too...no, really! Here's his website!!

Whippersnappers

This was in a bag of family photos my Mom brought over with her. I'm guessing I wrote when I was about 10 or 11 as I mention Ben who's my youngest nephew and he was born in '82. When Mom showed me this I got all awwww, wasn't I sweet. Swifty asked Mom if she gave me the money, and Mom said yes, she probably had given it to me. I'll just say now that I know for a fact she didn't because in my whole life, never once did I get money to buy books at the Scholastic book Fair that came around. "All of these books are free at the library." I was told. I didn't correct her in front of Swifty (but now I wish I had.)

I will now promise to let Sassy-Face have at least one book at every Scholastic Book Fair.

But seriously, how cute. I'm waiting for the day I get my "I love you! can I have some money?" letter. By the way, buttons was my dog. I didn't name him, he came with the name from the shelter we adopted him from.


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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Half-Nekkid Thursday!

Little piggie-wiggies!!

My girls inherited my feet, which I inherited from my Mom and are the same as my Brother and Sister. We all have size ordered toes on the right foot, and pairs of two little toes with a lonely big toe on the left. Only the Baby has inherited the funny sticking-out second piggie from the Hubs's side of the family. Also, I think we must feed her too much spaghetti because she is distinctly orange compared to the rest of us.


30 piggie-wiggies

20 piggie-wiggies

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Father and Daughter

I called up the stairs to Sassy to say it was time to wake up and come down to breakfast. I heard her coming down the stairs in her usual theatrical way, one loud stomping step at a time. She came into view, stopped on the third step from the bottom, sighed very heavily and sat down, chin in her hands and looking very annoyed.

I asked her what the matter was, didn't she sleep well? And with a quavering voice, as if fighting back the tears she squeaked;

Sassy: "Mummy, my dreams are teasing me" she said with wide, sad eyes.

Me: "Oh dear sweetie, that's not very nice. Want to tell me what the dreams were?"

Sassy: "Well, it was Christmas and Easter at the same time. I woke up and at the end of my bed was a HOOG (huge) pile of presents and chocolates. Even a big chocolate bunny, Mummy."

Me: "Wow! That sounds super, I'd like to wake up and find that at the end of my bed."

Sassy: "Yeah, and I was opening the presents and there were all my favourite toys and I was just so happy, so excited...And then you yelled at me to wake up!"

Me: "Oh, honey, I'm sorry I had to ruin your dream, but it is time to wake up."

Sassy: "And I woke up for real and all my presents were gone. It's so unfair!

Me: It is, I agree. Poor darling. What do you want for breakfast?"

And the morning continued, but I really felt sorry for her. We've all had those last dreams, just before the alarm going off and it's so wonderful, how dare real life intrude! That night after the girls were fast asleep, I told Husband about Sassy's dream. He laughed and giggled, felt the same knowing remorse for her. He then told me a story about how something similar had happened to him when he was four.

He told me that Santa Claus had come in through his bedroom window and he had big bag with him. Santa told him that since he had been so good, he was bringing him a super special present; just for him. Now, he wasn't allowed to open it yet, he was told not to touch it. Santa put the present on a shelf right behind the headboard of the bed, told him again he wasn't to touch it, and then left.

Well, what would you do if you were a little boy with a super special present from Santa hiding behind your bed? You'd do what a young hubs did and peel back a corner of wrapping paper and peek; and he saw the most amazing toy in the world! It was the best thing and he was so excited. Just then his Mom came in told him to wake up;


Mom: "Come one now, I've told you several times to get out of bed, let's go!"

LilHubs: "grumble groan......"

He then shot up and looked for his present behind his headboard. There was a bag there, but it wasn't the same one in his dream. He put his hand out to open the bag and take a closer look...

Mom: "Now I just got finished telling you that I didn't want you to touch that bag! It's the cat's kitty litter for it's toilet tray and I don't want you playing with it so leave it alone! Please be a good boy and get up and ready for school."

It wasn't Santa after all. It was his Mom, putting kitty litter on the shelf (Why she put it there we don't know and he's going to ask this weekend) But isn't it cruel how the mind takes noises and bits of conversation and twists them around into something else? The radio alarm, the noisy cars outside, birds or anything really. Such a disappointment. I'm willing to bet he spent years, every so often, peeking behind his bed to try and find that elusive special present that Santa promised him. Hubs shared this story with Sassy as her bedtime story, and they now have this very special bond between them that'll last a lifetime.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Happy Anniversary!!!

Today is our 10 year anniversary. I have no idea how 10 years just passed by, it doesn't feel like 10 years and yet, obviously, it is. Wow!!!

So my wedding. We didn't really want a wedding, we wanted to elope. We got so far as booking it all up, and thinking about rings and such when we started to think; our Mom's would be really pissed to not be able to see us get married; the first and only son, the baby daughter. Plus the governments aren't to pleased about quickie marriages, especially when we were going to apply to be living in one or the other's country.

In the end we were up front and everyone was pleased. I asked Hubs to choose the day we'd marry. He said he didn't care, but I wanted him to choose. Out of thin air he chooses Sept. 23rd. I got chills. For several years, and my Mom will attest to this fact, In September I would always ask who had a birthday on the 23rd? No one. Who has an anniversary on the 23rd? No one. Well something had to be important about that date because I always had a feeling, like I was forgetting someone. It haunted me for many years. So, when hubs picked that date, I agreed immediately. I have never felt that weirdness since.

It was a very small wedding, about 25 people. My immediate family, his too and a handful of close friends. We had a simple registry office ceremony (neither of us is particularly religious) and a fun dinner and drinks after at Old Orleans restaurant. It's not a posh place, it's a fun place and they serve decent food and the cocktails were half price. We were all drinking mai tais and mudslides and being very merry. My Mother-in-law made us a cake which by the time we cut it, we were all so drink I don't know if we could taste it.

My uncle, who was able to join us because of a well timed business trip, gave us a suite at the Caledonian Hotel. The suite was bigger than our first apartment. It was great. We still look up at the suites windows from the street below and call it ours.

In 10 years we've had: two kids, one dog, four homes, three cars, eight jobs, one bed, two mattresses, several dead houseplants, one set of pots and pans, vacations in four countries and a whole lot of fun and frustration. Isn't that what marriage is all about?

pict0875

oh, and there's not one wedding photo where everyone is looking in the same direction...this was the best of the lot.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

My First Official Half Nekkid Thursday Picture!!!

Here I am. This is my First HNT photo on offer (With permission from the Hubs!). Hubs made a bee line for the computer when he saw the picture, "There's nipple there, you're going to show nipple to everyone!" I said to him, "Forget the nipple: Look at my abs!!" So I'll instruct everyone to not pay much attention to the nipple and Look at MY ABS!!

I took this photo last week on my mobile phone and sent it to my Husband. He sent me a reply back saying he was never going to answer his messages while in a staff meeting again. His boss almost saw this. Well, now everyone can.


hnt

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

And cut.

Their plane should be taxing down the runway now sending them home. I'm glad it was only for two weeks. I don't think I could cope with any more. It may seem I went into this with a bad attitude, expecting the worst, but really, if I had been optimistic about this visit, I would be far more disappointed.

I had a laugh last night. We were over there offering help to pack and clear up the caravan, when I bring up the subject of money (SCREAM) and paying for repairs on the car. Mom says she wants us to split the cost of the repairs because one of the dents was ours from three years ago. True. Here's where I become stuck in the middle of a silent war between Mom and the Hubs.

Mom: I'm happy to pay for our damage, but one dent was yours. Will the body shop give a split the quote to cover work for our damage, and work for yours?

Hubs: We planned on selling the car in October when the MOT was up. Our dent wouldn't have stopped the car getting it's MOT but your damage will. I now have to get the panel fixed in order to get the car passed MOT and then sold!

Me: Yeah ok, I'll ask Hubs to do that right now, this afternoon. We need to have the work done really quick though, because the car is due to have it's inspection and new sticker by the 22nd of Oct., and we can't sell it until after it passes. It won't pass with a broken taillight. Actually, it's illegal to drive right now. But We'll get that quote done now, before you fly back home. Tomorrow. Good.

Mom: Good.

Hubs: You mean I have to go running all over the place getting the mechanic to rejig the quote? Why don't I just waste all of my days off running useless errands.

Me: Well, you could go and get that second quote from the guy your Dad recommended too.

Hubs: (Fuming Death Glare) sure. I'll go do that right now.

Me: Mom, We're taking the car and heading off. I need to be at home to wait for Sassy since Hubs will be taking the car around for re-quotes.

Mom: Oh. Ok. Will you come back later?

Me: I hope so.

So it turns out it was a good thing Hubs went to see the guy his Dad recommended, because he quote half the quote of the other garage. Mom was pleased, we're pleased and Phew battle diverted.

So later in the afternoon, we start thinking about dinner and what we want to do. We are still not sure what Mom is about and since we bought dinner the night previously, we didn't want to fork out again. Our finances have been hit hard over the past two weeks, and we didn't even go away. So frugal but fun = McDonalds. Not something we usually do, but as a treat for the kids. I phoned Mom on the way and said we were getting McD's and did they want anything, she said no. She said they were going to get something to eat at the restaurant in the park.

Now my jaw hit the floor. I was stunned. They had been complaining and moaning about the restaurant the whole two weeks saying it was too expensive. Everything converted into dollars and over $100 for a meal was ridiculous. Even thought they're on vacation, and meeting family for the first time, and we'd go halfway. The level of cheapness shocked and disgusted me. These people are not poor, they're not even frugal. They are cheap to the point that they deny themselves some simple pleasures in life. In your retirement years, with a hefty bank balance to enjoy, why deny yourself a nice cooked meal in a restaurant with family? So now, as we go off to have a McDonalds, they decide to have dinner in the restaurant, and not invite us? After all we've done for them...shocking.

I was really hurt by this. My Dad would've had a big, fun no expense spared meal to say our goodbyes. My Dad had class, fun and deep love for his family. He may not have been able to show it with affection and "I love you"s but he had his ways of making you know he cared. I miss that. I now see how much of my parent's marriage was my Dad's contribution. He kept Mom fun, now left to her own frugal self, and coupled with Swifty the Cheap; I worry she'll be denying herself the luxury of freedom afforded to her now in her time of no responsibilities.

So we arrive at the caravan, and have our McDonalds, they're not there. Still in the restaurant. Everything's packed up. Very empty.A half hour later they come back, all smiles. I asked them what they had, and they laugh.

They went over and looked at the menu, and decided to have a beer and and egg roll. An eggroll? Ok..whatever floats your boat. An eggroll. They were, however very surprised, to receive not a Chinese eggroll...but two fried eggs on a white bread roll. I laughed openly. It was quite deserved. Swifty didn't even eat his, he doesn't take to different things, he doesn't accept change well. One more smack of culture shock and I think he's now done. Done in by a fried egg sandwich.

I saw them just before they went into the taxi home. It was the first time I didn't cry to say goodbye to Mom. I'm not sure what that means yet.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

You can't raise your parents...

I've had a bit of a break from from Mom and Swifty, in that I've only had small doses of them over the week. Monday I didn't see them at all as they drove up to St. Andrews together for the day, which allowed a day of peace and rest to clear away the mess from Sunday and spend some time with the baby. Sassy had a play date and got to have dinner over her friend's house; lucky her.

I've tried to give our spare mobile phone (nokia 3330) to Mom to use in the caravan but the annoying thing refuses to charge. It wouldn't work in any of the room of the house or on any of the spare Nokia chargers we have. It was very particular and insisted it have it's own, original charger that it was born with in its box, which was at the Hubs's office. But after much fumbling and cussing, we got it charged up and ready. I had to give extensive lessons on how to use it. It's a normal, and quite possibly the easiest phone to understand, but I know she'll take one look at it and have no clue what to do with it, even though her phone is all bells and whistles in comparison. I think she blocks out simple stuff on purpose.

Tuesday I didn't know if they were going to come over or not, as they didn't have the phone yet, but they did pull into the drive around one o'clock. They brought three loads of laundry with them, which is fine, I offered the machine up to them anytime. Three loads means three hours. I made a pot of coffee but noticed anything I offered up to Swifty he refused. No drinks, no food. I was a bit put off, but figured, hey, one less dish or cup to clean. But then I noticed that if Mom ate something, he'd take it if she offered it. What a devoted wee dog he is, no? He was asking me about future renovation on our house and plans to extend. He thinks it's wrong that the only bathroom is upstairs, there should be one downstairs. "What if you were in a wheelchair?" he asked. I said "Then I wouldn't have bought this house." he continued with "But what if you end up in a wheelchair?" I ended this conversation with "I would be shit out of luck then I guess, or I could just move. I don't plan my life around the possibly of being wheelchair bound." Is this the difference between thirty years of life experience? I really find pessimists dull...

Yesterday they drove in at about Noon and we had a small lunch of toast and pate with coffee but again, Swifty wouldn't take anything I offered, but when mom gave him a plate he ate it. He also won't drink here, and I finally found out why. He doesn't like climbing the stairs to use the toilet. Mom drives him up the grocery store so he can use their toilet instead. *shrug* I'm not giving him a pot to use so, I'm glad he has a alternative. But I am starting to feel like typhoid Mary. I'm going to test him today If today he refuses my hospitality, but takes it from Mom, I'm calling him on it.

After much tooing and froing about what to do with the day I finally convinced them to go into Edinburgh for the day. Sassy had another play date and I had the evening free. Hubs was coming home early and would be there if Sassy needed him, but he was happy to have a few hours of the house alone to himself. So on the train we go. Swifty's impressed, saying he's not been on a train like this before, maybe one to Atlanta and they discuss it while I keep the baby from climbing under tables. Swifty made a comment about how surprised he was to see how rich Scotland was. He was expecting things to be older, perhaps shabbier than they are. He's amazed that there are so many new cars around, he's struggled to find an older model anything, He's a life long foreign car mechanic and cars are his passion. When we arrive in Edinburgh, he becomes quiet, and it's a reaction I understand. The city is beautiful.

We walk around a wee bit and then decide to take one of the open top double-decker bus tours around the city. I've lived here for 10 years, and have never done this so it was an adventure for all of us. The tour was about an hour long, and you can jump off the bus, see the sites and then hop on and continue the tour, it's great! They both really loved it, saying it was the best bus tour they've ever been on; and they travel a lot so I finally thought, hooray he likes something. We went out for Chinese food which was all right, one of those all you can eat buffets for 7.99, I figured it would appeal to his conservative wallet and I was right. They were both unsure of all the curry type meals, and annoyed at having no hot Chinese mustard. I had to explain that it's something they do in America, and it's not Chinese mustard at all, it's usually English mustard they use...you know that yellow mustard that blows your head off and clears your sinuses...yup, it's English yellow mustard. They don't have duck sauce here either, or fortune cookies. I even feel deprived when there's no fortune cookie at the end.

I was beginning to think I'd been too over cautious. I've been waiting for him to screw up so I could point and go "AHHhhhhh...you screwed up! Ha!!" but he'd been alright recently. Then, as we were walking back to the train station to go home, a Black couple were walking towards us, obviously tourists themselves. Swifty says "Now, there's something I've not seen yet while I was here" and I looked around, thinking he had seen an old car or something else, but he was looking back behind him, watching the couple gaze up at the Scott Monument. Good ole' Swifty.

We had a half hour wait for the next train, and Swifty was tired so he had a seat, and Mom went with me to the shop to buy a bottle of wine. I asked her how she can put up with Swifty's racism. She made excuses for him, he's a man of his day, he knows the South before desegregation, he can't be changed...blah blah blah. I said she lived through desegregation too. "But not in the South it was different there." I reminded her that Boston had some pretty disgusting riots about integrating schools, and I saw the newsreels, she can't fool me New England wasn't a racist hub. I added that, she would never have tolerated any of her kids saying what Swifty says, and I can't see how an intellegent woman can let that behavior slide. Then I dropped it. I bought some wine.

Actually...it was really cool buying wine. I was in a Marks and Spencer Food shop, and selected two bottles. When I got to the counter, the man behind the till was looking at the bottle, looking at the monitor, looking at me, looking at the monitor, looking at the bottle, then at me again. I asked if everything was all right and said it should be 6.49. He smiled and agreed the price was correct. But, "Are you over 18?" I was the stunned bunny in the headlights. "Uhm, yeah." he follows, "Can I see some ID?" now wouldn't you know, the one time I haven't bothered to bring my license with me this happens...I mean this NEVER happens! I said I didn't have ID, but my mom and daughter were right over there if he wanted to ask. He gave me a weak smile, blushed and rang up the other bottle. I paid with my bank card (Which I said "Oh, look, I have switch, you have to be over 18 to have a switch card. Ha!" and he smiled, blushed and apologised.) I told him not to apologise: he'd made my day; and he did too! (Until I told another friend who said I was making up stories...jerk: you know who you are *grin*)

I'm still pretty sure, Swifty will somehow turn Mom so she won't visit me anymore either. It's my biggest fear, but if she can't even make an effort to correct his rude behavior, what hope is there that she'll defend herself for her family. I'm just going to have to let her make her own decisions, love her, and let her go. She'll always be welcome, and I'll have to be sure to make that message as blaring and bright as possible. I only hope she has enough fight in her to defend me, and the rest of us, the way she does for him.

BTW, I've not had time to give this post a proper edit so apologies for bad grammar and the like. No red pens on the punctuation please.

** on re-read, I sound dead posh buying wine and eating pate for lunch. But honestly, I'm not...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dorky Tuesday!!


Well I can't get the Hubs to take half-naked pics of me for HNT. But, my Mom brought over a whole bunch of picture of family for me, including a whole bunch of my school portraits. I was too busy scrubbing down surfaces and preparing for Mom's arrival to get this in last week for the official Dorky Tuesday, so forgive and understand. Here's two that I'm sure you'll love.

This is me at thirteen. It's pretty bad, and yes, that haircut made me cry. I asked for it to be high on the top, feathered down the sides, like Samantha Fox, but I got a mullet. With my hair it just wasn't going to work, and they hadn't invented straightening plates yet. My teeth are broken, I had my braces removed a few weeks earlier and hadn't had my front teeth fixed yet. My front teeth are built up because I broke them when I was nine by diving into the shallow end of the swimming pool and bashing my face on the tiled bottom. I get new teeth about every 5-7 years because, like a rabbit, they wear down. You can see that all my teeth are the same length here. I'm also sporting a huge horizontal strip sweater that does nothing to hide to the fact I'm a bit chubby. I had not learned the fine art of eyebrow plucking either, at least I didn't have acne. But...are my eyes looking in two different directions??

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This was me a year later at fourteen. A few big changes, I'd lost weight, become a Madonna fan, had a boyfriend who'd bought me the cross (I'm agnostic but it was the thought that counts). The picture has been spattered by something, and I couldn't clean it all off. I still haven't plucked my eyebrows, I still haven't figured out how to get Samantha Fox hair, (Although I had been coloring it, as you can tell by the frizzy fly away bits) and my frigging eyes are looking in different directions again! I swear I'm not cockeyed and never was. At least you can see I had my teeth fixed.

My family was not the display photo types of people, all of these came out of a large wooden chest, loosely held in a plastic bag, not even in albums. I'll admit, all my pictures, are now held in a plastic box in my closet, not in albums either.



14


Hope you enjoyed.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Double the Pleasure...Double the Fun!

Yesterday I had not only Mom and Swifty over, but the In-Laws too! Oh boy! A whole bunch of family, in my house. At the same time. And I had to play Hostess. I am no Monica on friends, I am not even close to Martha Stewart. I was praying for the end the second the alarm went off in the morning. Yes, I had set the alarm for a Sunday morning so I had plenty of time to prepare all the food.

I was setting out a cold buffet for everyone as my dining table is only made to seat four, six at a squeeze but we had eight, so plates on laps it was. The menu consisted of: California sushi rolls (made by me one plate regular, one plate egg free) potato salad; one regular one egg free for the two egg allergy family members, BBQ and Chinese spare ribs, cream cheese filled soft dates, selection of sliced hams and salami, a cheese board, some super walnut bread and rye bread, coronation chicken and smoked salmon. I also made a jug of home-made iced lemon tea and a pot of strong coffee.

Everyone liked the food, but as goes with me, I made way too much. Swifty was at a loss, he'd never seen food prepared this way and seemed scared to try anything new. He has the biggest sweet tooth and junk food diet I've ever seen in a grown man. I know he was the one who spit a date into my sink. I mean fine, if you don't like something, spit it into a napkin and dispose of it nicely in the bin, not spit it out in my sink where you know I'm going to find it when I clean the dishes up.

The Grown-ups all seemed to get along pretty well, and Swifty kept his colorful opinions to himself. Mom says he was being quiet because he gets nervous meeting family. He didn't want to go to Mass and meet Mom's family because he was worried they would all think he was dumb and only with Mom for her money. That type of behavior speaks volumes to me. So he was reserved. Not helped m uch by my Father-in-Law (FIL) who likes to joke.

Swifty: So have you lived in Scotland all of your life?

FIL: Not yet.

And so the conversations went on like that. Swifty wasn't up for a game of wit against FIL, and after all food was gone, and plates cleared, he talked my Mom into taking him to the Super Tesco's grocery store "For souvenirs". Now, I have no clue about grocery stores in the USA today, but I know when I lived there, they weren't well known for being a hub of souvenir shopping. The man has been here for 6 days now, he has been to 4 different grocery stores and spent about 2.5-3 hours in each of them, going up and down every isle. Hubs has said he'll not drive them to a large store again, he hates grocery stores (So does my Mom for that matter!) and hanging around watching Swifty meander around, constantly converting pounds to dollars and trying to decide if it's worth the cost of buying these cookies, or those drinks.

I'm now of the opinion that Mom is with Swifty because there must be a serious lacking of decent men in the 65-70 year old range for her to choose from. I don't know how she could be with a racist, a sexist and someone so not like herself. He doesn't even match her physically. She has loads of stamina and drive, He's in a walker, can't sit for long and is in constant pain from having bad hips (Yes I've had all the dirty sex jokes already, we've all tried to imagine how they must do it, and soon feel awkward, ill and very unsexy so please...don't go there)
he's a ...a...pudding. A big bowl of gush, big belly out boozer. I despair.

Yes he buys her flowers every day. That is sweet. He also calls her every day if they are apart. He wants more of a commitment from her, that she has so far, resisted (Still no comment on the ring). I can see he has a sense of humor, and they obviously have an affectionate relationship that they keep private. They are not public displays of affection types. They travel around to college football games together; I don't think Mom ever watched a football game until Swifty came along.

I guess, I've thought Mom would be with an intellectual type, having been one all her days. She has read almost every book in the library, keeps her mind sharp. I thought she'd find some tenured college professor whom she could travel and have deep thoughts with. Not discuss the quality of British beef over American and the cost therein. But I know, it's not my decision. It's none of my business. I still can't help being disappointed that she's settled for the first man who gave her flowers after my Dad passed away.

I'm going to shut up and smile pretty, But if he makes one more comment about my Mom getting fat I'll kick his walker.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Getting to know you...

So I have been watching and listening to Swifty. I'm getting a better idea of what he's like and who he is. Don't think for a minute he's not doing the same with me. I know a sidelines spy when I see one, I've been one all my life. Watching with mild interest to conversations going on around him, offering the odd nod to show he's paying attention, vaguely, while trying to decipher the accent of the news reader. He's becoming a bit more comfortable around us, certainly more with the Hubs than me; they've discovered they can talk about cars together. Isn't that how boys find friends, once you know you can share a common topic, that's it: you're now my friend?

I know he's being that extra bit cautious with me. He must be smart, or have been coached by my Mom. I think he knows I'm comparing him to my Dad. How can I not? My Dad was a very unusual man. Moody, that sums him up. Dynamic one minute, withdrawn the next. Energetic one minute, sullen the next. (This trait in other men drives me absolutely bonkers, and caused me to dump several boyfriends.) He was always seeking for great joy, and would often be sullen when a joy would disappointed him. I miss my Dad a lot; he died five years ago and I still haven't forgotten him. Not that I would forget him, but I still talk about him in present tense, I talk about him with the kids saying how much he loves them and always will. To me, he's not really gone, just not here.


A story from my past: When I was about seven, I was playing out during recess and overheard one of the boys call another boy a nigger. I didn't know why and hadn't heard the name before. Billy was one of four black children in my entire school. All the black children in my school had white parents. Billy just walked away while the other boys continued to play and laugh. Billy didn't seem upset, but he didn't want to play any more. I forgot about the whole incident and went back to playing cat's cradle.


During spring break later that year, my family went on a drive down to S. Carolina to visit some family friends. I think, I must have seen a black person from he car window and said "Is that a nigger, Daddy?" what I do remember is the car pulling over and me being grilled about where I had heard that word, what it meant, how ugly and disgusting it was and that I was never, EVER to say it again. I was suitably terrified to never use it again.


We all went to the local mall in S.C. and I was fascinated by the amount of black people around, and I would watch in silence, invisible as a child is when quiet and not causing a fuss about something. I heard all the black men calling each other this n-word. Don't they know it's an ugly and disgusting thing to say? My Dad just said, they can say what they want, but I was never to say it. I've followed this command ever since.


Now Swifty has not said this word. But he has made comments about how schools should be segregated to stop inter-racial marriages. He's asked about mixed marriages in the UK and what people's opinions are on the subject, and where would we get a black population from. I remember my Mom telling me last year that Swifty still had his deceased wife's clothes in his house. When Mom suggested he give them to the charity shop, he said it would bother him to see black people wearing his wife's old clothes. I'm sensing the tip of the iceberg here.

I'm not going to lie, but I've always had a fear and distrust of the South ever since I heard those black men call each other the n-word in the mall. Don't they know it's wrong? If the rules are expected to be followed and yet ignored by the very one's who find it offensive; I'm just not going to try. My Dad told me I can't change what other people do and say only what I do and say. I don't think I could ever figure out the rules of decorum in the South.

Swifty spoke to me last night about us moving back to the South because Hubs could get a job earning excellent money, and the schools and the land, and the scenery, the favorable weather...yes. I can tell he's very proud of where he's from (Appalachian Tenn.) and I can respect that. My Mom was gritting her teeth, wondering if I was going to offer up my opinions of the South (And you can blame Jerry Springer for the modern interpretations) but I didn't. I was very well behaved.

I have accepted that my prejudices are not found on personal experiences, and therefore are just fear based. I've made some excellent friends here who are from the South, and have softened my previous stance of "Never below the Mason/Dixon shall I go" what a stupid thing to say. I'm sorry.


I know my Mom has tried to change Swifty's beliefs, but they're life long and stuck on like stink. I just wonder; How long will she tolerate it?
Comment made lat night that made me think....

Mom: I'm determined to spend all my money, it's mine and my kids should take care of themselves. My Mom dies and didn't leave me anything, why should I be expected to leave mine on for them (Now, I'm not bothered by this, She worked really hard all her life, and she damn well deserves to be happy and enjoy the benefits of that. Good for her I say!)


Swifty: Well when I die, all of what I have goes to your Mom, and she can them give out to the kids.


Mom: I don't want it. When you die, I'm gone out of there so fast there'll be dust.


Swifty: No, you will stay there, and be happy.


Mom: No I won't. Not for a minute. I'll come here and live with Lyv and Hubs.
(Smiles from me and Hubs: please don't)

evidently, Swifty doesn't believe in wills.
I am still going to give him more of a chance. Mom has to love him for a reason, and I'm sure I'll find it.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Day two...

They had a great nights sleep and woke to stiff hips all around. I'm going to believe it was the below average mattress they slept on. I've offered up a mattress pad to help make the bed a bit softer and more comfortable. When we arrived at 11am, they were frying up bacon and eggs for breakfast.

They are obviously used to the glamour life, spoiled by their 36 foot motor home with all it's modern appliances. These folks were born in the 30's, and will have grown up using a whistling kettle on the stovetop, but could they look at the whistling kettle that comes with the caravan and know how to use it? Nope. I watched my mother put the metal teapot; with metal handle, on the stovetop and then complain about there being no pot holders to hold the scalding handle in order to pour water for a cup of *groan* instant coffee. I had to explain one was for boiling water, the other for brewing tea/coffee in. "Why can't they just have a coffee maker in here?" they also complained about the small cups; too dainty for a good cup of coffee. I don't know Mom, please consider it an adventure...like camping in luxury tent 28X12 foot tent with full bath/shower and two full bedrooms. The kitchen in this place is bigger then mine own at home.

After a small visit in the morning where Swifty grilled us about how we could ship various objects back to the USA and the cost and taxes involved and Mom and I laughed and huffawed about family (I said "I don't know" a lot) Hubs and I needed to run some errands so left them to their fun for a few hours.

Hubs and I went to the SuperTesco store and bought a caffetiere, a rapid boil kettle, a couple of scented candles, some bleach, sponges, four pack of big coffee mugs and a plastic spatula (They were using a metal one on a non stick pan pet peeve, pet peeve...my teeth were grinding but I kept quiet)

Here's a pic of the car...not so bad, but bad enough. Hubs had to take to body shop, where they look the car over Nat then say "We'll post the quote you in the post in a couple days." nothing like waiting for a bomb to drop through the letter box eh?

puntobash


Thursday, September 08, 2005

And the saga begins....

My normally boring wee life has become a sudden soap opera. Entertainment for those bored Gods who still hang about in obscurity, with a finger in the pot, having a stir.

I had a wee argument with a friend, partly brought on by the stress of what I know is coming my way, and other issues, so...Friend - You'll know who you are - I'm sorry. Suffering sensory overload and treated you badly. Hope you can forgive me J.

Maria, Maria, Maria....I'll have to e-mail you to show you how to delete chat logs. But not nice he's reading your pivate mail. Only glad he's not put the chat up on display. Women and wine, oh dear...*GRIN*

So.

Mom and her...well there's an issue. I don't want to use his name for his own protection, but he's more than a boyfriend (I mean they are both over 65) and if I say partner, someone will think Mom is a lesbian for sure, but she's not. I did notice a conservative sized diamond on her ring finger...I didn't ask about it. I'm not ready for that story, and I'm sure she'll tell me soon enough, to my utter joy. For my story adventures, I'll call him Swifty. Which is a joke as he's got replacement hips and a walker and isn't zippy in the slightest, so Swifty he is. For now. Until I get to know him better.

They arrived without any hassles, lost luggage or illness which is a great start. They are, of course, exhausted. Our first challenge was to try and get a car rented for them. So once all luggage was retrieved off we set to the bar of different rental companies. Hubs had looked online and knew he could get an automatic wee car for about 60-80 pounds a week. Not bad, we'll pay for it for them. BUT, when we get to the counters, the figure jumps to £650!! Talk about rape. Turns out, online prices are well different from ones quoted with person live at counter. £650 was more than the cost of their accommodation for the two weeks. We walked away figuring we'll get a car online when we get home, and go collect later on.

Once home, the need to find a rental car became even more elusive. Seems there's no small cars available in all of Fife - only luxury cars, that are stupid expensive. We own two cars, one is automatic, but on an insurance company that won't cover foreign drivers, the other is a manual and on an insurance company that loves foreign drivers! With both Swifty and Mom having aged hips, I figured the clutch would be to uncomfortable for them. When suggesting they could drive my punto around, mom said she'd be fine with it, and it would only cost us £50 to add her as additional driver. A win/win situation all round.

We get it all sorted within a half an hour and Mom has the car. Great stuff. We get them over to the caravan park (A super nice one not trashy one. Has luxury pool, spa gorgeous views across the Forth to Edinburgh, a four star restaurant; I took great care in selecting a nice place for them to vacation.) and mom drove the car just fine, didn't stall it once which made me feel real jealous because that car hates me and I feel like it tries to run away from me. It senses disdain.

They get a few things from a small shop, after thier day, they want a drink; which I can understand. Bourbon and cokes on ice, and they have a we rest after I help unpack everything. We needed to fill the frige with provisions, and Swifty being a Wal*Mart fan wondered if there was a super Wal*Mart nearby. Well...there was an Asda supermarket...as close as it gets. Mom did just have a drink, and Hubs suggest he drive Mom to the shop. Mom insists she perfectly fine, one drink is not going to make her drunk (Um, Mommy, two fingers of bourbon, after 8 hour flight and no sleep for almost 24 hours is not a safe mix, but you're not going to listen are you...no? yeah. OK.) On getting into our cars (oh yes, all of us need to go 4 adults and 2 kids and two cars full for filling of 3 cubic foot fridge with freezer drawer) It's a short drive.

We get into the parking lot, meet up and, Swifty says Mom crashed the car. What, hahaaaa nice joke there Swifty. I was watching the whole time, she didn't crash anyone. Yes she did. When backing out of the parking space at the caravan, she backed right into the caravan behind hers. She dented the rear panel and smashed out the rear light assembly. She crashed my car in less than two hours of being put on the insurance. They laughed about it, like heehee, aren't we silly. I know they were embarrassed, and have offered to pay for the repairs. It's still drivable, she didn't break the bulb, but....FUCK!

Hubs has been very, very understanding...he..he even laughed. I think he may be having a quiet episode, but I'll take this over any other crap one might expect. Trouble is, deductible on foreign driver insurance is £500. So if Mom had only crashed a little harder, put some real effort into it, we could totaled the car, but as it is...that may not happen. We'll find out today.

13 days of happy families and smiling-cheek ache to go.

Monday, September 05, 2005

I don't need encouragement to make a fool of myself...

Well, as I've been asked my Maria and Maja (Ok Maja didn't say the words, but she mentioned checking me out) to show my new bra being worn as a hat, Who am I to disappoint? I never disappoint. (Well, maybe LBB, but only because I put my shirt back on for the hat pic.) Please understand I have just come home from the gym, am extremely red faced still and have no cosmetics on my face; so I'm not my usual sultry self, but the everyday big-cheeks cuteness I despise so much. Also please ignore the fact I'm not a swimsuit tanner. thank you. Oh, and I did warn you it was an ugly bra. It's a Granny Bra. It's just...well it works, while at the gym, bouncing was at a complete minimum.

Here ya go this is me in the ugly bra. (As my arms are only so long this is the best I could do)

yikes

And the hat...

Told ya so.

Hope that makes someone smile this Monday.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I'm not bragging...I swear!

Had a day of shopping for the boring essentials. Needed new underthings. I've been putting it off for far too long. After pregnancy with it's shapeless giganta-pants and non-underwired plain but supportive bras, and the post-pregnancy giganta-pants and almost fun novelty of the pop-down cup nurning bras; it was time to accept the fact that the return to meness is now complete, I need to update the knicker drawer. Well, that and Aughra forced me to take a good hard look in there. I was suitably horrified. So off I go to the shops.

I try
John Lewis (please have a giggle at the Spanx high waisted power pants) first because they have a dedicated bra fitter whose main job is to pop boobs into bras, molest women mercilessly and then tell you it's not right. I made my appointment (Yes, she's that good!) and was subjected to an assault upon my person I could only dream of by someone taller, stronger and masculine.... sorry...was having fun in that daydream, but as it was, I was fondled by Natalie the 55 year old, 5foot high grandmother who was gibbering away to my daughter in her pram while snapping bra straps across my back and sides.

She came in and measured me up and asked me the question I was dreading..."What sized bra are you wearing right now?" Uhm..heehee. This is a pre-baby bra...it's a 38E. She rolled her eyes at me. "You're wearing the wrong size by a long shot. I'm fitting you for a 38FF." My jaw hit the floor. I looked down at myself...
no way! they just dont look that big. I thought she must be wrong. I got my mobile phone and sent a text to Husband who was in the electronics dept. eyeing up laptops and suchness: 38FF. Yikes!!

Natalie came back with four style to try and after much pulling, tugging and bounce testing and squishing she announces "Nope, not working. none of these look right. OK, I'm off for the 36G, be right back."
I could only stare at the door as Natalie locked it behind her. Did she just say 36G?? That can't be right. Surely that's what the really big, fat, grossly obese ladies wear. Not me...I'm not really...I can't be...it's a joke. She's winding me up! I've not had fakies put in...these are my...these are mine. Boobs are supposed to shrink away after having babies, and breast feeding and all that...not get bigger! I realised I was having a mini-panic attack. I sent another text to Husband: Correction. 36G.

Natalie came back and we tried on another half dozen or so bras, but at this point I had lost interest, I was still in shock. Natalie says "I think you are between the two sizes, Here's a style you can take away today and stop wearing that bra you came in with." she handed me a bra that's incredibly boring, plain white, boulder holder styled. with a bow in the middle. It looked just like my first bra twenty years ago, but huge. "I'll make an appointment for you to come back in four weeks and we'll resize you again. I don't want to let you buy anything more because you'll be wasting your money. I'm very certain you'll be a 36G. Well, one of them is anyways." I stopped at that, Huh??? What did you say? "Well, I'm assuming your children prefered one breast over the other, and your breasts are now slightly different sizes, but it's not a worry, very common."

Now I've found out, my boobs are two different sizes. Really, should I be surprised? I mean my feet are two different sizes, so why the hell not the boobs too? So in four weeks time, I'll be back there at John Lewis meeting Natalie for another session of breast abuse. I did talk to her about what I can expect to pay for four bras in the 36G size range. At that question she fixed me with a look and put her hands on both my arms, as if to keep me from running away "You can pay up to £30 per bra. So expect to pay about £120-140 pounds if that's how many your needing." and shen she let me go, I said thanks, and I ran.

I'm stunned. Bunny in the headlights...haha headlights. Sorry, but shit! And I thought I was a low maintence kind of girl. Let me also say this, 36G = ugly ugly bras!! I'll not find any pretty bras in this size, unless I want to part with some serious cash. Or if I do find pretty 36G bras, they're not meant to be worn for very long...which is ok I suppose. Maybe I'll get a couple "feel pretty" bras. I just don't know right now. To make up for the ugly bra I got sent home with, I did manage to buy some new knickers that will make me feel pretty in the interum.


You A,B, and cup ladies...I envy you. Laugh at me if you will, I'm laughing too.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

I have some super friends by the way...

I got an e-mail from a long time friend who lives in Kansas. She, like the rest of us, was upset by the images on the news about Katrina survivors and the incredible injustice of lack of government response to help. This was her idea, and isn't it nice to have connections in high places! Please follow this link for some ideas on how you can help and read about what a smart and loving woman my friend Sarah is!

Lawrence to adopt Family of hurricane victims

I'm going to contact our local council to see what I can do along these lines. I don't know if any of our local banks would be willing to part with their cash but won't hurt to ask.

I just wonder...why wasn't there plan in place to deal with this sort of disaster? It's not like we aren't hit with hurricanes every year. And what about tornadoes and drought, volcanic eruptions and C'mon! The USA is a hotbed of natural disasters waiting to happen. I mean there must some Cold War documents that tell the military how to properly evacuate a city after a bomb was dropped or something.

Right...I'm off to get a sash and collection tin.


Update: Our Friend Ken asked:

Sarah, I think I need to know more about it first, in case I am asked. What exactly does Lawrence mean by "adopting" a family? Are they providing rent-free housing? If so, what property owner is providing it; how were such accommodations obtained? Or are the cash donations going to pay rent for them? Is the city going to attempt to find temporary employment for the working adult(s) of the family? Is it also providing other needs such as local transportation, use of a car, free use of telephones to help deal with reconstruction and resettlement issues back home. Suppose my town says that they are already creating shelters for displaced families (and they are), and asks me how this would differ. What do I tell them? Does Lawrence also have any group shelters for others? If some are housed in group shelters such as a community recreation center or a church fellowship hall, whereas one or more other families are "adopted" by the city and provided a rent-free single-family dwelling, it seems to me this creates a sort of class structure between refugees -- we treat some refugees better than others. Can you think of any way one would respond to that? (Ken later discovered: "I read today that we have 40 to 45 families from New Orleans being housed here in town. They're being provided with local jobs and their kids are being registered for school.")

Krista asked:

Wow...Sarah you really are a blue bird of happiness. I've been watching footage all week and I just want to help. I haven't decided exactly how but I know that being a diabetic and there being diabetics down there who haven't any insulin for about a week makes me want to contribute to that effort. Also those people down in the makeshift hospital in the New Orleans airport sick and dying with out proper medical care. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for showing me that regular people can and do make a difference.

Sarah's Reply:

Ken, I am so happy that your city is taking in so many families! My solution was more for smallish towns that haven't enough resources for more than a few families (a small town in Minnesota wants to do this too! But they are VERY small and may only be able to support one!). Let me see, though, if I can address some of your earlier questions. Housing -- yes, free housing for a little while (in a suite hotel). This offer came from the Marriott; I am not sure how the mayor convinced them, but I don't think it was very difficult. Some landlords have been approached by the mayor and have responded with free or greatly reduced rents for a few months or longer. Chamber of Commerce is assisting adults with getting jobs in the community. Cash donations will help in this initial stage. Other merchants and individuals are providing donations-in-kind, including food, transportation, furniture, etc. Shelters for families are a wonderful thing and very very necessary right now, especially in states so close to the action. Possibly some families are not going to want (or need) to go anywhere else from a shelter -- they will want to stay there until they can rebuild their homes. However, others who were poor to begin with and who have lost everything are no more able to rebuild there than anywhere else. Some of these want to relocate on a more permanent basis. Others want some time to decide, and living in a home rather than a shelter for a few months appeals to them. Lastly, I can imagine a situation in which one member of the family will stay down there and work on the rebuilding, while the rest (children, at least) would stay in a more settled spot, work, attend school, etc. It seems the folks at the local newspaper (where Dan works) were thrilled by the idea. (Dan was stopped several times Friday by some higher-ups there.) Since they also own the cable TV/internet and one of our phone companies, I think they'd certainly be willing to help with a donation of those services. Anyway, hope this helps -- please let me know if you have any more questions!


So, obviously we in the UK or elsewhere in the world can't "adopt a family" in the same sense, but we can donate towards supporting the housing, and medical for those who are adopted. People can ask the Govt over and over everyday that passes when will help come and why isn't it there yet, and still it's another day without shelter, food and everything else. Sarah says they need a downhome, bluegrass solution where everyone lends a hand to help where they can. I'm going to send a letter to the local newspapers forwarding this on to see if they'll assist too. *shrug* what can it hurt?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Louisiana

I've spent a few hours in the pre-dawn (damned insomnia) watching CNN and finding out what's going on for real. Absolutely shocked. Ashamed of the fact that help wasn't there the second the winds subsided. I share Candi's comments:

"GEORGE BUSH'S GOVERNMENT DO SOMETHING YOU MUTHERFUCKERS!!!! THIS IS A FUCKING DISGRACE!!!!!! IRAQ IS THE FUCKING HILTON COMPARED TO LOUISIANA MISSISSIPPI!!!!!!!!!!! ASSSSHHHOOOOLLLLEEEEESSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

She has a way with words that makes me weak at knees.
I got an e-mail from my brother saying everyone in Louisiana was fine and I shouldn't worry. I was confused...then remembered I have an Aunt and cousin's and second-third and more family there I've not seen since I was around ten, all on my Dad's side; my family is distinctly Matriarchal.

I felt very guilty, relieved and disconnected. I want to do something to help but have no clue what I can do other than pray right now. As soon as the UK sets up some form of relief fund, I'll chuck what I can into it.