Friday 27 February 2004

we have so much in common

Kylie considers motherhood at 35

Singer Kylie Minogue is afraid time is running out for her to have children, she has told Michael Parkinson.

The 35-year-old said becoming a mother would be "the best thing I've ever done", in a BBC One interview to be broadcast on Saturday.

"It's not too late, but obviously a woman of my age can't help but think about those things," she said.

Minogue said it would be "wonderful" to marry, but revealed no plans to wed her actor boyfriend Olivier Martinez.

giggling like the doughboy

I am not great at baking. I can cook, but my attempts at cakes, pies, and other assorted desserts usually don't go very well (although for some reason, I can make a wicked sticky toffee pudding and chocolate cheesecake). So you can imagine my surprise and glee when I managed to make cinnamon rolls last night. Real, homemade, almost as good as Cinnabon's cinnamon rolls. Mrs. Kitten Tosha very helpfully recommended Nigella's recipe for cinnamon rolls from the "How to be a Domestic Goddess" cookbook, and I must say ta muchly for the suggestion. The dough was rather alarmingly gloopy (a good cookbook should really warn you about things like this), and even Paul had a go at kneading it just in case it wasn't forming properly due to my girlygirl wimpy hands. It all turned out well in the end, and Paul's Dad should be happy with these birthday baked goods. Go me for only eating one roll last night! (It was broken anyway, plus I had to make sure that the dough was cooked properly. Oh shush.)

Paul said that cooking is an art but baking is a science (he may have stolen that quote from someone else, actually). I never did well in science class (except biology) and most of my studies revolved around art. This is probably why I can make a kick ass risotto but my one attempt at breadmaking resulted in a beige anvil.

Wednesday 25 February 2004

just making sure that you're paying attention

I was getting bored with the colours I've been using on this site lately, so I changed a few things. One day, I'll come up with a decent design and tidy up this entire site. One day...if I'm ever housebound for weeks on end with nothing to do or wind up in a prison with an Internet connection.

There's this thing called The Bloggies happening now. While I'm not really keen on events that commend the same three bloggers year after year, there are a few very good blogs nominated this year that are worth checking out (ScorpioGirl being one of them). There are, of course, The Anti-Bloggies. How can you not love a site that has a picture of a grilled cheese sandwich on its opening screen? Exactly.

I can't offer any prizes, nor will getting recognition on this site lead to a fantastic job opportunity, the love of your life, or allow you to lose weight without dieting or exercise (I also have no idea where to get cheap Viagra or how to get you out of debt. Sorry.). What I can offer is this: a few words extolling the virtues of your blog, summarised in a slightly amusing category. Don't let it go to your head, and don't forget the little people. So now, without further ado, here are a few blogs that you may have overlooked but should really visit.

The "Don't Read This if You're Hungry" award goes to Blork Blog: Ed gave me My Very First Tech Writing Job© (from Kenner), but that's not why I've singled him out here. His vivid descriptions of the meals he makes along with the odd photograph makes his blog the tastiest thing on the Internet. On top of that, it's simply a well written, interesting, and diverse blog.

The "Thanks for Motivating Me to Keep Up My French" award goes to I am not putting this site here just because its author just happens to be Ed's better half - I liked her writing even before they got together so nyaaaah! Martine's blog is written in French and English, which has helped me to keep up my French skills (such as they are). She's a self-proclaimed Geek Girl, with a fascinating list of jobs under her belt (she's been on TV, you know!), who writes thoughtful and insightful blog entries.

The "Slightly Insane but Incredibly Cute and Funny" award goes to Quickos Daily News: It's a blog written by a hand puppet. I don't think I've seen a funnier and more original blog. Go see what I mean.

The "I Wish My Blog Looked This Good and I Wrote About More Interesting Things" award goes to Burnt Toast: Well designed, great photographs, excellent writing on a wide variety of topics, this blog makes mine look like it was rejected by KMart.

Don't get me wrong; I think everyone in my links list is well worth a read. I actually visit every one of those sites on a regular basis (except for you people who don't update very often - for shame) and I think each one is brilliant. I very rarely go through the links on other people's sites, so I thought it would be nice to highlight a few here. Now go off and do some reading. Shoo.

Tuesday 24 February 2004

better now, thanks

I must confess, I usually buy my basil from the grocery store because I cannot grow the stuff at home. Even Jamie Oliver has trouble growing herbs like basil and coriander, so I'm not alone. I do still miss our basil plant, though. He gave us many good meals of bruschetta and pasta. We called him "Basil". I'm getting all verklempt now.

It's Shrove Tuesday today (that's Pancake Tuesday to you and me). Now here's an interesting fact: pancakes here tend to be very crepe-like and are traditionally served with lemon juice (usually that stuff that comes out of plastic lemons) and sugar. Since I'm a foreigner and everything we do is weird and terribly un-British anyway, I shall be making big, fluffy pancakes drowned in maple syrup. I used to adore Pancake Tuesday when I was a kid. Nothing but big discs of sweet doughy stuff topped with a bucket of sugary syrup and butter for dinner? FANTASTIC. Maybe one day someone will invent Chunky Kit Kat Wednesday.

Additionally, French toast or "eggy bread" is savoury, not sweet here. Maybe this is why you'll never find an IHOP in the UK.

Monday 23 February 2004

little miss grumpy

I am in such a cranky mood right now. I feel like listening to the Smashing Pumpkins and writing sad poems about the basil plant that died on us recently.

my basil has died

what the fuck am I going to put on our pizza tonight?

i ain't using it dried

i think it did this out of spite

Or not. Anyway, I don't think I'm the only one who's feeling grumpy because I've had to contend with two very huffy people today and it's not even lunchtime yet. What the world needs is more chocolate. Specifically, more chocolate with a creamy Prozac filling.

one less visit to the doctor's

I rang the surgery this morning and spoke to my favourite receptionist (if I had a sarcasm font, I would have just used it two words ago). She's always miserable whenever I speak to her, which is amazing because you'd think that it would be difficult to pick a fight over a conversation about booking an appointment...but she can do it, oh yes. I'm surprised that I didn't recount my first pregnancy-related interaction with her a few weeks ago. It went like this:

[me] "I'd like to book a prepregnancy checkup, please." (because that's what all the books and web sites advise, you see)

[grumpy receptionist] "A what?"

[me] "A prepregnancy checkup. To make sure I'm okay before we try to conceive."

[grumpy receptionist] "So you want a pregnancy test."

[me] "No, I want a PREpregnancy or PREconception check. I'm going to be 35 soon and I think it's wise to see a doctor before we start trying."

[grumpy receptionist] "So how far along do you think you are?"

[me] (stunned silence) "Um...I'm not pregnant yet. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding something. I've read several books that have advised what they call a prepregnancy check. Do you not do those?"

[grumpy receptionist] "What would that involve?"

[me] "Erm...I'm not sure, really. A rubella jab?"

[grumpy receptionist] "Well, all girls have had one, so you don't need another one."

[me] (wondering where she got her medical degree from) "Yes but in Canada, we only get one jab when we're toddlers and not another one later like you do here. So I don't know if I'm still immune."

[grumpy receptionist] "You'll be fine. We don't do prepregnancy checks here anyway. It's just the NHS, so we don't do that."

[me] "Yes but I would still like to see someone because I have other concerns. For example, diabetes runs in my family and I have some questions about that."

[grumpy receptionist] "You can see Zoe, our diabetes nurse."

Fine. After 10 minutes of this stimulating conversation, she finally agreed to book an appointment for me with a diabetes nurse (who luckily, as I wrote previously, turned out to be lovely). Zoe advised me to ring back today to check and see if my rubella test was you can imagine my joy when I heard the melodious sound of my favourite receptionist's voice at the other end of the phone this morning. I explained that I had a test done a week ago for rubella and asked if I could check the results. "IF they're back!" she snorted. Indeed. They had come back and I am fine; I don't need a rubella jab.

Someone please tell me that when I'm pregnant I don't have to deal with this surgery, the doctors at this surgery, or this idiotic receptionist. Otherwise, I can't be held responsible for anything my hormones may make me do.

Friday 20 February 2004

out of sorts

I woke up this morning (da na na na na na) and thought it was Saturday (da na na na na). No really, I was completely convinced that it was Saturday:

[Paul, slightly surprised] "Hello!"


"What are you doing down here at this time?"

"I woke up so I decided to get out of bed." [mentally preparing a list of things to do before we set off for Warrington later in the morning]

"Would you like a cup of tea?"

"Yes, please."

"You do realise that it's Friday, don't you?"

*blink blink*

Yerrrs. Needless to say, I've been feeling a bit out of sorts all day. In lieu of one of my usual thought-provoking posts (*cough*), here's a list of amusing search strings that have led to my site this month.

pictures of people doing laundry naked

picture's of fluffy hamsters

chinese kitty meat song

ear poking

hanging wedgie pics

pictures of baby puppies doing naughty things

pictures of people rolling down hills

vw scented windshield fluid

wooly cows

Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday 19 February 2004

baby fix

We love it when babies come to visit the office (when I say "we" I mean me and one other broody woman who works here). Today, we had a visit from Morgan who is now 8 months old and giggly. He was premature, so the first time I saw him, he weighed only 5 lbs. at 6 weeks old. Now he's a strapping 20 lbs. and can sort of walk around if you hold his hands. He smiled and giggled at me, drooled and dropped crumbs all over me, and my RSI-inflicted arm is very sore from holding him. He's lovely. I feel calm and happy now. Mmmmm.

what's in a name?

Whilst looking through the email address list at work yesterday (we were bored), we had a good giggle over some of the names we found. Granted, you can't do much about your last name (except women can try to trade up to a better one when they get married) but a bad first name is no one's fault but your parent's. I very narrowly escaped being cursed with a ridiculous name (my Dad wanted to name me Muffin), but luckily I have a mother who is sensible in that respect. I cannot believe some of the names people come up with - Chardonnay, Indigo, Sienna. Trust me, they will all grow up to be porn stars with names like that.

So, this is my vow: I promise not to inflict a stupid name on our child. I cannot guarantee that I won't come up with stupid pet names (i.e. terms of endearment, not names for an actual pet).
they'll take away my moose

I am a bad Canadian. I only just discovered that we have a new prime minister. Not only did I not know about the election, I didn't even know the leader of the country of my birth had changed, for goodness sake. Now, what does that tell you about the visibility of Canadian (major) news items outside of North America? I read the BBC site on a regular basis, but I think I need to keep the CBC site bookmarked from now on. During the last election, I actually voted by post so that I could still feel like I'm part of my homeland. I still say "oot" and "aboot" (much to Paul's delight), I call cheese slices Kraft Singles, I still get excited when I see a Canadian on TV (and must point it out to anyone who's listening), and I have a little plastic moose on top of my monitor. I pine for This Hour has 22 Minutes, I get frustrated when I can't crack jokes related to Tim Horton's or SCTV because no one knows what I'm talking about, and I was the only one giggling like a loon in the cinema when they showed the moose in trailers for "Brother Bear". And I am vexed at the fact that the Blogger spellchecker wants to replace "CBC" with "CBS". I have not been totally assimilated yet; I just don't look at enough news resources.

I'm sorry, Canada. I didn't even visit you last Christmas.
when did merchant/ivory form a religion?

According to the Cambridgeshire County Council, your civil wedding ceremony (as opposed to an uncivil wedding, where your uncle Lou picks a fight with your mother-in-law and the bride ends up in the back of the DJ's minivan with the best man) cannot contain the following:

"...extracts from the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Prophet (by Gilbran), and Howard's End."

"Howard's End"?

I quite like their suggestion for alternatives, though:

"Perhaps you might have some Shakespeare or some Wordsworth, maybe you prefer something from Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne!"

I do, you silly old bear.

Wednesday 18 February 2004

midweek frivolity

It's been such a silly day. I was told that my glasses are very "Nana Mouskouri" (not really the look I'm going for, but it made me giggle). A customer has offered to be my guinea pig, and I have offered to buy him some wood shavings and a big metal wheel (out of context, that sounds so naughty). I spent several minutes going through our global address book looking for amusing names, after a conversation to this effect with workmates (I am quite amused that our company employs people called Tito, Cletus, and Fabio). Jean-Luc took a picture of Sean Bean looking really hacked off at JFK airport.

Time to go home now.

Monday 16 February 2004

all we need is 2.5 kids

Via ScorpioGirl, here's our little family in paper doll form:

[from The Family Dollmaker]

I think the Wee Mee in the upper left corner of my blog is a bit more accurate, although the dog in this one is spot on. Neato.
i thought it felt a bit breezy

How long have I been wandering around with my fly undone? And why didn't any of you people tell me about it? Honestly.

you know you're getting a bit mental when... find yourself getting really excited about your period. Maybe this needs a bit of context. Hmm nah, it'll probably still sound insane. The point is, I was really pleased to discover that this month (my first month off the pill), I had a "near perfect" 24 day cycle. I have been on the pill for approximately one kajillion years, off and on. During the times I wasn't on the pill, my periods were incredibly wonky. I'd go up to 6 months without one and then have a rip roarin' time for 2 weeks (or more) when it finally arrived. I was a lot fatter then, smoked, and was always stressed out, so perhaps things have become better now as a result of my healthier, less stressed lifestyle. Or maybe after this month, my next period won't happen until Halloween. Who knows. Still, I'm pretty excited. On a different note, I have been reintroduced to the world of PMS/PMT. A world with which I have been unfamiliar for many years and my brain has (deliberately?) forgotten. It wasn't too bad but it does explain some of the weirdness I wrote about a week ago.

I've also started taking my temperature every morning and marking it down faithfully in my little Boots fertility chart thingy. I always thought that when books recommended taking your temperature, it meant to take it...erm...down there with some sort of special thermometer. It made sense to me at the time - wasn't it to see if your body was at the right temperature for successful fertilisation? I can't be the only one who thought this. When I told my Mom that I got a funky new digital thermometer to take my temperature, she said that my aunt (a nurse) has a fancy one that takes it in a couple of seconds via the ear...but that it wouldn't be of much help for my purposes. Well, at least we know where I get some of my logic from.

I started reading "The Best Friend's Guide to Pregnancy" by Vicky Iovine, which has been annoying me for a couple of reasons. One, it's very American (it's not really a tangible complaint that I can describe very well, but suffice it to say that some of the writing style made me cringe slightly) and two, whoever "translated" it into Britspeak from American didn't really do a very good job of it, and I find that distracting. What is the point of changing certain references like "fill my car with gas" to "fill my car with petrol" but leave in references to Judge Judy and Chippendale dancers? I think you might as well leave anecdotal books like this in its original "language" because most people in the UK know what gas and PMS are. Otherwise, it's not a bad book but it's not quite for me (and in fact, I found it kind of depressing). I loved reading through Miriam Stoppard's "New Pregnancy and Birth Book", maybe because it's straightforward and has lots of fascinating pictures and diagrams (what can I say, I'm part of the TV generation and we need lots of colours and short simple bits of information). Most importantly, I take everything with a grain of salt and understand that every woman is different. No book can tell me exactly what my pregnancy will be like, but it'll be nice to have some references on hand.

Gosh, that was a long and rambly post. Sorry about that. Hormones, you see.

Friday 13 February 2004


I must start this off by simply stating Hooray For Nurses! I have yet to encounter a doctor here who isn't a miserable, apathetic, and uncaring git (and only had two good ones in Canada in the 30ish years I lived there). I can say, without exaggeration, that every single nurse I've seen here has been excellent. They spend as much time with you as you need, offer friendly and reassuring advice, and actually look like they give a shit when you're talking to them. They are severely underpaid and yet they maintain this fantastic level of care. Hooray for nurses, I say.

I went to see the nurse yesterday afternoon to chat about various prepregnancy issues I was wondering about. On Monday morning, I'm getting tested to see if I'm immune to rubella (my Mom said I had a rubella shot when I was a toddler, but they tend to inoculate girls again at around 10-11 years old here). Otherwise, I seem to be doing all that I can in preparation.

Now to get back to the diet. After our big Valentine's dinner, of course.
it's friday the thirteenth, and here i am without a chainsaw and goalie mask

For those of you who aren't too keen on Valentine's Day and think it's a bunch of Hallmark-induced pap that should be banned like asbestos, here are Meg's Anti-Valentine's cards. A few new ones since last year, and all of them make me giggle.

I like Valentine's Day. Why? Because it involves chocolate. Duh. Let me take this opportunity to spread my good lovin' around the Internet and wish you all a happy Valentine's Day. :)

[courtesy of acme heart maker]

Thursday 12 February 2004

some thoughts

I was reading the book _The Rough Guide to Pregnancy_ last night (thanks, Heather!), which was making me giggle. Any book that uses the phrase "boring as batshit" is okay by me. Although the section on preconception is quite brief, there are a few interesting questions at the end of the section us preconceiving women can think about and/or record (in a blog, for example) for future reference.

Why do we want to have a baby?

Probably the most basic question, but hardest to answer. Part of it is simply instinct; an inherent need to do what nature intended, for lack of a better description. When I was younger, I didn't feel ready to have a baby but I couldn't say with any certainty that I never wanted kids (which became a real problem when my partner through my 20s was adamant about never having kids). I didn't really know that I wanted a child until a year or so ago, and I think that has a lot to do with having a fantastic partner and being in a great relationship, having a good job that I truly enjoy, and having a more stable/secure life in general. So as to why we want kids, maybe the answer is that I don't really know. It's not that tangible. It's a feeling of wanting to take care of a being that is part of the two of us, to share my life, love, and experiences with our child.

What do we expect?

I have learned not to have any expectations because they never turn out like I had imagined. What I have discovered is that many things about pregnancy and birth have completely surprised me. I think the author summed it up perfectly when she said that she thought pregnancy would be like her but with a bump in front. I thought that it would mostly involve throwing up for the first few months, odd cravings, and getting fat (I think television has influenced me too much). Who knew about breathlessness, nausea in the last trimester, false labour, the constant need to pee, etc.? Then there's motherhood. I really don't know what to expect, but I do know what I want to avoid. There are promises that I will make to my child that I will never break.

What are we doing in preparation?

You've read it all here, folks. Um, except that the dieting isn't going so well because I've been insanely hungry lately. And the exercise is nonexistent. *cough* Got my appointment with the nurse today, though. Will write an update about that later. I've also started taking my temperature every morning.

What about work?

I'm really struggling with this one and I'm finding this hard to sort out. I can probably afford to take three months off work (and I know that Paul wouldn't hesitate to support me financially if I wanted to take more time off), but the bigger dilemma is about returning to work. I always thought that I'd take some time off, then gradually return to work (i.e. work from home full time, then come in one or two days a week, etc.). I didn't think about what I'd do about returning to work full time. Would we put the baby in daycare? Could we afford it? Could I work from home on a permanent basis? At this point, I don't think I'd want to quit work completely. I really like my job and can't imagine not working, full stop. I have a feeling that this is something that we won't know about until we're actually parents.

Wednesday 11 February 2004

isn't it romantic?

Since I'm thinking about food and Valentine's Day (and when am I not thinking about food?), what is the sexiest meal your partner (real or imaginary) could cook for you?

My choice: a simple green salad (topped with Parmesan shavings) followed by a big bowl of creamy pasta (fresh tagliatelle or linguini) loaded with fresh grilled seafood, served with warm crusty bread or rolls, and something very chocolately for dessert. Ooh and a deep, rich red wine.*

*(to be honest, any meal that I don't have to cook is flippin' sexy)
it's monkey time

It's time for Ed and Martine's 12 Monkeys Non-Meme.

This month's theme:

"Talk about the times in your life when you felt really, really alive."

  • The last time I fell in love

  • When I moved my life across the pond

  • When I got on a bicycle for the first time since I was a teenager

  • When I got on a scooter for the first time

  • When I stood amongst the hills of the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District, Cornwall, Devon, Wales, and Napa Valley

  • Every time I hold a baby

  • Whenever my plane touches back down on the ground
meat update

Yesterday's meat experience: grilled pork. It kind of tastes like chicken. Think I'll stick to chicken.

Monday 9 February 2004

are you sitting comfortably?

I'm starting to realise that the last few weeks of pregnancy must be the most uncomfortable. Last night, poor Heather had to get on all fours, prop up her front with an exercise ball and put a pillow under her knees to get comfortable. She told us about the small fort she'd built with pillows to keep things comfy and stop delicate muscles from getting strained. Then there was her description of feeling like the baby had hooked its little feet around the back of her ribs.

Maybe the last few weeks should be spent in a nice warm bath with small breaks for massages and light snacks.
boys and girls

Read about the 78 differences between men and women on the BBC site. I'm a bit worried that I possess some of the male traits (e.g. "Men have the capacity to sleep through most sounds, whether it is a baby crying, dog barking, or doorbell ringing." - that's me in spades).

It was a very good weekend. On Friday night, Paul made us some fajitas accompanied by a lovely bottle of red wine (Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvignon, for the curious). On Saturday night, Micky and Susan whipped up a fantastic veggie meal for us. On Sunday, Jack and Heather made us a gorgeous roast chicken dinner with brownies fresh from the oven for dessert. I haven't cooked dinner since Thursday. It was a very good weekend indeed.

I've noticed how my world seems to revolve around food lately (more so than usual). I spent Saturday morning going through cookbooks searching for inspiration or recipes I haven't tried before, especially seeing as I've got this whole new world of meat products open to me now. I've also noticed that my standards are changing. Don't get me wrong, I'll still eat toast with a big smear of peanut butter on it for breakfast (sometimes on a plate, but most times on a paper towel), but lately I've been craving food that's a bit more interesting. For example, I used to favour things like spaghetti with a decent tomato sauce and tuna (which sounds gross but it's actually very nice). Last Thursday, I made grilled scallops, squid, and prawns on fresh angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, lemon, garlic, chilli, Parmesan, and fresh basil. How very bistro of me. We now keep a pot of Maldon salt next to the stove, which is a step up from the sea salt we used to buy, and yet another step above the Sifto table salt I always used before. I got annoyed when I couldn't find any decent mushrooms at the grocery store this weekend and had to "settle" for shiitake, chestnut, and dried porcini mushrooms for an upcoming pasta dish. I order my sushi ingredients via Internet/mail order. I'm considering getting seafood the same way in my quest to find decent and interesting fish.

I'm going totally epicure with my bad self - which is odd because I really hate pretentious food snobs.

Thanks to Jo for suggesting the book Fat Girl Slim by Ruth Watson. I hate to call it a "diet book" because it's more about healthy eating for foodies. Although I suspect that some of her recipes were "inspired" by other top TV foodies (e.g. Nigella's asparagus dipped in soft boiled eggs or Jamie Oliver's roaster aubergine dip), most are ideas she's put together herself. We're very similar in that we both could eat bread all day, every day and we hate exercising (the term "fun run" always makes me giggle with slightly maniacle glee), and we love good food. It's a good read if you're fed up with the Rosemary Conley's of the world.

Friday 6 February 2004

it's friday!

I am so looking forward to the weekend. It's been a long week with not nearly enough chocolate content for my liking. I'd do the Friday Five but it's all about taking risks and the riskiest thing I've done lately is eat hummous more than two days after opening the container (despite the big warning not to on the lid).

I am one wild lady.

Instead, here's a list of nine films (out of hundreds) that I've really enjoyed over the years (idea completely ripped off from Jim). Feel free to rent them over the weekend, but don't call me and complain if you don't like them.

  • Fargo: "He's fleeing the interview!" Probably the only time I've been genuinely happy about who won the best actress Oscar.

  • Mystery Train: One of Jim Jarmusch's best films, with a brilliant character played by Screamin' Jay Hawkins and lots of early Elvis classics (i.e. the Sun Records recordings, pre-Jailhouse Rock).

  • Amelie: It's a nice film. In a time of many heavy, depressing, ridiculous, cheesy, and overrated films, it was lovely to come across this gem. It's a nice, harmless, happy film.

  • Being There: A quietly brilliant performance from Peter Sellers in his last film.

  • Usual Suspects/Memento (tie!): There are very few well written screenplays, but these two films successfully told two very complex tales with excellent, unpredictable plot twists. I would also put Quentin Tarantino in this category, although his strength is more in his characters' dialogue than his plotlines.

  • The Apartment: Best closing line ever: "Shut up and deal." Any Billy Wilder film makes it into my favourites list, really.

  • Au Revior Les Enfants: A beautiful film by one of my favourite directors, Louis Malle.

  • The Wizard of Oz: A childhood favourite, even though the deflating witch's feet and flying monkeys scared the holy bejeezus out of me.

  • Lord of the Rings (all three films): I'm sure it's horribly unfashionable to publicly declare your love for the LOTR trilogy, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed these films. Maybe it's a blessing that I never read the books and couldn't pick out all the missing/erroneous bits. I think this is the only series of films that is consistent or, dare I say, got better with each sequel.

Oh and Finding Nemo, of course. I must be getting soppy in my old age.

no room in the inn

Further to Wednesday's post, I am also convinced that pregnancy was not designed with women in mind. Looking at pictures of the baby's development inside the body, I don't quite see where your internal organs are supposed to go in later stages of pregnancy. From what I can gather, it looks like your stomach, diaphragm, lungs, and heart have to relocate to somewhere around your chin for the last two months. And what is this business about not being able to breathe properly in month 8? I'm no doctor, but the mother's ability to breathe must be a fundamental part of the baby's development. Then there's birth. An entire baby is supposed to come out of an opening that's normally the size of a 50p coin? Surely you jest.

If we were designed to carry babies and give birth in any sort of comfort, our torsos would be hollow and we'd have some sort of opening that would allow something bigger than a citrus fruit to pass through. Further proof that god must be a man, if you ask me.

all in my head

I think I'm going insane. Either that, or going off the pill makes you go through some odd physical and mental changes. In the past week, I've been extremely tired, felt very distracted (I can't make decisions about simple things like what to have for lunch), my nose has suddenly erupted into spots, my sense of taste and smell has been heightened (not for the better, I might add), and I've experienced a few other uncomfortable issues that I won't make you read about. It's not PMS (too early) and I doubt that I'm pregnant (we're using condoms with spermicide).

Maybe I'm suffering from Medical Student Syndrome - I'm experiencing various symptoms I've been reading about in pregnancy books. Next thing I know, I'll be eating pickles and ice cream and throwing up throughout the day. Grand.

Thursday 5 February 2004

modern love

Today, Paul presented me with the gift of a Bluetooth USB dongle. Most women would have received a gift like this with a look that says "Tonight, you will be sleeping on a sofa - a sofa at the dump that the local kids have set alight.", but not me. Although slightly puzzled at first (did I mention to Paul that I wanted one of these things?) I have had quite a bit of fun transferring things to my mobile phone. I have enough cheesy midi ringtones to last me a lifetime and a plethora of new wallpaper images. Woohoo!

(If you do take a stroll through the midi site linked above, listen to the midi versions of any of the Hole songs listed. I giggled for hours.)
the first sign of the apocalypse

So Janet Jackson flashes a boob during the half time show of the Superbowl, and American morality goes into rapid decline. Yes. Well. It's not like she dangled a baby over a balcony in Germany, is it? Had she bit the head off Justin Timberlake, perhaps that would be something to complain about. (Or giggle at, depending on your point of view.)

Over here, we've had a slight uproar (in the British sense, of course) regarding John Lydon AKA Johnny Rotten's recent outburst on live television. Apparently, the "C word" is not something that should be shouted at Ant and Dec, although most of us would debate that point. Frankly, I find Jordan's ludicrously inflated chest and vapid personality more offensive.

Considering the fact that last week's episode of ER (which probably aired four months ago in North America) showed a woman topless as she was being treated, what's the big hoohah about Janet Jackson?

Wednesday 4 February 2004

breaking into the window of opportunity

It's amazing. With all the chemical and physical barriers present in the female body, it's astounding that we get pregnant at all. I was reading my book last night (I know I said not to read too much, but I'm just sticking to one book for now) and went through the section about conception. So if I understand this correctly, there is a 12-24 hour period per month (if I am actually ovulating) in which I may become pregnant if one of Paul's 2,000 sperms (that are no more than roughly 24 hours old) makes it through, and if the fertilized egg actually takes hold and implants itself.


I can see why women drive themselves mental trying to get the timing right (and how it's so easy for the whole process to become such a chore for her partner). I've started to chart my cycles mostly out of curiosity, and perhaps later, out of necessity. When it's time, my mantra will be "go for it and see what happens". In the meantime, I really must stop reading the sections about labour and birth because they're freaking me out.
my corns are achin'

Why is it that the older I get, the more sickly I become? I am always feeling slightly poorly. I'm either tired, my RSI/allergies/contact lenses/PMS/tummy is bothering me, or I think I'm coming down with a cold...or all of the above, if I'm lucky. I'm not sure if I was healthier when I was younger, or just not aware of how I felt. It must be the latter because I used to take such bad care of myself, there's no way I was healthier back then (e.g. I shamefully admit that I have, more than once, continued to smoke when I had bronchitis).

Well, that's it. I'm fed up with noticing every ache and pain in my body. From now on, my handbag will be well stocked with codeine and vodka and I shall never ache again.*

*I'm kidding about the booze and pills. I'll just stop moaning about everything, which Paul should greatly appreciate.

Tuesday 3 February 2004

we have a cunning plan

One night in bed, Paul and I curled up together in the dark and talked about babies. We had talked about having kids before, so we knew that it was something we both wanted, but we didn't talk about when. Two months before my 35th. birthday, I thought it would be a good time to start talking about when. So we curled up together in the dark and talked.

Hence, here we are at the beginning of the Paul and Lisa Have a Baby story.

I am not usually one for making plans, I'm more of a diving in head first without noticing that the pool is empty kind of gal. It's a bit unusual for me to be so keen about preparing ourselves for parenthood, but some instinct buried deep within my genetic programming is compelling me to make plans - and stick to them.

Stage one: getting fightin' fit, saving money, and doing research

In the next few months, I want to lose that last stone that's been overstaying its welcome and build up more muscular and cardio strength. I'm going to the doctor's office next week to see if I'm immune against German Measles and to do a diabetes check (it runs in my family). I'll be putting more money into my super secret savings account per month than usual and letting my stock options vest. We need to estimate out how much time off work I'll need and how much that will cost minus the maternity benefits. Finally, I've done quite a bit of reading. Which leads me to my next point.

Tip #1: don't read too much

I've read various articles, books, and web sites about conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. I'm now more confused than when I didn't know very much about this whole pregnancy thing. Some "experts" suggest that you eat at least two portions of oily fish per week, such as tuna. Others warn against eating certain fish more than once a week, such as tuna. Some say that waiting a longer period of time will improve your partner's sperm count. Others say to go at it like teenage rabbits during your fertile weeks as waiting decreases the quality of the sperm. Some say to hoist up your legs and put a pillow under your butt for 20 minutes afterwards. Others say this is rubbish and accomplishes nothing. A bit of caffeine and one or two units of alcohol is fine. Don't go near caffeine or alcohol. In fact, if you live near a Starbuck's MOVE, YOU BAD MOTHER.

One thing I've read that has helped was in the introduction to a book I'm reading by Dr. Miriam Stoppard. She said that more women are having babies around 35 and that this is advantageous in several ways. We're more financially stable, in more solid relationships, and more self assured than we were in our 20s. We've worked our way up to a career that fulfils us, and that allows us the flexibility to take some time off and return when we're ready.

So here we go...
almost as good as domino's

My new passport arrived today! I sent everything in to the Canadian High Commission in London less than two weeks ago, and my shiny new passport (complete with a non-Uncle Festerlike photo) came in the post this morning. How fabulous is that?

That is all.

Monday 2 February 2004

morrissey would be mortified

So I ate beef last night. That's right - a big hunk of beef fillet, lovingly cooked by Paul. Let me put this into context, for those of you who don't know me or haven't known me for long. I haven't eaten red meat since 1986, when I decided that The Smiths and Kate Bush were the coolest people ever and that I too should become a vegetarian. I was 17; I never claimed to be an intellectual or philosophical genius. I didn't eat any meat until around 1991 when I started eating chicken and fish again for various reasons. Up until last night, I didn't eat anything other than fish/shellfish, chicken, turkey, and the occasional crispy duck. Well, and other things involving vegetables and grains, but you know what I mean.

I decided that I missed certain types of meat (mostly steak and roast beef - I've never tried lamb, so maybe that'll be part of my new culinary plan) and that I certainly wasn't avoiding red meat for any moral reasons. If it was a moral issue, someone would need to explain to me that chicken and fish aren't vegetables...which is something I've actually said to people who kept insisting that I was vegetarian, but I digress. I also knew that I wanted our children to be able to choose what they eat, and provide them with as much dietary variety as possible. I don't think they should miss out on beef burgers and bacon because my choice of diet was based more on personal taste than any ethical issue. Plus, I saw Jamie Oliver make a beef carpaccio on TV the other day, and I thought it looked damned tasty.

For health reasons, I probably won't eat very much beef, pork, or lamb anyway. Poultry and fish are generally less fattening, and I'm not really a big fan of most pig products. It will, however, be very nice to enjoy a lovely roast beef dinner every now and then (with leftovers for sandwiches, of course) and to try lamb for the first time. I'm also curious about prosciutto and Parma ham (they always look so lovely wrapped around a piece of fish). I'll pass on the haggis and blood pudding, thanks.

Sunday 1 February 2004

have you seen this man?

I have one of those fancy pants mobile phones that allows you to take and send pictures. I was going through my pictures yesterday and stumbled across this one:

I have no idea who this is. The data for this picture tells me that I received this file on January 10 of this year, but I have no record of a picture message from anyone and I did not take this picture myself. I don't have bluetooth enabled on my phone (except when Gary sends me funky ring tones), so it wasn't one of those stealth bluetooth messages.

I'm stumped. Truly. If anyone has any idea who this is, please let me know.