Saturday, 28 November 2009

No wonder I'm confused

Second Born is presently sitting on the floor playing Sims on the Wii. He just said (and I quote verbatim): "My fridge door is made of bacon. So is my turntable. The bottom of my fridge is rainbow trout, my bed is made of green apple and I painted my floor with anger."

So now you know why we have never tried to decorate this house. With him around, it's just too risky.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

I have evil friends*

Remember ages ago when I posted about inventing a 1970s prog rock band just to torture a flatmate? Well, I recently met up again with our co-conspirator (I called her Ann in the post though that is not her real name. She is now so incredibly respectable that I could well ruin her career if I disclosed her real identity. She's sort of like Batman. With a bit less leather.)

I confessed to her that I had confessed to you and sent her the link to the post. She has commented on it and the comment is worth repeating:

"This is Ann of the above (has a certain ring to it 'Ann of the Above' I think). What we thought about doing but didn't was to write - using the official notepaper of a certain voluntary organisation that provides support services - to all of the independent record shops in town. The letter that we composed but never sent (honest) was to tell them that if a man answering Alan's description came into enquire about the Freedom Jets then they were to contact the authorities immediately as he was deluded and dangerous and required treatment. So, you see were even more horrible than you thought. We are all sensible and middle aged now with responsible jobs but I would still advise not to irritate us!"

I had completely forgotten about that bit. I am glad we were too lazy there was enough decency left in us not to proceed with our evil plan. Aren't you glad you didn't know us back then?

*Disclaimer: Not all of my friends are evil. But most of them are a bit odd.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Thank you

Thanks, all of you, for your kind wishes on the loss of our cat. As all pet owners know, she may only have been a cat but she was part of the family nonetheless. We now have to decide whether to get another one, in the fullness of time. I suspect we will: Husband and I have always had at least one cat since 1988 and can't really imagine going for very long without a small furry person getting under our feet.

On a lighter note, Husband was mooching around on the internet recently and noticed that the website for the Scottish Parliament (or "Numptorium" as it is often called around here) has versions in different languages. No surprises there - you can read the site in inter alia English, Gaelic, Polish, French, German, Italian and, rather impressively, BSL. The interesting bit is that the website has also been translated into Scots.

Now, I know that there is a small but vocal community trying to preserve Scots, and I kind of like the fact that there are some brilliant Scots words which definitely deserve to be kept alive. But really, is there anyone nowadays for whom Scots is a first......language?.......dialect? I always thought the point of making translations of official documents was to ensure that critical information was made available to you in a language you understood fully, in your first language. In fact, the website itself makes that point: "We want tae mak siccar that as mony folk as possible can finn oot aboot the Scottish Pairlament. Information anent whit we can dae tae help ye engaige wi the Pairlament gin ye arenae fluent in English can be haen at Langage assistance providit by the Scottish Pairlament (28.5KB pdf)."

Now, I am as patriotic as the next person (unless the next person happens to be Robbie the Pict, but are they seriously suggesting that there is anyone in Scotland today for whom Scots is their first language? To the extent that communication in English or, at a pinch, Gaelic, would be ineffectual? Really? Or is it, as I suspect, that they are making a quasi-political point and some poor soul has had to sit and translate the Parliament's "wabsite" (I mean "WABSITE" for Pete's sake! The World Wide Wab!) into Scots just so they can say they have done it. In other words they have created a fun curiosity rather than an essential service.

That said, it is a laugh and I thoroughly recommend a wee wander round it. (Did you know that the UK Parliament is based in Lunnon, for example?)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

She's gone.

Our poor cat wasn't looking too good this morning. She still wasn't eating, she didn't seem to be able to get comfortable and her breathing was a bit odd. To cut a long story short, we decided I should take her to the emergency veterinary hospital, where the vet was able to confirm the presence of a large growth. Probably a pancreatic tumour.

The fact that the decision had pretty much been made for us did not make it any easier. I stayed with her throughout and whilst I am glad that I did, I sort of wish I hadn't as I don't think it is a memory that will disappear quickly.

First Born has taken the news remarkably well. Second Born is pretty upset. Husband and I are finding it a bit odd that we are now living in a cat-free household for the first time in about 21 years. The kitchen looks a bit bare without a cat bed and bowls of food. (And of course, all that hair blowing about. The vet asked me if I wanted some clippings of her hair to remember her by. I told her there were pounds of it blowing around in my kitchen.) There was no cat standing by today, waiting for me to finish dismembering the cooked chicken and hand over the little plateful of prize slimy bits that the humans in the family don't seem to appreciate.

We acquired Schieffer as a kitten in 1992, just after we returned from our honeymoon. She was feral - a rescue cat, born in a cardboard box factory in Broxburn. At the time we already had a grown cat, called Catface. Catface was slightly bemused by the new addition: it was small, grey, very scratchy and spitty and had a habit of running up the curtains and hanging there, swaying and plotting her next move. You can kind of see Catface's point. That said, Catface decided to treat her like any other stroppy youngster. She was taught how to behave and given a very thorough and not always gentle face washing several times a day.

Catface died years ago and Schieffer carried on, politely declining to be interested in the boys when they arrived, other than as a source of interesting goodies dropped on the floor. Later, she enjoyed their company more and Second Born in particular was very fond of her. He was often to be found stretched out on the kitchen floor, communing with his furry buddy.

Seventeen and a half is a good age for a cat to reach and I think she had a good life. We miss her already.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Oh dear.

I feel rather guilty now. After that flippant, breezy post on Monday, turns out our elderly cat is not well. Really very not well. She didn't eat on Monday or Tuesday so we took her to the vet on Wednesday. He couldn't really say what was wrong, other than that something clearly was pretty wrong. She has lost weight and condition and her fur is falling out at a rather alarming rate. He took blood tests and gave us appetite stimulant tablets to give her (I hate giving pills to cats - that forced ramming down the throat just feels wrong, even when it is being done for the best of reasons.)

The blood tests didn't show much, other than a raised white blood cell count suggestive of major inflammation of some sort, somewhere. She has been prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs (more pill-ramming) but really, she is not looking good. Sufficiently not good that Husband and I are agreed we had better make sure we are first down and into the kitchen tomorrow morning, before the boys. Just in case. And if she doesn't perk up a bit overnight, courtesy of the aforementioned pills, then.........well, we'll see.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Slobbing out

Husband is away on business, the boys are fighting in the upstairs hall quietly getting ready for bed and I have nothing to do except make some dinner and play stupid games online (curse you Facebook!). I have every intention of making an enormous pan of mashed potato with cheese and spring onions and then eating it with a spoon from a bowl on my lap. I know that this is a meal which makes any offering from McDonalds look like perfect nutritional balance in a paper sack, but I don't care. I love mashed potato, and I particularly love my potato ricer which lets me make said mash without having to peel potatoes. Because I really, really hate peeling potatoes. And the ricer makes beautiful creamy, lump-free mash. Look, I am going to have to make this post short, because I am making myself hungry.

So, just one question: why does my cat appear to be melting? Seriously, every time I go into the kitchen, tumbleweeds of cat hair go barrelling across the floor. I could make a whole new cat out of the hair I have swept up and binned in the last few days (and it would probably be a less annoying cat too, one that didn't keep trying to sneak up on the counter and sleep on top of the digibox). I thought that at this time of year she would be growing more hair and keeping it, building up a nice thick coat for winter. Instead she is shedding so fast I'm surprised she's not naked. Any suggestions?

Friday, 6 November 2009

Strangely proud/proudly strange

I love my elder son sometimes.

Wait. That sounded wrong. I love him ALL the time, but sometimes he does something that makes me look at him more fondly than usual.

Like yesterday at his drum lesson. (I sit quietly and read my book during lessons now. He has gone far, far beyond the point where I can still read the drum notation along with him and it is pointless to pretend otherwise.) He was working on a tricky pattern and he finally got it. His teacher whooped and said "Well done! You got it! The world is your oyster!......or your lobster....."

First Born did not even look up. "The world is my cephalopod" he said, without missing a beat. Literally.

You have to love that boy.

Monday, 2 November 2009

I used to think I was turning into my mum

Turns out I am actually turning into my Granny. My Granny always had a healthy scepticism about new-fangled things. Like rice, for example. Rice, she firmly believed, was something you made into a pudding and it should never, under any circumstances, be eaten in any other context. To the day she died she never ate chinese food, indian food, risotto or anything of that sort.

I was in the bank today, as I had a cheque to pay in. I was greeted at the door by a young man (and I mean young. I suspect he wasn't much older than First Born) who asked if I needed any help. I breezily told him I did not, I was just going to use the Quick Deposit service to bank my cheque. Then I looked around for the little paper Quick Deposit envelopes. But there weren't any.

I looked back at the young man, slightly helpless now, and he told me that these days you pay in cheques using the machine. "Are you paying in by card or by slip?" he asked.

This is when I started to turn into my Gran, as I suspect that the look on my face at that point was exactly like the one my Granny used to wear when I tried to show her how to work the video recorder. The look that says "I know I am supposed to be able to follow this, but really, you lost me five minutes ago and I am sort of losing the will to live."

The young boy man had to actually steer me to the machine and show me how to use it, including turning the cheque the right way round because I tried to insert it into the slot the wrong way EVEN THOUGH HE HAD JUST TOLD ME WHAT WAY TO DO IT! I swear he was seconds away from referring to me as "Dear". As in "Do you need me to do it for you, dear?"

I crowned my performance by exclaiming, "Wow, that's clever!" when the wee receipt printed out with a scan of my cheque on it. Then I slunk home and hung out on Facebook in order to prove how cool and edgy I am. I'll be blogging next, just you wait and see.