Saturday 28 February 2009

Red Ropers

About 20 years ago, my father bought me a pair of red ropers. For you city folks, ropers are sensible cowboy boots: low heels worn to ride horses when roping steers. Not that I've ever roped steers but they are great for country & western dancing.

I loved those boots but after 2 pregnancies, my feet spread and I gained weight and, let's just say I couldn't get my dang feet into those boots.

I couldn't bear to part with them so I handed them down to my daughter who has worn them for the last couple of years to dress up.

Well, I've lost the pregnancy weight and every couple months I tried and tried to squeeze my feet into those boots. The just wouldn't go. It was like my heels had spread permanently and I would have to undergo plastic surgery on my feet (do they do that?).

Today I have a Western themed party to go to complete with dancing. Not sure what to expect but I wasn't going to go without my boots.

So I pushed and pulled and tugged and got my feet into those boots! they are tight. So tight they might be cutting off my circulation. But I don't care.

I got my feet into those boots and these boots are going dancing!

Thursday 19 February 2009

Energy Crisis is Over

An EXCELLENT program. Don't delay watching this because the BBC doesn't leave their programs on iPlayer for very long. It is 59 minutes long but worth every second.

Thursday 12 February 2009


If you go to YouTube and subscribe to BarackObamadotcom you will get updates from President Obama about his policies, programs, etc. this will keep you informed which can only be a good thing.

Here's the latest:

Make sure you check out the Recovery site to watch where the money is going (that's assuming the package gets approved)!

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Yes We Can

I'm normally pretty much up on these things. but I have to confess, this just blew right over my radar. Just in case it blew past yours, I thought I would give you an opportunity to catch it. Yes We Can. Even though we already did inspires me to do it again.

And then for the funny factor......

And for the sheer music of it......

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Famous Friends

OK, so she's more infamous than famous but I think she will be famous one day.

This is a great article by a mummy friend of mine writing about part of her trip across America last summer.

What she did leave out was the rather panicked plea I got from her when she had made it to Detroit and been fleeced by her rental car company. Since we were on that side of the Atlantic, I had offered to help and dispensed some suitably useful advise about insurance and hire cars.

Mel is now writing a book about the experience of taking her boys on a trip of a lifetime. Give her your support!

PS In case you missed it, Mel is the author of Toasters Don't Roast Chickens, the amazing and inspiring story of how she dealt with her son's chronic health problems. It will make you think twice about the advise and prescriptions your medical professionals are dispensing. It will also force you to look at what you feed your children.

Monday 9 February 2009

On the Brink

Sebastian has lost his games kit. That's all the clothes he wears to play rugby, football (aka soccer), etc It appears that last week with the blizzard they didn't play any games. We thought the kit came home but it isn't in my car, daddy's car or anywhere in the house or garage. So unless it is in the school (which he assures me it is not and yes, I know that has its own fallibility issues) or in someone else's car it is gone. And I will not be spending a small fortune to replace it. My son will just have to sit on the sidelines and learn the consequences of not taking care of his kit. The school called at 5 pm and Sebastian has finished his homework early (since he couldn't play games without his games kit) and they need me to pick him up early. Nope, he will sit and read a book until his father comes to get him.

The tenants of our rental moved out in late January and we had made arrangements to get the place repainted and the carpets replaced. But the letting agency had found some people who were willing (for a small reduction in rent) to take it as it was. Now 3 weeks later and 2 weeks before they are due to move in, they have decided they want the carpet replaced and it painted. OMG, are you kidding me? Do they not understand As Is?

My daughter worked very hard over the weekend on her homework. She has learned a whole bunch of new words and drew a lovely picture to go with her new phonic sound. but in the chaos that must have been my husband trying to get the children off to school without a games bag, her poor little book bag got left behind and her teacher didn't get to see the fruits of her labour. she is still pouting.

It is pouring rain. It is cold. There is a prediction for more snow. Our pipes to the toilet upstairs cracked in the freezeout of last week. The plumber was due to be here on Friday of last week. He was due here tonight. He hasn't shown up and hasn't rang. We have been without a toilet on the first floor for 6 days. The children are having to come up or down to use a toilet. this is not good in the middle of the night!

Our piano tuner cancelled the appointment. Twice. and now I need to call and reschedule. Yeah, like I've got all the time in the world to be rescheduling because they don't know how a calendar operates.

The school diary says there is an informal concert tonight but I know nothing about this.

We have no more fire wood. It was meant to last the whole winter but because it has been so blooming cold we have used it all up.

I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner. Pay Day is still 4 days away so we will probably be having Cheerios for dinner.

Don't even get me started on work.

I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

Sunday 8 February 2009

The Camel Club by David Baldacci

A swift trip to the library found me heading home with another Baldacci page turner. And this one was not nearly as good as the previous.

A group of fringe characters living around Washington DC witness a murder. A Secret Service agent is just trying to make it to retirement without his president getting shot. Paths cross in the middle of the most convoluted conspiracy theory I've ever heard.

The plot twists and turns so much that at some point I lost track of it all. By the end of the novel I wasn't entirely sure who exactly the bad guys were and who the good guys were.

My favourite character was the off the grid former US government sponsored assassin, Oliver Stone (not his real name, duh!). His conspiracy theory mates are equally likable. Reading about their highly unlikely adventures is a bit like watching the 3 stooges try to bake a cake.

Less enjoyable were the Secret Service agents, Alex and Jackie, and Kate, the love interest is a completely undeveloped character.

The novel takes the moral high ground with a strong recommendation for the path the US should take towards the Middle East foreign policy which is just a step too far.

The plot was clever and had quite a bit of potential which could have been done a bit cleaner. All in all an enjoyable, quick page turner but I might need a Baldacci break.

Saturday 7 February 2009

In Loving Memory

Joyce Elaine (Carson) Smith
October 3 1921-February 7 2005
I miss her everyday.

Friday 6 February 2009

Best Byline Ever

I know I am an Obama fan. And I was half hoping that my infatuation with the man and his enormous intellect would start to wane. Every star must dim and the shelf life of a typical politician's star tends to be shorter then mayonnaise sitting outside in August.

But, oh, this star just keeps getting brighter and brighter.

First, he admits to being human and commits the one mortal sin that all politicians avoid. He made a mistake. And he took responsibility for the mistake. And he is correcting it. Oh glory be!! Is the world still turning? Has this ever happened in the modern era of politics? Is Bill Clinton listening? Is Gordon Brown?

Secondly, he has moved and moved fast to reverse some of the most shameful legislation ever implemented by his predecessor. In fact, Obama and his team must have been making a l ist and checking it twice during the last 8 years because they are ripping those Bush sponsored but unconstitutional and inhumane activities right out with the tattered and torn White House drapes.

Finally (but certainly not last) the man writes this. He writes. He thinks. He speaks. The byline is the best. Ever.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach

I've been invited to join a new book group and this is the first selection.

The book is a delicious collision of cultures: British & Indian. We start out with snippets of stories of the retired population struggling to fit in. Their families have no time for them. Their retirement homes are falling apart. Their friends are dying. Their lives are shriveling.

In walk 2 cousins: One distinctly English doctor whose skin colour tells the story of his family's immigration to Great Britain; the other a man struggling to carve out his fortune in the teeming metropolis of Mumbai. Neither really fond of the other.

Over a rushed coffee in an anonymous hotel in Bayswater the 2 decide to go into business milking the British colonial history of India and open up a care home in Mumbai for the older generation of Great Britain. They figure the weather is nicer and the staff cheaper. The British have failed to take care of their senior citizens and India can do a much better job of it. What they fail to take into account is the emotional baggage these older people will carry with them when they move in.

If you're not British you might find this completely implausible. Who in their golden generation is going to up sticks and move to a third world country? Well, the British would. Undoubtedly! After just a few well placed advertisements and the gentle persuasion of the doctor, a small gaggle of older folks begin the adventure of their lives. And yet regardless of location, death is inevitable and life is inescapable.

I loved this book. It is funny without being obvious. The elderly characters are painted with care and empathy, never once descending into mockery or cheap laughter.

Shortly after reading this book, Marc & I went and saw the film, Slumdog Millionaire, about a young man, Jamal, who grew up orphaned in the slums of Mumbai and goes on to win the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Jamal is arrested and charged with cheating. The movie maps his extraordinary life which gave him all the answers he needed to win.

I couldn't help but feel that after reading this book and seeing this film, that I am witnessing the birth of a new empire. This is more than the slick consumerism witnessed in Japan in the 1980s. India is a vast country with vast resources and is on the brink of greatness.

Book Group Verdict: If you can believe this, I forgot to go. It completely slipped my mind and after a wicked week at work I fell asleep on the sofa without even giving the book group a second thought. I've never ever done that before. I've apologised profusely and am hoping they will forgive my dodgy memory and let me come next time!

Monday 2 February 2009

Indian Summer

In youth, it was a way I had
To do my best to please,
And change, with every passing lad,
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!

- Dorothy Parker

Sunday 1 February 2009


I sometimes forget how lucky I am to live in a country that has health care for all.

OK, it might not be free. I pay incredibly high taxes and no doubt it subsides those who otherwise couldn't afford it. But I'm happy to do my bit for the greater good.

And it might not be state of the art. And there might be some waiting times which can be insufferable if you or someone you love and care for is on it. I can only afford so much greater good.

But health care is available for every man, woman and child.

And hurrah to the Senate for doing their bit for the greater good for the children of the USA. Finally!