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NotJustAHatStand

People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*
 

60 Years Young

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today would have been my dad's 60th birthday. When I was little, I thought that 60 was OLD. And I mean, cardigan, slippers and pipe OLD. But my dad wasn't old. Far from it.

He used to take a kite up to St Andrews and fly it on the beach. He owned, and loved, all the Harry Potter books, and he read The Hobbit and the Lord Of The Rings for the first time when he was in his 50's (after I pestered him about it for months). He owned a set of Boomwhackers, which he took to teambuilding sessions he was running (presumably to the bemusement of his colleagues). He said it was for breaking the ice, but I suspect he just enjoyed having a muck-about with them. He loved larking about with the cats, and if he'd lived to see any grandchildren he would've had a ball with them as well. He gave anything a go, and he was very into gadgets and new technology. Despite having a posh car for many years, he took the bus to work in his last job, listening to his trusty iPod and reading. He loved every second of it, and marvelled at the iPod and how it had revolutionised the way he listened to music.

He definitely subscribed to the notion that you're as young as you feel.

I remember the day he died like it was yesterday, but one of the most vivid memories I have is of driving back from the hospital along the M8 to Edinburgh, in the dark. Although it was the 13th of November, the good people of Broxburn and Uphall hadn't yet got bored of setting off fireworks, and all I could see for miles were fireworks of every description exploding silently in different colours. In the darkest moment of my life thus far, I was fascinated by them and how pretty they looked from a distance. I watched, thinking of my dad and his next great adventure. For I think that's how he would have viewed it.

Happy Birthday Pop.

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This is a Test

Monday, January 29, 2007

Nothing to see here. Move along now, move along.

Evil? Moi?



You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

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Who Needs Topic and Structure?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

...When you can have randomness and lots of links?

It's been a while since I updated. I've had a busy old week and ordinarily I would have made myself sit down and post something. This may not be the best approach, given that when I do so, I end up writing something like this. Or this. And office-trumping, testicle-chomping posts are of no interest to man nor beast, are they now?

Anyway, this time I do have some news items to announce.

#clears throat#

We booked our honeymoon on Thursday. And I have refrained from posting about it, for THREE FULL DAYS. I will not become one of those brides that talk of nothing but their wedding and expects other people to find it as fascinating as they do.* However, the honeymoon is acceptable blogging fodder, as it's really just a fancypants holiday, and why spend all that money on it if you can't make people pig-sick hearing about it?

We're going to Malaysia (as I was hoping we would), or rather to an island off the coast of Malaysia, in the Langkawi Archipelago. The hotel we're staying in has a Reading Room stuffed full of books, where they serve high tea in the afternoons, including home-baked scones and jam. And there's a big empty beach on the doorstep where friendly little waiters bring cool drinks and palm leaves to fan you with**. Could it be any more perfect for me? I suspect Fiance may have to drag me out of there by my feet when it's time for us to leave. There's a big ol' patch of jungle to explore, and ancient limestone caves housing colonies of bats.*** There's also a lake that supposedly helps barren women to conceive. Given my near-pathological fear of childbirth, I'll be steering well clear of that one.

So it's all booked and sounding wonderful. We just have to pay for it now.

In other news, I went to see Casino Royale last night. I wasn't expecting to like Daniel Craig as Bond but I was surprised. He did a fair bit of pouting, which irritated me a little, but then (warning male readers: gratuitous torso-shot) he took his top off and all was well. Yes he's fair haired, and Bond was dark in the books, but hair colour isn't exactly central to the character is it? And anyway, a change is as good as a rest - Danny Boy gets the thumbs up from me. Judi Dench was typically good as M, the Bond girls were glamorous, and the bad guy was suitably creepy. The plot ticked along nicely, although I reckon they could have lost 15 minutes off the end. My rear was getting a bit numb by the end.

On the way home we had our own Bond moment when my mum was surprised by a large speed bump in the road, which she went over at approx 40mph. We nearly took off. In her defence, it wasn't marked with the white arrows you normally get and there were no signposts. However she was so surprised that she went over the next one at nearly the same speed (thankfully the road was deserted).

*Please tell me if I begin to display ANY symptoms of morphing into Bridezilla. Please. For my own good.

**Maybe I'm expecting a bit much with the palm leaves?

***I love those little guys! Although the Boy keeps reminding me they're probably the kind that attach themselves to your face with a vice-like grip in order to suck your blood, and not the cute little critters we get here in Blighty.

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The Rellies

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm currently re-writing my maternal grandmother's life story. There's only one paper copy that I know of, which was written years ago on a typewriter by my dad, so I'm preserving it electronically.

Things I have found out that I didn't know before:
  • My great-grandad used to work in Deuchars Brewery (strangely, now A Certain Boy's favourite beer). He got a splinter in his finger from the beer barrels, and this caused an infection. He was sent to the Royal Infirmary, where they decided to amputate his finger. In Outpatients. He then walked home. (They were hardy men in them days.) For the rest of his life he would complain of pain in the missing finger.
  • My great-granny worked as a cleaner in the Oddfellows Hall on Forrest Road. (I came along later, when the Oddfellows Hall was a pub called Bar Oz, and got thrown out for being too drunk. Bar Oz has recently changed back to being Oddfellows, and I pass it most days on my way to the sandwich shop.)
  • My great-granny's family in Brora, Sutherland, used to send rabbits down on the train. They would be taken to the butcher to be skinned, and stewed for dinner.
  • My great-grandad was in the Home Guard during the Second World War, one great-aunt trained as a joiner, the other worked in a munitions factory, and my great-uncle was in the RAF. He got shot down over enemy territory, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal and a parachute, from which his sisters made many blouses and scarves. My granny, being a bit younger than her siblings, worked in a factory preparing cat-gut for use in surgery on the Field Hospitals.
  • My granny was engaged to another man when she started seeing my grandad.
  • I knew that my grandad wasn't present when his first child, my mum, was born, but I didn't know this was because he was at home, sleeping! Priorities eh.

I've loved reading about my great grandparents, and my granny's life before my grandad came along. My grandad has also written his life story, which I intend to read as soon as I can get my hands on it. I hate the thought of my grandparents taking all this knowledge and all these stories with them when they go - if we don't record it now it will be gone forever, and that would be a sin.

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The Best News A Girl Can Get

Saturday, January 20, 2007

As if I needed any more proof that there really is no going back now, I bought my wedding dress today. And the deposit cheque we sent the venue has been cashed.

So, um, I guess I'm getting married then...

#puts head between knees, breathes deeply#

Buying the dress was a bit of an anticlimax to be honest - I'd already decided on the one I wanted, so it was just a matter of trying it on one more time* and getting measured for it. I had been dreading that last part as I've put on a bit of weight in the last couple of years but I was pleasantly surprised.

*It's still beautiful.

Obviously you see women of all shapes and sizes trying on dresses in bridal shops, and I realise that I'm at the smaller end of the scale. This doesn't help however, when you go into the harshly-lit changing room, your sales assistant following you (looking like a walking mountain of silk, lace and taffeta) and she comes right into the cubicle with you. Then tells you to strip down to your undies and stands, waiting, until you do it.

I didn't realise they did this, so I was very grateful to a friend of mine for forewarning me. God only knows how I would have embarrassed myself if she hadn't. But it can be quite humiliating standing there in nothing but bra and knickers, with someone you only met 2 minutes before (and who is not a medical professional), no matter what size you are.

Anyway, the lady who measured me today owned the shop, and she designs and makes her own dresses as well as stocking lots of other designers (although mine isn't one of her creations). So I suppose you could say she knows her stuff, and after comparing my measurements to a little chart she announced, to the whole shop, that I was a '...perfect size 8! Except smaller in the bust.' I knew I was smaller in the bust than, well, most people, however I DIDN'T know that I had a 26" waist.

So what did I do after receiving this information? I went and celebrated with a piece of cake.

And now I am crowing about it on the internet. Because I figure I should make the most of it - I reckon by the time I hit 30 all the chips and cakes and bacon rolls I have eaten in my life (and there are A LOT) will catch up with me and I'll look like the Goodyear Blimp.

But for now? Perfect size 8, thank you very much. I may have a badge made.

Take that, high-street retailers*, with your tiny sizes and skeletal models!

*TopShop, I'm talking to you.

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And the prize for Worst Fiancee Ever goes to...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

...um. Me!

The boy called me at work today to ask what was for tea. He does this every day. My answer is always 'dunno', so it really is a pointless exercise. Except today he also wanted to remind me that we'd forgotten our anniversary again this year. Generally we remember a few days too late, both feel a bit guilty for a day or so, and then forget about it until a year later and we realise we've forgotten again. This doesn't bother me too much, because a) it's kind of traditional now and b) it's not really a REAL anniversary. I mean, it's not like it was our first date or anything. Or the first time we... you know. YOU know.

It's just the day we bumped into each other in the pub.

But when he told me this today, I had a sort of niggly feeling in my head. Like there was something else I should be remembering. It was only about half an hour ago, that I realised what it was.

Our anniversary is the day after the night I accosted him at the jukebox.

Tuesday, it was. The 16th January.

The day I posted this.

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High School Sweetheart

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Drama Queen, Elisabeth and Petitfilous look like they're having such fun on the how-i-met-my-boyfriend bandwagon, that I'm jumping on (also because I'm tired and can't think of anything witty to write). Feel free to skim.

The Early Days

When I was a schoolgirl I used to have Maths on the ground floor. The classroom faced out onto the path to the unofficial smoking area, taken by the bad people on the way for a fag. There was one boy, in the year above me, who had a free period at the same time as I had Maths, so I'd see him sloping past with his mate for a sly cigarette. I used to point out to my friend Jenny that this boy was passing: 'ooh look it's C!' (she must have got so bored of this -literally every week) that is was blatantly obvious I fancied the pants off him. He was in the year above me, and he was one of the rebellious crowd who smoked and drank loads, spoke back to teachers (gasp!) and skived lessons. I meanwhile, was part of a group that, while we weren't angels, went to classes, didn't smoke (at least I didn't), and only drank as much as we thought we could get away with (which admittedly was a fair bit, but still, you know what I mean). We had no mutual friends really, as our two groups didn't mix.

I'd been going out with someone for a few months, and had only just plucked up the courage to end things with him (which consisted of avoiding him, and not phoning him for long enough that he guessed and made it pretty easy for me to dump him), when a friend of mine said that immortal line to me: 'I know someone that fancies you'. Assuming it was going to be another of the geeky guys of my own age I had attracted thus far, I wasn't all that excited.

But then she told me that the person who fancied me was, in fact, C. The one who taunted me every time I had Maths, with his heady mix of bad-boy-smoker and cute-bespectacled-boy-with-big-blue-eyes... And apparently he'd had his eye on me for a couple of months (he'd spied me during our Higher English exam. He later told me what I had been wearing that day. He could still tell you what I was wearing - the one and only time he's ever paid any attention to my clothing!).

Anyway, I was completely gobsmacked as I had no idea he even knew I existed. When I heard this I looked over to the Other Side Of The Common Room (territory of those in sixth year), and there were those big blue eyes watching me from behind an upside-down copy of Vogue. He lowered his magazine and gave me a wee smile. I smiled back, and from that moment on I was smitten. I told the friend that yes I supposed she could give C my phone number. I wasn't fussed really. Trying to play it cool...

'OhmyGOD, C wants MY phone number!'

It was just too bizarre. By the time I got home that day I was convinced it was all a cruel joke. But I was to be proved wrong - half an hour after I got in the door, the phone went. I answered it, not even thinking that it might be C. It was of course, and I sputtered and 'emmm'ed my way through the call. We arranged to meet up the following night. And for the next six months, I was deliriously happy - we were like Cory and Topanga, but not quite as preppy. And not American. But it didn't matter because I had managed to bag the man of my dreams.

The In-Between Days

Then it all went horribly wrong. He called me up out of the blue, not long after our six month 'anniversary' and DUMPED ME. He said he didn't want a girlfriend. And that was it - over. I was heartbroken.

Later that year my friends and I went on a girly holiday where I was, truth be told, a bit of a tart. I then started uni, and had a few boyfriends, but nothing serious. I was in my second year at uni (a year or so after The Dumping) when my friends and I decided to go to our local pub in the town where we all went to school. It was a popular weekend haunt for lots of people our age, but I'd never bumped into C there. I saw him that night, for the second or third time since he'd binned me.

We'd been there a while, and it was getting close to last orders when he stoated in and went over to join his mates on the other side of the pub. After about half an hour of agonising 'will I/won't I' (with my friends cheering me on) I saw him go over to the juke box. Seizing my chance I walked over, heart pounding (the eyes of my own friends boring into my back, and his friends watching me from the front), to say hello. I remember my first words because they were so stupid, and a little nippy:

'Are you not speaking?'

He answered that of course he was speaking, and how was I doing? We chatted until the pub closed. It turned out that he'd gone out for drinks in Edinburgh after work, and for some reason he'd decided to come to the pub instead of going home as he would normally have done (he lived close to the train station so the pub was a bit of a detour). He invited me round to his house the following night and I agreed, trying desperately not to look too eager (the bastard had DUMPED me after all). After spending that night wide awake and the following day bending my best friend's ear with 'it was meant to be!', I went round. Within about five minutes of me getting there I had abandoned any pretence and we were most definitely back together. He opted to dispel any doubt about this by kissing me soundly for most of the rest of the night.
Today

That was nearly eight years ago, and we're now planning our wedding (which I think I may have mentioned...?!). We've had our ups and downs like everyone else, and we nearly called it quits a couple of times, but I love my bespectacled boy. He knows exactly how to make me feel better when I'm down, and he doesn't laugh at me when I cry at nature documentaries. I can't imagine my life without him.
So there you have it, our story so far...

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The Accidental Tourist

Monday, January 15, 2007

I occasionally do something of such monumental stupidity I stagger even myself, but this one takes the biscuit. And as I've had something of a theme going on recently, I thought I'd continue it with this post, taken from my archive of back-up posts...

When I was 19 my best friend and her sister were going to stay with family in Boston for a couple of weeks, and they invited me to go with them. All my family holidays had been in the UK and I'd had one girly holiday in Majorca, so I was rather excited - America seemed much more glamorous. As it would only be my second trip abroad I was quite glad we would be staying with grown ups who would make sure I didn't get on the wrong flight home and end up in Estonia instead of Edinburgh.

The friend's uncle and aunt lived about an hour outside of Boston, so they suggested we stay in a hotel in the city for a night, to let us do some shopping (and give them a bit of peace and quiet probably).

We took them at their word and shopped. A lot. We had exhausted the shops in the Harvard Square area, so we went off to a shopping mall a bit further afield. Once we were done we hailed a yellow cab to take us back to Harvard Square. Now for some stupid reason I had my passport with me in a little backpack, along with most of the money I had left. I also had lots of shopping bags. You can probably guess what's coming. When we pulled up outside the hotel I gaily hopped out of the taxi, making sure I had my precious shopping bags (new jeans! precious!), and the taxi drove off. It was at this moment that I realised my backpack containing my passport and money was disappearing round the corner in the back of a yellow cab.

I mouthed something incoherent whilst pointing and looking horrified, which alerted my friends to the fact that something was terribly wrong. I then found my voice and shrieked 'MY BAG!'

The minutes after this went shooting by like a film that has been speeded up - we saw the taxi turn right and because we knew we were in the middle of Harvard Square, figured there was a decent chance of flagging the driver down on the other side if we ran in the opposite direction. So we tore off at full tilt down this busy street, until we came out onto the street where we expected our taxi to emerge.

We came out onto the street, which was a sea of yellow cabs, stretching as far as the eye could see.

Of course they were all identical, all possible contenders for the one we'd just been in - it was like a scene from a movie. When I saw this I was sure all was lost, and that I was going to have to ask my friend's uncle, who was already being very kind by putting me up, to take me to the Embassy to get another passport. I had no idea where the Embassy was, or how much I would have to pay for another passport. Or even if they would GIVE me another passport, as I clearly should not have been in a foreign country without being accompanied by a sensible adult.

Thankfully the driver of our cab had indeed pulled out onto the street we were on, recognised us (I don't know how because by that time we were shiny-faced, wild haired and ever so slightly freaking out) and pulled over - for which I will be eternally grateful. He opened his window and drawled 'all right girls?' but before he'd finished the sentence I'd already dived into the back of the cab and retrieved my precious bag. I may have kissed him, I don't remember as I think I was in a mild state of shock at how stupid I was.

Thankfully, this ranks highly in my moments of stupidity, and I've never actually boarded the wrong plane, or asked a suspect-looking gentleman with a fake beard to take a picture of me with my lovely new camera.

But I'm still young(ish). I have plenty time for new and ridiculous adventures.

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Another of my not-so-clever moments

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I made macaroni cheese for dinner tonight. I make it with red onion, course grain mustard and bacon so I always have a few saucepans on the go. Tonight, my smartness got the better of me and I had a bit of an accident. I was sauteeing the onion, whilst frying the bacon and stirring the cheese sauce, and I had the macaroni in the big saucepan, ready to be cooked once the cheese sauce was ready.

All ok so far.

So there I was, stirring my cheese sauce, and it seemed to be taking a while to come to the boil. I turned the heat up a bit to hurry it along (I was hungry and the Antiques Roadshow was on*).

Stirring, stirring, stirring. Nothing doing. I turned the heat up again.

After a couple of minutes, I started to smell something burning. I thought it was the onion. No, the onion's fine. I thought it might be the bacon. Nope, bacon's fine. It wasn't until smoke started pouring out of the big saucepan holding the dry macaroni, that I realised why my cheese sauce wasn't coming to the boil.

Yes, I came (too late) to the same conclusion that you probably came to 4 lines ago - I had the wrong gas burner on. I had the dry macaroni over the biggest gas burner, which was on a high heat. For about 10 minutes. The kitchen filled with smoke, and when I put some water into the saucepan to prevent it from catching fire, the water boiled. Straightaway.

The macaroni is black and there is a layer of it welded to the bottom of my most-used medium sized saucepan... It's currently soaking in boiling water, but I'm not holding out much hope - did you know burnt-on macaroni is like effing concrete?! Well, you do now. I tell you, it's lucky I'm here to find these things out for you - thanks to me regular readers now know that human hair can withstand a chemical bath in hair dye developing fluid, and that burnt-on macaroni can stop bullets.

And, my friends, that knowledge is priceless.

*I know, I shouldn't admit to that but I don't care - I LOVE the Antiques Roadshow!

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Not Just A Medical Marvel

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It seems my cat Coco has been hiding something from me. I've always thought she was a bit daft (her brain can only be about the size of a ping-pong ball judging by the size of her head), but she's proved me wrong, for she has been keeping a stash.

Last night I was watching TV and I saw Coco at the food bowl. Nothing unusual there, but the next minute I heard something rattling along the wooden floor. This normally means she's playing with something she's not supposed to play with (nails, cigarette lighters, earrings etc) so I went over. At first I thought she had been sick, but then I realised I was looking at a pile of fresh cat food, hidden behind the scratching extravaganza (which was a Christmas present for the cats from Fiance's mum).

I had caught Coco in the act of adding to her stash. I don't know how she managed to transport it over there -the only way she could do it is by carrying FOOD in her mouth, and NOT EATING IT. Coco has NEVER, to my knowledge, had anything even vaguely edible in her mouth without eating it. For pete's sake, she eats dust bunnies from the floor if I don't hoover often enough!

So I'm looking at Coco in a whole new light, wondering what else is going on in her wee head. I don't even know if cats are capable of such forward planning as to hide food and keep it for a rainy day, midnight snack or whatever. Maybe she's part squirrel.

I'm also wondering why she's taken to doing this - we feed the cats twice a day and more often than not they also get a DentaBit at some point as well (not to mention the dust bunnies and wood lice she eats off the floor), so it's not like she's underfed. Who knows, but it gave me a laugh last night and if it keeps Coco happy it's fine with me.

I thought this was a good opportunity to make use of the Flickr account I set up about a year ago, so I have made up my very first set, telling the story of my little genius cat and her stash of extra food. Be warned though, it only has three photos in it. It's a short story.

(I'm all better now by the way, still a bit snotty but I don't look or feel quite as hideous as I did yesterday. Which is a good thing, as the boy was starting to recoil from me in horror.)

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And today...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

...I am ill.

I have what I sincerely hope is a cold, and not the 'respiratory virus' that seems to have infected everyone south of Inverness. At the moment I just feel like I have one of my many colds, but I hear that that's how the nasty bug starts, so hopefully it doesn't develop any further. I wouldn't be surprised if it does end up being a virus though - we spent most of our night with the neighbours on Friday being coughed upon by the lady next door, who sounded like she might hack up a blackened lung at any moment (which really put me off my sausage roll).

Despite feeling crap when I got up today, I went into work and spent most of the day dreaming of lying under a blanket in front of a roaring fire. At lunchtime I took a break from staring moronically at my computer screen and went out for a bit of fresh air, thinking it would help. Instead I got rained on, and stepped in a big puddle. For the rest of the afternoon I sat at my desk and tried to look busy, whilst sniffling and applying Vaseline to my poor red hooter. I really am quite pathetic when I'm under the weather.*

*Fiance will vouch for this. I guarantee it.

ANYWAY, we booked a holiday last night!

I know, it's exciting isn't it?!

We'll have our honeymoon later in the year (which ISN'T booked yet) but C and I both felt that we couldn't wait till September to have a break. We're going away for a week with both our mums and the dog to a pretty little cottage on Skye. We plan to do some walking, lots of eating and drinking, and generally just chill out away from Edinburgh and any wedding-related stress. I'm really looking forward to it. I wasn't sure I would be - I love both mums to bits of course, but it can sometimes be difficult having two grieving widows to think about - but I genuinely am looking forward to going away with both of them. It helps that both of them seem to be quite positive and cheery now that the festive season is over.

The only slight downside is that I can't take my little cats with me. I'll be enlisting the help of the catsitter, Alison, to take care of them while we're gone. Roo and Coco love her - she jokes that it's because she rolls in catnip before coming round but I'm not so sure she's joking. I think they like Alison more than they like me.

Hopefully I will live to post another day, but for now I have a date with my sofa and a blanket.

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Rocking Robin

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Two posts in one day! The Ambassador is spoiling you.

It was reported today that Robin Cook's epitaph refers to his opposition to the war in Iraq, including the words 'I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of Parliament to decide on war'.

Robin Cook always makes me think of my dad. He knew Robin quite well (we used to get a Christmas card from him every year with a picture of the Houses of Parliament on it, which I remember being very impressed by). My dad was heavily involved in the Labour party for many years, long before Tony Blair became leader of the party, and Robin came to our house a number of times. I remember having a serious conversation with him about our goldfish.

I respected Robin for his stand against the Goverment (once I had grown up of course, and moved on from worrying about my goldfish), and I know my dad did too. My dad never really said much about Tony Blair and his Government, which was very unlike him - he wasn't backward at coming forward (as my granny would say). He stayed a member of the party long after he had given up on the campaigning side of things, in fact he was a member until the day he died, but I think he was disappointed in them and the fact that they had become mired in all the same sort of shite that the Tory government before them had.

Robin died in August 2005, and my dad in the November of that year. My dad wasn't able to go to Robin's funeral, which I think he was quite upset about. And if Robin had still been here in the November, I think he might have come to my dad's. It's strange, they were very similar in a lot of ways - both highly motivated achievers with a real social conscience - but their paths in life were very different, meeting for a period of a few years in the 1980's. Neither suffered fools gladly either - if their roles had been reversed, my dad wouldn't have stood for Tony's nonsense either.

The world lost two good men in 2005.

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It's De-Lurking Week! Throw off those raincoats and come out into the open! Although hopefully not with your man-parts showing...



I saw this via Miss Zoot and thought to myself: 'what better way for the writer of a small blog with no real theme or meaning to find out who her regular readers are, than by asking them to leave a comment as part of De-Lurking Week 2007*'. There are the usual suspects of course, Drama Queen, Sarah, Elisabeth, Stacey, and Cat, but on the assumption that more than five people read my blog, I want to know who the rest of you are. Even you over there, picking your nose (I'm not fussy, I'll take anyone).

*which is an American thing but it's also a blogging thing so who cares'

So, if you read NotJustAHatStand, leave me a comment to tell me how talented you think I am, and that you are the head of a large publishing house and want to sign me up for a three book deal. Or... Not. If you're not going to offer me a book deal or a large sum of money, just say hello - that's fine too.

Because look! Look how much fun this lady seems to be having!




She's pretty and all 1950's-like, she has lots of virtual friends, and I bet her husband has a really big schlong.

If you leave a comment, I faithfully promise that I'll visit your site (if I haven't already) and leave you lots of comments too! We can all give each other a lovely virtual hug and maybe make a few new virtual friends in the process.

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My Three Year Plan

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Fiance and I went to visit friends of ours today, who have a 1 and a half year old boy. The wee boy is lovely, and our friends have a ball being parents - they've both taken to it like the proverbial ducks to water. We always have fun playing too (the baby got Weebles for Christmas! Remember Weebles?! They wobble but they don't fall down!), and when we leave their house I always say to Fiance 'aww, isn't Baby cute, should we have one?'.

In the days when we had only been going out for 5 years, weren't even engaged yet, and our friends were tearing their hair out because Baby wouldn't sleep through the night, Fiance used to look really freaked out by this and say 'Umm, err... ooh look - a bird'. Now however, he actually considers the question and then he says, yes, at some point he would like to have a baby. At which point I say 'Whoa, hold on there Mister, I was JOKING!'

This happens every time we go there. I know what Fiance's answer will be, I know that I am pretty much in the same place as him (i.e. I'd like one, but I'm not ready for it yet), but it's kind of a ritual now. The damn baby's just too cute - he has this effect on me.

Anyway, today the in-car discussion actually got to the stage where we were considering whether my maternity pay plus his wage would be enough to cover our outgoings, before I said 'Whoa, hold on there Mister, I was joking!'. This is progress for me.

But then I realised that having babies straight after we get married will render my dream of taking a career break and spending a few months travelling completely impossible. I'm coming to the conclusion that although I do want to have children (and I've always thought 30ish is a good age at which to procreate), I also have other ambitions that I'm not quite ready to give up yet. I know they always say that you can get out and enjoy the world when your children have flown the nest, but erm, I don't want to wait that long. What if I get landed with wastrel kids who don't leave home till they're 45? Or what if I get hit by a bus on my 60th birthday, the day before I'm due to leave on my round the world trip and I never get to see Uluru, Victoria Falls or the Great Barrier Reef? WHAT THEN? I will have died a poorly travelled person (albeit one who has left a genetic legacy on the planet for when the mothership returns) who has never fulfilled her wish to see the Grand Canyon before she dies.

So I've worked out that I have three-and-a-bit years (I'm 27 in May) in which to:

a) Get married. I can pretty much tick this one off already but you never know what's gonna happen. Fiance might find out about my criminal record.

b) Save up, take a career break, and travel the world for a few months.

c) Get home without being eaten by a lion or falling into the Zambezi, and get up the duff.

Should be easy enough, I reckon.

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Outdone by 92 year old - a new low for me

Saturday, January 06, 2007

This is going to be a short post.

Our upstairs neighbour (who is the 92 year old referred to in the title) invited us up for a drink tonight, as we hadn't seen each other over Christmas and New Year, and she was having a couple of other people in as well. We haven't actually gotten to know our neighbours yet, as a lot of them are... how do I put it... of advanced years, and our busy lives mean we're not around during the day when they're all out and about. So we said we'd go up for about 8, thinking that we'd be home by 10 at the latest because they'd all want to get to their bed.

Hah!

It's after midnight, and we're just in.

I've not had a cup of tea since this morning because everyone else was drinking and I didn't feel like I could ask for a cuppa instead of an alcoholic drink! The 92 year old looked like she was settling down for another whisky with her pal from next door after we'd gone. This woman has more energy than I do! I think she may be on some kind of illegal sustance.

I'm so ashamed of myself and my lack of stamina.

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2006 Meme

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

This has been doing the rounds and I thought it was a good way to reflect on 2006 without actually having to form too many sentences. And I couldn't think of any other topics to write about so here goes nothing:

1. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?

Started a blog. Ummm... That's really it. Ooh no wait - I got engaged! (Readers, in chorus: No! Really?!)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any resolutions for 2006. I just wanted to make it to 2007 to be honest.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! My best friend had an unexpected but beautiful baby boy, and another good friend had a planned but also beautiful baby boy. Both are now pregnant again.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. Makes a nice change.

5. What countries did you visit?

The most exciting place I went was the Lake District in England. I plan to make up for this with my honeymoon later this year! (Oh my god, THIS YEAR)

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

Enough bookshelves to house all my books.

7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

12th February, the day Fiance proposed to me in the bathroom of our last flat. Have I ever posted the engagement story? I can't remember. Must check. It's a page turner, I tell you.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not having a nervous breakdown and going outdoors in my pyjamas.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don't know, I think I've blanked it out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Not really - only about 43 bouts of the cold, which is good for me.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The lovely cream jacket I bought on a whim, and promptly spilled coffee on.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine of course! Not really... Fiance has been a tower of strength to me, but that's his job.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Britney Spears. How hard is it to put some knickers on woman?! I don't WANT to see your fanjita.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Clothes and books.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Finally getting my hands on a diamond.

16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

Dani California by the Chilis.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?
Happier (not difficult)

b) thinner or fatter?
Fatter (oops)

c) richer or poorer?
Richer (but only a wee bit)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Exercise! Writing! Exfoliating!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Eating shit, watching shit and buying shit.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

This meme has obviously been doing the rounds since before Christmas... Anyhoo, I spent it with family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

Yes. Fiance and I have had a bit of a time of it in the last year, and it's taken it's toll on our relationship. We've now reached the end of the tunnel, and are basking in the light...*

22. How many one-night stands?

None! I'm a soon to be married laydee!

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Lost. Until the bastards at Sky poached it from Channel 4, meaning plebs like me couldn't watch it.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I hate George W. Bush a bit more than I did this time last year.

25. What was the best book you read?

I loved 'Saturday' by Ian McEwan. And I read 'Rebecca' (Daphne du Maurier) for the first time too, that was a good read. And 'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro. And... I could go on for hours. Will stop now.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn't discover anyone, but Muse's new album is fab - cannot get enough of Knights of Cydonia. LOVE. IT.

27. What did you want and get?

A bay window.

28. What did you want and not get?

A little dog. Boo.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

I didn't see that many, so I'll say Pirates of the Caribbean part 2. I like escapism. And Johnny Depp.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 26, and I went out for dinner with my family.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Being able to move straight into my new house, without having to live in The Hellhole over the summer.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

Cheap meets Lazy.

33. What kept you sane?

Knowing that I can come home to Fiance, shut the door behind me and laugh/cry/scream/do whatever makes me feel better, and he'll still love me.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Sawyer from Lost #drools#

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The hoo-haa over whether people from new EU member states should be allowed to come and work in Britain. I'm sick of hearing about 'the bloody Polish' coming in and taking our jobs. The population of Scotland is FALLING, people! We should be welcoming em with open arms.

Ahem.

#steps down off soapbox#

36. Who did you miss?

My dad.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

I didn't really meet any new people, unless you count the virtual people I've met through this blog. If I can count those, it would be Sarah, who is lovely.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

Not to immediately lose my temper during an argument. I now build myself up to it.

*#gags#

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Stupid is as stupid does...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I tried to dye my hair last night. Not to drastically change the colour, just to give it a bit of a lift and cover up the odd grey hairs that are beginning to sprout.

According to the instructions, I applied the stuff from the bottle marked 'A', and left it for the required 25 minutes. I thought it was a bit odd that the dye didn't look like it did in the advert (piled effortlessly on top of the lady's head, held in place by it's own gloopiness), and that it didn't lather when I came to rinse it, but I thought 'never mind, how often does something look exactly like it does in the advert?'. Warning bells should have been ringing by now but my warning bells seemed to be malfunctioning last night, and I blithely carried on.

Once I'd rinsed it through I allowed myself to look in the mirror. And what colour was my hair? Exactly the same as before. This didn't worry me, as the dye was called 'Cocoa', and therefore not dramatically different from my natural colour, plus my hair was wet so it was hard to tell. 'Still,' I thought, 'surely I should see a little bit of a difference...'

Then I applied the after-dye conditioner. I thought it was silly of them to label it 'C' when I'd only just used 'A', so I checked the instructions, and there was no mention of a 'B'. My skewed logic kicked in again and I convinced myself it was a typo or they were just stupid. I left the conditioner on for the recommended 5 minutes, then rinsed again. By now my hair felt wonderfully soft and I was sure it was going to look fab when I dried it - shiny and bouncy like Davina's (Nutrisse means Nourish!). It did look shiny, but the colour? No change. Diddly squat. I felt rather cheated - I had been promised Cocoa, and I wanted Cocoa coloured shiny hair, dammit!

So I went to get the leaflet from the box and when I picked it up, was surprised at how heavy it was. How could it be so heavy when all there was inside it was empty bottles and those enormous gloves they provide (presumably so that giants don't get hair dye under their fingernails when colouring their hair)...

And then the penny finally, FINALLY dropped.

There was a full bottle in that box, containing the actual HAIR DYE. The bottle marked 'B' funnily enough.

I had missed the ENTIRE FIRST PAGE of the instructions, which explained how to mix the dye with the developer. All I had applied to my hair was the developer, and left what is presumably pure chemicals on my poor hair, formerly my crowning glory, for 25 whole minutes. At this realisation I freaked out and ran, in my knickers, to the living room where Fiance was watching TV, shouting 'Oh my god what have I done?!'. Fiance got a bit of a shock as well, poor lamb, but he managed to keep his head, and he gave me a slap to bring me to my senses (ok he didn't really, but I think he wanted to).

I didn't sleep last night because I was sure I was going to wake up bald on a pillow covered in chemically damaged hair. I didn't, thank GOD, but I'm now waiting to see if it's going to turn green.

First resolution of 2007? Read instructions carefully. TWICE.

Happy New Year dear readers.

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*Logan Pearsall Smith



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