Thursday, November 30, 2006

The New Widget

To explain the new widget on the right -

One of our contributors very rightly asked whether there was any way for us all to get email notification of new posts, to save popping in here several times a day!

The FeedBlitz dooda doesn't email you when there are new comments, but it does half the job.

Its there for the contributoes, in other words, although anyone else who can't be bothered with an online feedreader is perfectly welcome to sign up.

Yes, I know its going to fry the visitor numbers here if everyone reads remotely, but Gee I guess I'm just a real nice girl.

No, honestly, I am.

Look, just don't push it, OK?


UPDATE. Not that impressed. I just got a copy of this post in my inbox, courtesy of said gizmo, 27 hours after the fact. Right.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

where the heart is

I have a personal rant, if I may?

When we lived in The Town From Which We Have Recently Moved, we had what I would describe as quite a close-knit circle of friends.

Since we have moved to The Village In The Country, they have been conspicuous by their absence.

Don't get me wrong, I know that everyone has busy lives, things to do, places to go, family. But a quick text to ask how we were getting on now and then wouldn't kill, would it? Or an email? Or even a response to my own emails. Or a comment on my blog - I know some of them read it. I'm not expecting them to make the hour-each-way journey to visit.

Just to keep in touch now and again. They are people my OH was AT SCHOOL WITH for goodness sake. He sees them as his best friends. Or he did.

Other people have managed it - people we see pretty irregularly.

I suppose you never know how good friends are until you are both in a situation where reality bites.

But I am REALLY grumpy about this, less on my own behalf than his.

That is all.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Slow Thinker

Well we are a success, it seems, having already attracted our first serious antagonist.

'Sir'. You are not responsible for my reflex actions, but I have to share that I find one of your comments particularly repulsive and offensive.

How can you say you have spent time in Afghanistan and then say these things?

Afghanistan, where women are sold as brides like cattle, have no rights, no access to education, no access to medical care (because women may not be touched or looked at by a strange male doctor, nor may women become doctors themselves.)

How can you spend time in a country where some women are under total subjugation, where there is vivid testimony to the work of male domination allowed to run riot, and yet say "The woman made the choice when she opened her legs"?


Think about what you said. If you truly believe it then you also truly believe that we are stronger than the men, that we cannot be coerced, seduced, cornered or forced, neither emotionally nor physically; that we have everything in our physical and mental arsenal from puberty onward to see right through you boys, despise you and ignore you. Thats bullshit, isnt it.

God forbid, what if you had been maimed or killed in Afghanistan? What if someone was just as unsympathetic to your wife - no pension, no help, no funeral with honours, because "The jerk made the choice when he signed up"?

They'd have more right to do that, however abominable it sounds - after all, no-one bigger and stronger came along and drugged you or forcibly opened your legs to shove a conscription up your arse. Now do you begin to see how frustratingly offensive your words are?

I really think, if you have any respect at all or any idea of manners, that it would be best if you didn't comment here for a good while.

Thank you.

Oh and by the way, trying to make this about abortion instead of contraception is just pathetic.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Is that how you would spell it, if you were really, really feeling obnoxious and you needed all people within a 12,500 miles radius to hear you clearing your throat?

aHERM, then.

Dear Mr Z:

Please note that the last two times (and the only two times) I have attempted to watch television this month, you have had some sort of personal crisis or near nervous breakdown (over the teensy-weensiest of matters), and my viewing pleasure was immediately disrupted.

Please note also, that you're currently sitting in front of the television which is broadcasting some sort of event involving men wearing helmets and very tight pants, and I am not even close to having any sort of personal crisis or near nervous breakdown.

What does that say about you?

What does that say about me?

Pffft; not even close, buddy. Not even close!

Sincere "think-about-its" from your very capable and grumpy wife,


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Birth Control

Dr. Eric Keroack has been appointed by President Bush to head up the Office of Family Planning. Keroack currently is medical director of A Woman's Concern, a Christian nonprofit. The group’s purpose is to discourage pregnant women from having an abortion. Now, some feel abortion is murder, and some feel what a woman does with her own body should not be subject to government intervention. That argument will go on forever. But this group goes way beyond that.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Keroack appointment angered many family planning advocates, who noted that A Woman's Concern supports sexual abstinence until marriage, opposes contraception and does not distribute information promoting birth control at its six pregnancy-service centers in Massachusetts.

"A Woman's Concern is persuaded that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness," the group's Web site says.
The mission statement can be found here. The contraceptive policy is the only section in a PDF format.

Birth control demeaning to women? Why? Because it encourages premarital or extramarital sex? Thats just like a man, to think that the purpose of birth control is to enjoy free sex. A woman looks at the purpose of birth control and thinks about her life. Face it, the vast majority of women of childbearing age are married. Maybe we take it for granted today, but when birth control was not widely available, life was quite different. Women didn’t want to die in their 30s and 40s from birthing their 10th, 11th, or 12th child. They didn’t want to have to divide the family’s resources fifteen ways, which left no one with adequate nourishment and nurturing. From The History of Birth Control, we learn what impelled Margaret Sanger to campaign for birth control.

BORN Sept. 14, 1879, in Corning, N.Y.
Born into an Irish working-class family, Margaret witnessed her mother's slow death, worn out after 18 pregnancies and 11 live births.
While working as a nurse and midwife in the poorest neighborhoods of New York City in the years before World War I, she saw women deprived of their health, sexuality and ability to care for children already born.

Its no coincidence that the number of families with six children or more dropped like a stone after The Pill became available in the early 60s. This is far from just an issue of teenage pregnancy. This issue goes to the very core of how women are viewed by the entire culture. We cannot let modern-day value judments send us back to the Victorian Age, or the Stone Age. I’m not all het up on this because I depend on birth control. I don’t. I’ve never been pregnant. But I have daughters, and even if I had sons instead, I would be concerned for the women they eventually love. In the same way, this is not just a woman’s issue because it affects a man’s life, too, as well as the lives of his mother, wife, sisters, and daughters.


I bet that in less than 20 years the next generation, our current pre-schoolers, will be openly resentful and disgusted towards us for global warming. I reckon that this will focus on ostentatious displays of carbon emissions and general power gluttony.

Christmas trees and exterior lights being a prime example.

After looking at a 'festive' photo on another blog today; after trying to imagine how many small towns there are in the Western World, how many High Streets, how many malls, how many light bulbs 'up for Christmas' already; I find I plan to be a subversive granny.

Once the kids have flown the nest and I am free to contemplate a jail sentence, I will be sorely tried to avoid slashing the tyres of 4x4s and gas guzzlers used in town 'for show'. There are groups doing that in other countries already, and I wouldn't be starting anything new. So what about Christmas tree toppling?

Christmas Trees are entirely pagan, which may suit some in the pro-consumerism, anti-Christian mood of this decade, (who I am sure will turn a blind eye to the concept of Paganism being a religion in its own right.)

However, just as the image of Jesus Christ the little brown Jewish/Egyptian baby has been bastardised into Johnny Blonde in fake snow (Hitler would be so proud); so the sacred evergreen tree, the symbol in our snowbound past that life continues, has been chopped off at the roots and bedecked in trashy sparkles.

Never mind the title here - those are two examples of what I call profane behaviour.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Fuck This, aka a review of BlogExplosion

Having checked this site out in record time and refused it on the grounds of profanity in the title, the team at Blog Explosion have performed a second review just as quickly, this time rejecting us for not having quite enough posts, nor being in existence for at least a week.

None of this is explained on the page where you claim a second blog and I am gobsmacked that they couldnt even be bothered to build a bit of standard text into the first email and save all this fucking about.

If they are upping the speed of response to appear professional, they have lost the plot. Explaining things and not messing people about (ie the quality of response) is infinitely more important.

Graa. Bitches we are and bitches we remain.


Bitches no more

Now we are Bats.

It would seem that in some small area of a rather large (and to me, foreign) country known as the USA, the term 'bitches' is not simply vulgar, or inappropriate, but profane.

You can't join blog explosion, if, by their definition (and lets face it, its all subjective and relies entirely on where you live), your title contains 'profanity'. I always thought profanity was an insult to God or the sacred. Perhaps the implication is that we are really Goddesses, or at least sacred cows.

I want to join blog explosion, and thats all there is to it, so we are no longer domesticated wolves or foxes, but instead we are blood sucking furballs; dark creatures of the night that hang upside down and quietly shit on you from a great height.

Sounds good to me.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Went For a Job Interview

..... last week.

The post was one of two at a satellite office and was admin; foil to the swish, plummy sales woman.

Her assistant had left; moved on. There are six similar jobs going within the company, and she confessed to a fairly high turnover for that post. Few handle the pressure of being Miss Moneypenny to would-be James Bonds with a sex change and PMT, it seems.

A youngster from the larger Kent office had driven in to help with the interviews. A lovely girl, she looked about 19 and definitely gave the appearance that, like school uniform, she was planning to grow into her suit.

It became increasingly apparent that they both saw me as over the hill, at 45.

When, at the end of the interview I was asked why I should be hired, I gave up, put on a croaky voice and said, jokingly "Because I'm old, so I won't leave".

My interviewer's eyes lit up.

"Thats a very good point." she said.

What Happened in the Green Kitchen?

Everything was fine except that I was tired from being on my feet for hours, so I took a load off. Eena was channel surfing and happened upon a movie I hadn't seen in 30 years, so I suggested we watch t.

That was the first mistake.

We have this teeny TV sitting so far away in the corner that from the couch I can't read the graphic in the corner of the screen that tells which inning itof the ball game is being played. Also, if there's any other noise in the house, I have to turn the volume up pretty high in order to hear.

There's always noise in this house. Always. I rarely watch TV partly because I can't see it, partly because I can't hear it, and partly because every time I do, something bad happens -- somebody ends up getting mad at me for watching, because if I'm watching, I'm doing nothing to meet anyone's needs except my own, and we can't have that, can we?

No, we can't.

Anyway, just as the movie is getting interesting, the noise level in the house starts to escalate. I nudge up the volume. I clench my teeth and wait for the noise to pass, but it doesn't. Suddenly, Charlie is insisting on jumping into my lap. Myrtle comes in wanting someone to chat with. I increase the volume again. The Eena's are discussing what's happening in the movie, Beanpole wants to borrow my camera cable because he's lost his father's, and I hear Mr Z giving Fido commands:







Roll over.

Roll over!

Fido, dammit, roll over!

I should know what's going on with the dog, but it doesn't register. Finally, an exasperated Mr Z shouts at me, "Could you turn the volume down?"

I say, using a tone, "Sure, if everyone would be quiet enough so that I could hear the movie." That was my second mistake.

He spews, "Fine. I'll just get the hell out of here!"

I didn't hear him drive off -- I was still trying to figure out what was said between the time the Mozart ended and Cornelia placed her call to Dr. Lazarus. Really, I was oblvious to anything else going on in the house.

The movie ended and I started to help the Eenas get organized to return to their dad's house. Suddenly, I realized I had no car. That's when I figured out that Mr Z had stormed out in a huff.

On the return drive from my ex's house I started to think about all of those childhood Thanksgivings that were utterly spoiled because my parents never matured to the degree that they could set their baggage down for one day and not engage in some ugly pre- or post-feast argument about how shitty or not shitty my grandparents were.

My grandparents, whom I loved, whom I should have been free to love without considering loyalties, without ever stopping to wonder for a minute if one parent or the other was right about them. My feelings about my grandparents took a backseat to my parents' petty need to indulge their own feelings of insecurity by arguing about my grandparents.

This happens in countless families, I know, and it just pisses me off that on a holiday adults allow themselves to behave childishly at the expense of their kids.

Mr. Therapist used to say that we (most people) unwittingly recreate the emotional atmosphere of the home in which we were raised. I thought about that during my forty-five minutes in the car. When I got home from returning the girls, I apologized to Mr Z about the volume, and said that if I had realized he was trying to give the dog his injection, I would not have snapped at him, but perhaps I would have calmly suggested he take the dog into an upstairs bedroom with fewer distractions so the dog might cooperate better. Third mistake!

Perhaps it wasn't the best apology ever. Perhaps I should have saved the part about injecting the dog for a later time, when he was in a more receptive mood. I didn't, though, because I'm lame-brained and emotionally crippled and expect everyone to get over their own personal nonsense as quickly as I do.

I washed the day's dishes then joined Mr Z at the table and told him that all I want is a happy Thanksgiving, and I felt like things were already falling apart. He was quiet and clenched, giving me a look.

I sat there thinking about the cheesecake his ex-wife had brought by earlier. She'd said, "I have cheesecake for you!" My immediate reaction was not gratitude, but resentment, because I've been assigned Pie Duty for Thanksgiving, and while I'm a confident pie-maker, her cheesecake is good enough to steal my thunder. Mr Z and Beanpole will both prefer her cheesecake.

She makes a fabulous chocolate cheesecake, they say. It's so delicious that whenever she sends one over, Beanpole does his best to dole out a meager slice to anyone who wants some, but then he hides the rest for himself.

She said, "Well, I made it for Beanpole, really, but I'm sure he can't possibly eat all of it!"

Because it's Thanksgiving, and they won't be together, she wanted to make her kid a cheesecake. There is nothing wrong with that -- in fact, it's very sweet of her. I smiled and thanked her and then I forgot about it until I was sittting at the table trying to figure out what bug had crawled up Mr Z's ass.

Finally, I said to Mr Z, "You know, it's not like you to get so frustrated over injecting the dog. Was something else bothering you?" I was thinking, finally, that it might be the cheesecake. I was thinking he saw the cheesecake and was worried Beanpole's mother would end up in the hospital for Thanksgiving again, comatose, because her blood sugar was out of control. I was truly surprised when he said it was the movie -- that at one time Beanpole's mother suspected she had multiple personalities, and she had had a thing for that particular movie, and therefore the movie was freaking him out.

I feel sometimes like my life is one big booby-trap and I should not even move because whatever I do might trigger anxiety and fear left over from his previous marriage. I suggested we live in the present. He gave me a look.

I've worked hard not to create the emotional atmosphere of the home in which I was raised, and for me that has meant ackowledging and forgiving the past, and living in the present. For others, it might mean going as far as cutting family ties. I feel grateful that I haven't had to do that. I wish Mr Z would get on the stick and get over the crap that happened in his first marriage.

He gave me the look, and then went off about how awkward Thanksgiving is going to be for him because he doesn't consider my friends to be family, even if I do. So now I've ruined his Thanksgiving. I said, "You know, BLP invited all of us, and she really likes you and she wants you to come, but if you're going to choose to be miserable, I'd just as soon you take Beanpole to Cracker Barrel for dinner."

That shut him up.

I've had so much reassuring to do over the last six or seven years: I do not have an eating disorder, I am not an alcholic, I do not suffer from clinical depression, I do not have obsessive compusive disorder, I am not bipolar, I am not carrying on with the handyman, and I'm sure as hell not a lesbian!

I am not obsessed with the movie, "Sybil," and I do not I fear I suffer from multiple pesonality disorder or paranoid schizophrenia. I was trying to watch any bloody movie at all because my feet ached and my back was tired and I'm so goddamned sick and tired of fielding everybody else's emotional bullshit!

I went to bed at midnight and he stayed up 'til God knows when. I was up at seven to start the pies and to google around trying to learn how far in advance it's okay to whip the cream. He came in around nine.

"We need to leave here by 4:30 for dinner?"


"Do you have anything planned between now and then?"

"Just going to finish the pies, clean the kitchen and take a shower, why?"

"I thought I'd go play golf. We'll met you at the party at five."

"Oh, okay. Well, I guess I'll hitch a ride with one of the kids."

So he's off playing golf and we'll arrive at the party separately.

The house is quiet.

Even the green kitchen.


Okay, after a glass of wine, the truth:

I asked him when he thought he might stop bringing his previous marital issues between us.

He said, "Oh, like you don't do the same thing?"

"What are you talking about?"

"What about those people in my basement?"

"Those people in your basement are my daughter and my grandson. I'd never thought of them as a previous marital issue."

Does anyone else ever feel like saying, "Oh, fuck it?"

Looking For Contributors

Love the idea of F.O.A.D. but can't keep chaos to a Thursday?

Are you a wonderful, broad shouldered woman who wouldn't soil her own, balanced blog with the unstable ravings that, like steam under pressure, demand release only once in a blue moon?

Are you just really, truly fucked off with life, the universe and everything, but like safety in numbers?

Are you a GOB?

Do I know you from fucking Adam?

This blog could use your dramas and furies - I need you. Spitting fire is no fun unless it triggers someone else off and lets you laugh.

Hellooooooooooo? Anybody out there?