Friday, 26 February 2010

I'm losing the knack of this blogging lark

I have meant to sit down and post about First Born's birthday, really I have but for some reason I just haven't. Not feeling very creative or communicative or something like that. Also, have been quite busy during the day when blog posts sort of crystallise (or congeal) in my brain as I wait for the boys to come out of school, or wait for buses.

So, what do I have to tell you about? Hmmm, let me think. Well, FB's birthday this year was a firmly Ghostbusters-themed event - he discovered the movies recently (if you are my age, don't work out how old they are - it will only depress you) and has been obsessed ever since. As a result, most of his birthday presents were Ghostbusters merchandise and came from Amazon-type suppliers. As a further result, I found myself at our local postal depot at 6am in the dark and cold two mornings running in order to pick up parcels which would not fit through our door. One of which turned out to be a keyring. A keyring, packed in a jiffy bag, then packed into a box too large to fit through our letterbox. I deserve mother of the year award, I really do. The ordeal was tempered somewhat when I stumbled into the little customer office and as I rang the bell for service, the postie jumped out from behind his door and went "Ta-da!!!!!" Nice to meet someone capable of humour at five past sparrow fart in the morning.

FB requested steak and chips for his birthday dinner last Thursday (for he is turning into a bloke) and then on Friday his friend came to stay and we took them all to the Mongolian Barbeque for dinner. This is the perfect dinner venue for small boys as it allows them to NOT stay seated and to mill about in the restaurant to their hearts' content as they collect a weird assortment of ingredients which are then cooked on a hotplate by a bloke in a big hat. Cooked WITH SWORDS. Small boy heaven. FB on his first trip to collect some food was examining the containers of raw meat (zebra! ostrich! springbok!) and wisely noted that we should be careful when handling it, as raw meat can give you semolina.

I had produced the requested Ghostbusters cake which the restaurant had kindly confirmed they would produce on cue with a sparkler in it. It turned up with something in it which looked for all the world like a distress flare - flames and sparks shooting all over the place. FB was entranced. He and his friend subsequently dismantled the corpse of the sparkler and spread "dead gunpowder" all over the table.

And then the weekend was over and we were back at work. A friend of mine has been unwell and in hospital so I popped in to see her a couple of times this week. I wasn't sure what to take in for her so settled for a carefully selected range of magazines including Woman's Weekly, People's Friend and - a lucky find - Margaret Thatcher: Her Life in Pictures. She nearly hit me with the last one.

And that's about it, really. Oh, apart from the fun moment yesterday at our big scary monthly meeting at work where I somehow managed to accidentally throw my pen across the table at the Chief Executive. He then got down on his hands and knees and crawled under the boardroom table to pick it up for me. I was too busy giggling to get it myself.

Finally, I have to tell you this quick story to illustrate one of the many reasons I married Husband: he was flicking through the channels and came to QVC. I wasn't looking at the time but knew it was QVC because he went "Eurgh!!!" and that's a noise he only really makes at QVC. They were selling a pair of teddies (horrid ones, naturally) called Rhubarb and Crumble. The annoying woman explained that they were so named because they were trying to think of names of things that went really well together.

"Gin and tonic!" I shouted.

"Arse and elbow!" shouted Husband. He wins.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

In which I am distracted.

I settled down this evening with every intention of filling you in on this past week, including, as it did, First Born's 12th birthday bonanza. Unfortunately, Husband and I had the TV on and I was distracted by the latest advert to attract my scorn. So the proper bloggy update and celebration of the fact that we have managed to raise a human being to age 12 without killing or seriously maiming it will have to wait.

The advert that has me quivering with indignation is that one for Perle du Lait yogurt. Do you know the one I mean? The one where the plain, dowdy woman with no make-up and a couple of stainless steel clips stuck randomly in her hair grimaces her way through a pot of SOUR YOGURT OH THE HUMANITY! Her life is clearly devoid of joy and meaning.

Then she discovers Perle du Lait, a nice yogurt that is specially manufactured to be .........not sour, and she smiles her way through a pot. And lo! She is happy and content and all is right with her world through the miracle of coconut flavoured yogurt (incidentally: eugh. Yogurt should not be coconut flavoured. Ever). Or could it be because meantime someone has sneakily done her hair and make-up for her and improved the lighting and turned up the colour saturation? Do advertisers really think we are that dim? That we don't notice this stuff? Whatever they paid their advertising company, it was way too much.

Unless of course, eating this particular yogurt will indeed miraculously turn my hair into something worthy of the description "style" and apply make-up in the subtle and skillful way I have failed to learn over the last thirty-odd years. But I doubt it. I learned that lesson the hard way when I dutifully scoffed bowl after bowl of Ready Brek as a child and entirely failed to emit a warm orange glow on the way to school.

And frankly, if eating coconut flavoured yogurt is the price I would have to pay for perfect hair and make-up, then dishevelled and frumpy I shall remain.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

A-a-a-a-nd they're out!

Harumble! The cats are "going" outside. I don't know where, exactly, and don't really care. I no longer have to deal with the litter tray and a slightly crunchy kitchen floor. I am content.

The cats have however learned a few new tricks. In particular, they have discovered how warm it is up on top of our fridge. We have one of those disgustingly indulgent American-style plumbed-into-the-mains-so-it-dispenses-ice-and-water-like-we-don't-have-TAPS-that-do-that fridges (which I love to distraction. It is huge, and I don't have to load our weekly shop into it with a crowbar like I did with our old fridge. When you have a dairy allergic son you have a minimum of two different kinds of milk, spread, cheese, yogurt etc, so a big fridge really helps.) Anyway, the cats have discovered they can climb up there via the washing machine and lurk. Scared the bejasus out of me the other night when I went in to top up my glass of water, didn't bother switching on the light (the water dispenser bit has a light of its own doncha know) and Zyra decided to swipe at my head in the dark. That got the old blood pressure dancing a bit.

I was also greeted the other morning by the two boys who had been down for breakfast while I came to in the shower. They breathlessly announced that Zyra was clearly missing her litter tray and had pooped on the dining table (not sure how they ascertained that it was the work of Zyra rather than Bellus. Some questions are better not asked.) "But we cleaned it up with kitchen roll and Febreze" they assured me.

"Are you sure it was poo?" I asked. "Cats, if they are going to do that, normally pick a secluded corner, not in full view on top of the dining table."

"We're sure. We checked. It smelled like poo."

I was skeptical and checked the kitchen bin when I went down. It was a fragment of steak pie from the boys' dinner the night before. So now I know (1) the boys are not being particularly scrupulous when they wipe the table down after they have eaten, and (2) I serve them steak pie that smells like poo.

Good to know.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

More cat stuff and other stuff.

It seems like having two new cats around the house seriously interferes with one's blogging time. Partly this is due to the fact that I am again having to deal with The Litter Tray. Our old cat didn't use a litter tray - she was an outdoor girl and used a quiet corner of the garden. The new arrivals still prefer the fun of throwing gravel around my kitchen.

I don't know why, but the cats seem to consider watching me cleaning out their lavatorial facility to be the highest form of entertainment. I have only to start work with the scoop and both kitties appear as if by magic to watch. And to get in the way. And sometimes to climb into the tray for a REALLY GOOD LOOK while I am trying to remove.......stuff. Despite the fact that they produced said stuff themselves, it seems that everything must be thoroughly examined and approved before removal.

And then the clean litter tray, raked to the perfect, pristine precision of a Japanese Zen garden, must be christened. Immediately. Ideally before I have even managed to get the bag of litter back into the garage. The sooner we can persuade them that the great outdoors is a better location for such activities, the better.