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NotJustAHatStand

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

Doneness

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's my sister's birthday today, and the Boy and I went out with my mum, sis and her boy to a lovely French restaurant in Edinburgh. The food was all delicious, the service was good, and the surroundings were comfortable. I had crusty bread with olives and feta cheese to start, followed by lamb with a redcurrant and rosemary jus, french fries* and seasonal vegetables.

Just one problem.

My lamb was still bleating when my plate arrived.

Now, I know it's supposed to taste better if it's a bit pink in the middle, but I just can't eat something that is oozing blood onto my plate. The waiter warned me when I ordered that the lamb would be medium-rare, so I asked for medium. The only reason I didn't ask for it to be well-done was that I knew I would get disapproving looks from both Sister and Sister's Boy (who are both major foodies - Sister's Boy works in the restaurant trade). But I wasn't expecting it to be quite so pink.

Sister's Boy ordered a rare fillet steak, and I couldn't even look down at his end of the table until he'd finished. He practically had to spear it with his fork to stop it scampering off his plate and back to the field. It looked fine when it arrived but as soon as he cut into it it became apparent that it was really just a hunk of raw flesh that had been briefly introduced to a hot pan.

I know this betrays my extreme ignorance when it comes to food, but it just seems wrong to me. When I cook at home I'm always paranoid about NOT cooking meat properly, so it just seems unnatural to me. And my lamb was more than slightly pink. Bill Bryson writes in 'Notes From A Big Country' (one of my all time favourite ever books, EVER) that 'a barber will give you the haircut he wants to give you, and there is nothing you can do about it' - it seems that French chefs will give you the steak they want to give you, and there is nothing you can do about it.

But despite my squeamishness, the lamb was lovely. The best thing was that there was enough of it that I could eat round the pinks bits, and still be full at the end of my meal. Not so full that I couldn't squeeze in the creamiest, most delicious creme brulee I've ever had in my life, thankfully.

*Yes, I went to a fancy restaurant and ordered CHIPS. I'm a pikey.

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Blogiversary

Saturday, February 24, 2007

So one whole year ago today I popped my cherry and started this here blog.

Things I have done since then:

Moved house
Moved house again
Organised approximately 50% of a wedding
Alphabetised my bookcases

Umm....
That's kind of it. It's been a quiet year.

Things I have learnt:
Always read ALL the instructions on home hair dye kits
Never believe the instructions on home bikini-waxing kits
Even when you don't have anything to write about, you can still talk some random crap
Virtual friends can be just as lovely as real ones

And finally, when you can't come up with actual sentences lots of links* do just as well.

Here's to another year.

*That last one was just because. Oh. My. God. What. Happened. To. Harry. Potter.

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Bikini Waxing

Friday, February 23, 2007

This is the video I sent from YouTube last night while I wrote about my torture at the hands of Veet. There was supposed to be a witty segue along the lines of 'Waxees ye be warned', but something went wrong somewhere. Some poor bastard at www.jesuslovesyou.blogspot.com will probably be excommunicated because a video of a woman getting her pubes waxed appeared on their site.

Hey ho.

Wax on...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I work in an office full of women. Today the topic of Britney Spears going back into rehab prompted a discussion of the shaved hoo-hoo that she decided to flash to the world a few months ago, specifically why she would want to do that. Shave it, I mean, not let people take pictures of it. I looked at those NSFW pictures of her undercarriage and it wasn't pretty - stubbly, lopsided, and with a lovely caesarian scar to top off the whole sorry mess. If she wanted to show off her area what was wrong with dying it pink or something?

So this brought us onto bikini waxing. Only three out of the seven women there had ever had a bikini wax, which I found quite surprising. And I was one of them.

It's a strange experience, being in a room with a near-stranger, clad in only your smalls. The woman I used to go to was a tiny blonde lady whose innocent appearance belied her sadistic streak. She seemed to enjoy inflicting pain on her clients and was completely unsympathetic to any pain you might be feeling. The good thing about her was that she would happily tell you about all the weird clients she had, in order to distract you from the hot wax she was slathering on your ladyparts and then ripping off with gay abandon. She told me once about a woman who lay there in just her bra and asked Sadistic Bitch for a hollywood.* She then apparently, ahem, enjoyed the pain that that causes. If you know what I mean.

*Which is, for those of you who don't know, the full monty. The bald eagle look.

ANYWAY, I don't go there anymore. I'm too skint to pay a small person to rip my body hair out by the roots on a regular basis so I wax my legs myself, which is actually quite easy to do. I think the nerve endings in my legs have been deadened by all the years of waxing by Sadistic Bitch, so it doesn't hurt too badly either. Unfortunately this doesn't extend to the bikini line. I tried once to wax that myself and it was Hell. On. Earth.

I used a hot wax kit. The wax was nice and warm, ready to be 'smoothly applied to the area' and I was standing by with the linen strip, ready to remove it 'in a swift and decisive motion'. But someone neglected to tell the marketing man at Veet that it is IMPOSSIBLE to remove a wax strip from your own sensitive area DECISIVELY. There's a REASON that waxers are sadistic bitches! I pulled that strip with all my strength, and it yanked HALF of the wax off my skin and NONE of the hair. Which left me in the awkward position of still having a (now very tender) hoo-hoo covered in wax, but without the strength of will to try another linen strip. I ended up having to sit in a nice warm, baby-oiled bath for a while to remove the wax. And by the end of it there were about three less hairs than there had been to begin with. Next time I need to be neat I'm going back to Sadistic Bitch.

Ladies, if you ever get it in your head that waxing your own bikini line is a good idea - my advice to you is don't do it. Step away from the Veet. It's not worth it, really. Go to the salon.

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Charity Shopping

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hoo-wee, it's been a while since I updated... I've been rather busy being a domestic goddess and generally not doing anything worth blogging about.

However I have realised that I've become worringly enthusiastic about shopping in charity shops. In particular, charity shops that have a large book section.

You may find this surprising in view of my previous purchases, as the books you get from charity shops are not necessarily the prettiest or in the best condition. But it doesn't bother me. I like my books to look like they've been loved and if they're a bit dog-eared then so much the better. However I noticed a sign in the last charity shop I was in that gave me pause - it said 'Buy them, read them, return them to us!'

But... but... I don't want to return them.

I don't have to return them do I?

#panics, clutching books to chest#

Ahem.

When I moved house I unfortunately put myself in very close proximity to perhaps the largest concentration of charity shops in Edinburgh and I've taken to poking around in them at the weekends. As a book-hoarder who loves the thrill of coming home from the high street with a pile of new stuff, this is awkward. My already overstuffed bookshelves are now tottering under the weight of my numerous bargains. The Boy's suggestions that I seek help are becoming increasingly stern and scary.

But it's ok, because I don't limit myself to books. Why, this very weekend I bought myself a (new) pegbag*:


















And my mum bought me this Hobbs handbag, bargain of the month at just £8:



















I also bought Human Traces and Middlesex for £2 each, but that's beside the point. For one thing it helped Cancer Research, and for another I needed a pick-me-up after spending the morning at a wedding fair with both mums, fighting off Bridezillas for the last bit of cake.**

*I know - a PEGBAG. All I need now is a pinny and a piping bag.

**Mmm, cake.

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Hallmark Holiday

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Boy and I don't really make a big fuss over Valentine's Day these days. We try not to kill each other every day of the year, we just make a special effort on February 14th.*

We're not doing anything tonight, but we're going out for dinner on Saturday, which is enough for me. I don't need boxes of chocolates, teddy bears holding boxes of chocolates, bouquets of flowers or bunches of balloons delivered to my office by a barbershop quartet. That's not to say I would turn any of these things down of course**, but I don't need them to know that the Boy loves me. Anyway, because he's not the type to make these kind of gestures (he's more of a behind-closed-doors man), I would feel like he'd been forced into it, and it doesn't mean anything unless it's been his own idea and is something that he wants to do. I once guilt tripped him into sending me a bunch of flowers, and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the time he did it off his own back.

He bought me a diamond, he can dine out on that one for a couple of years yet. No flowers necessary.

Happy Valentine's Day Smelly.

*I'm kidding of course

**Well, except maybe the barbershop quartet...

Update: I wrote this on my lunchbreak, and when I got home he had bought some nice food from M&S (including pudding!) and a bunch of red roses. Bless. He did forget my card, which is currently sitting on his desk at work, but you can't have everything.

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An occasion where my blog might come in useful...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I don't really have much in the way of news. My cat pooped on the sofa. I've got a lovely spot appearing on my chin. I have been unable to stop singing show tunes for the last two days (thanks to SpanishGoth). I feel like I should be wearing a tophat and swinging a cane around.

On a kind-of-related note, Fiance and I have been trying to pick the song to which we will dance our first dance as a married couple. It's really quite difficult (read: effing nightmare). We don't have 'a song' that means anything to us (well there is one but it's not appropriate for the occasion*), so we're having to pick one that we both like, that is easy to shuffle about a dancefloor to, and that won't make our mums cry too much. They're going to anyway, but we want to minimise the blubbing as much as we can, for obvious reasons.

The Boy wanted Highway To Hell, which I felt was a bit of a negative way to start our married life. It's probably fairly appropriate but my granny would be horrified. We don't want any Robbie Williams/Whitney Houston cheesefest shit, so far our shortlist consists of the following:

  • Something by the Foo Fighters (possibly an acoustic version of either Big Me, Everlong or Best of You or well... any Foos song to be honest)
  • Tonight Tonight, Smashing Pumpkins
  • Follow You Down, Gin Blossoms
  • Time Of Your Life, Green Day
  • Iris, Goo Goo Dolls

It's not really a shortlist though, because we can't agree on any of these songs, and none of them have really knocked our socks off as 'the one'.

Any ideas?

*He used to play Magic Bus for me when I used to go (on the bus, natch) to visit him when we first got together way back when. He would sing the irritating falsetto bit as well (#too much, magic bus#). You're going to be singing that all day aren't you?!

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# Neighbours, everybody needs good Neighbours #

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mr Neighbour came over again on Friday night to exchange insurance details, and it turns out he's 80 this October. He's also had 4 heart attacks and triple bypass surgery in the last 3 years. Now, I'm not a doctor, nor am I a driving instructor (or even a driver), but surely, SURELY he shouldn't have a licence that allows him to operate a piece of heavy machinery that can travel at speeds upwards of 80mph?!

Mr Neighbour also said that when he calls his insurance company he's going to just relay the facts, and not make any comment or admission of guilt. The facts speak for themselves:

  1. Fiance's car was safely parked and stationary.
  2. Fiance was not in the car.
  3. Mr Neighbour was reversing out of his drive in the immediate vicinity of Fiance's car.
  4. Fiance's car has a mashed-in door (the chassis is fine by the way).

So there can be no explanation other than that Mr Neighbour hit Fiance's car, which means his insurance company will have to pay for the repairs - £1000 worth according to the estimate. But why did he say that he wasn't going to make 'any comment or admission of guilt'? I don't know what to make of this. He seems like an honest man - he came and told the Boy he'd bashed his car in the first place after all. So why would he not say the same thing to the insurance company? Are we going to be framed by our 80 year old neighbour?!

What would Harold Bishop do?

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Being Neighbourly

Friday, February 09, 2007

We got a nice visit from the wee old man across the road last night. He lives directly opposite us, and occasionally has some trouble reversing his car out of his drive. When we moved in, one of the first things he said to us was to ask if we had a big car. Fiance, a little taken aback, told him he has a Renault Clio. Mr Neighbour was very relieved to hear this as the man who lived in our house before us DID have a big car, and Mr Neighbour always found it difficult to get his car out of his drive because of it. It would have had to be pretty big to stop him getting out of his drive on the other side of the street though - maybe it was a Hummer.

So it wasn't much of a surprise when Mr Neighbour came to the door last night to tell us that he was on his way out for dinner but that he'd 'had a wee bump' with the Boy's car. I think he must've got a bit of a fright as he was all red in the face, and he looked really embarrassed and a bit shaken. He's very nice, but he's in his mid-70's at least (therefore approaching the age where he should probably be thinking about giving up driving) and it takes him about half an hour to back his car out of his garage, up the drive, and out onto the street.

Anyway, Fiance went out to investigate and discovered a caved-in passenger door, and the trim-thingy hanging off. So it was quite a bit more than 'a wee bump'. But Fiance told Mr Neighbour to go out and enjoy his dinner, and not to worry about it. The boy thinks he'll need a whole new door.

In other news, I'm guest-blogger over at Drama Queen's Palace today.

Hopefully her readers won't tear me to pieces... Not straightaway anyway.

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Ow

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I finally made it to the gym tonight. You may give me a round of applause now.

#applause#

Thanks, you're so kind.

I may need a hoist to get me out of bed in the morning. My arm muscles are already protesting, loudly, whenever I lift my arm above shoulder level.

I only went for a swim tonight, but once I have a session with a Really Fit Instructor who will show me how to use the machines I'll be doing a workout and a swim. I've made a fool of myself in the past by falling off a cross trainer (an experience I am not keen to repeat) so I'm going to wait for them to show me how to use these new fangled contraptions before clambering onto one of them in public.*

But I enjoyed the exercise - I swam 20 lengths of the pool, and came out feeling energised and proud of myself for actually getting off my arse and doing something.** I did start to get a bit sick of being splashed full in the face from the freak of nature in the lane next to me though. I was in the slow lane, doing my breast stroke/doggy paddle hybrid ©, and this dude in the fast lane next door kept splashing me right in the face. I'm sure he did it on purpose. And he was like the effing Duracell Bunny, he just kept going on and on, so I couldn't even time it so that I didn't have to pass him. It wouldn't have been a problem (I do realise that I was in a swimming pool, and it's therefore ok to get wet), but I had forgotten to take my make up off before I went in and had been trying not to get my eyes wet so that my mascara wouldn't run. But it did of course, courtesy of Duracell Swimmer, and I came out looking like Alice Cooper in a tankini.

Other than that it was a success. It's going to hurt in the morning though.

*Not that falling off the cross trainer was a result of inadequate training, just inadequate co-ordination on my behalf. So being shown how to use the machines won't stop me falling off, but at least I'll know where the emergency stop is this time.

**We also walked home but this was the Boy's idea - I was all for getting the bus and complained bitterly about being tired, cold, hungry and needing to pee during the 20 minute walk home. Fiance has learned to just tune it out I think.

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Gie It Laldy

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I've been going to the same hairdresser for a few years now, and I really like it there. It's a nice place, but it's not one of those salons where everyone looks like they're sucking a lemon and they look down their nose at you because you committed the cardinal sin of wearing shoes that don't match your belt/handbag/hair accessory.

At my hairdresser, as in salons everywhere, it's always been the case that once you've spoken to your stylist about what you want, one of the juniors, a wee 16 year old girl, washes your hair for you. However, in the last couple of years I've noticed that all the juniors are male. It's at least 4 cuts ago that I last got a female junior. Which is fine - the boys are just as nice. They chat to you when you've got your head in the weird sink with the hole that's supposed to be comfy (but isn't because whose head is shaped like THAT?), and I've never noticed any real difference between them. I'm sure it says something trenchant about industry and society and so forth, that more boys are opting to be hairdressers rather than engineers.

But that's not my point.

I went for a haircut on Friday, and got a new boy that I'd never seen before. He sat me down, and gently tucked a towel into my collar to stop my neck getting wet. He switched the water on and waited till it was the right temperature. He asked me a number of times if the water was too hot. He then applied the shampoo and started lathering me up. And by god, he applied himself to the task of washing my hair with every bit of muscle and sinew in his upper body. Of which there was considerably more than wee Chantelle has in her upper body, let me tell you.

This boy gave new meaning to the phrase 'gie it laldy'.

He had lots of beaded bracelets on his wrists, so in addition to feeling like my head was in a washing machine on spin cycle, there was a racket right in my ear from all his jewellery clinking about. I was sure the rest of the salon could hear the noise over the hairdryers, ringing phones, chattering and general hullabaloo. My neck was aching from the effort of trying to keep my head in the general vicinity of the sink, and the robe they put over me was sprayed with shampoo. It was the single most vigorous wash my hair has ever had. My hair has responded by being very unruly all weekend. It's obviously rebelling against the rough treatment.

The worst thing was that while I was in the chair I found the whole thing hilarious. This poor boy was doing the hairdresser thing, asking about my holiday plans and what I was doing at the weekend, and I was desperately trying not to laugh because all I could think about was that it felt like he was wanking my head.

If you'll excuse the expression.

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Half-decent Samaritan?

Friday, February 02, 2007

I was rushing to catch my bus as usual and upon getting to the main road I passed a cyclist waiting to get out onto the main road. I saw him, didn't pay any attention to him, and kept walking in my pre-9am fog, whilst keeping an eye out for the bus. As I passed the cyclist I heard a crash and lots of swearing. I don't know how he managed to fall off, but fall he did. The poor man was lying tangled up in his bag, his bike and the traffic cone he had fallen on top of. He was struggling to extricate himself and I'm rather ashamed to admit that for a moment I considered leaving him to get on with it and catch my bus. (In my defence I'd been late for work already this week, and missing that bus meant I was going to be late again.)

But my conscience got the better of me and I went over to give him a hand. I helped him up, and picked up his bike for him while he got himself sorted. I asked him if he was ok. He said he was but I think he whacked his shoulder off the kerb upon landing, which must've hurt. He said he'd walk for a bit, but that he'd be fine. He then limped off, pushing his bike. He hadn't thanked me, or if he had I didn't hear him. Maybe he was embarrassed. Or maybe he saw my moment of indecision, and didn't think I deserved thanking. Whatever it was, I didn't think of it at the time - I was just glad there wasn't any blood or broken bones to contend with, and that I could finally get on my way to work.

But I missed the bus of course, and got into my office at 9.15. I explained why I was late, and was met with sceptical looks from my colleagues. I don't think they believed me! The cheek of it... My track record in that area isn't good mind you, but if I'm late I don't lie about it!

I've also been keeping an eye on the Metro all week for any 'to the girl who helped me after I fell off my bike' messages, but nothing doing. How rude. I'm not expecting a medal or anything, but a bit of gratitude would've been nice. I did miss my bus for the bastard after all.

Ah well, maybe I'll get my reward in the shape of some good karma.

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Two Peas In A Pod

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Email exchange between Fiance and I this afternoon:

Fiance: You wanna go to the gym tonight?

Teeny: Ok. I'm really motivated to get fit this time. I'm determined to get in shape and I think now's a good time to join the gym - while we have a goal to work towards. We can have a workout and go for a swim afterwards? Then come home and cook a healthy, balanced meal.

F: Sounds good to me. You're right, we should strike while the iron's hot - there's no time like the present. My body WILL be a temple once again.

T: Plan.

Conversation between Fiance and I this evening, upon arriving home from work:

F: How about we go to the gym another night?

T: Ok.

F: Fancy a takeaway?

T: You betcha!

He's a terribly bad influence on me.

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*Logan Pearsall Smith



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