Friday, 29 April 2005

why not just photocopy it?

I have hit a difficulty.

Do you realise how difficult it is to photograph your own arse?

We have a running gag in the office about taking a photo of ones arse and sending it to difficult clients.

B was working away last night, and we were chatting by phone before I went to sleep and the gag came up; so I decided to use up one of my five monthly picture messages by sending him a photo of my posterior.

It took me THIRTY goes to get a picture that didn't either:

  • fill the screen like Jupiter seen from one of it's moons (no pun intended), with no clues as to what the photo actually was of
  • have Arse Offset Issues
  • look like my arse was a false one fashioned out of putty
I could post all thirty pictures here, but I won't, to save your sanity.

Go and read She Weevil's animal interest story, instead.

Thursday, 28 April 2005

rough justice

Fabien the Salmon Faverolle cockerel has a new name.


Perhaps because he is bottom of the Poultry Pecking Order, or perhaps in response to his early trauma at the hands of Bin Laden The Veervolt, he has developed a real attitude problem with humans. Not only is very aggressive and quite scary; but he is showing disturbing signs of intelligence and cunning ...

Ma warned us about him at the weekend when we went to visit - apparently he has taken to hiding behind the hedge and jumping out at people when they go past; and then running all the way round the glass-house block to meet you at the top of the path for a second round.

Since he's two feet six inches high and has two inch spurs, this is quite un-nerving, especially since you can hear him lumbering up behind you like the T-Rex from 'Jurassic Park', making the ground shake. However, despite all the stories, I was quite blase about him and thought they were all making a fuss about nothing.

Until he leapt out at me on Sunday and I had to beat him repeatedly over the head with the feed bucket to get him to let go of my thigh.

Natalie won't walk past his house without a stick, and Ma says that he wasn't even deterred when she picked him up by his legs and whirled him round her head.

Anyway, I understand that his days are numbered ... some of Ma's chicks look like they are cockerels. So Fabien/Brutus is destined for the pot, bad attitude and all.

There was a classic Star Wars moment in the glass-house on Sunday when we put the chicks out in a pen for the afternoon; Brutus stalked by, stopped and looked in, and you could almost hear him thinking "Babies, I AM YOUR FATHER".


Monday, 25 April 2005

thank you

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has left comments and emailed, or linked to me so supportively after my last post. B and I have both been really touched by your good wishes. We also feel priviliged that so many people feel able to share their own experiences and feelings with us. Thank you!

Normal programming will be resumed later in the week ...

Friday, 22 April 2005

our decision

I think ... we have made our decision.

We are not going to pursue fertility treatment any further.

All along I've said that I don't want to take any steps that involve intervention; and that is the point we've reached. We're visiting my Ma and Pa this weekend, so I'm going to talk it over with my mother (sometimes that's just what one has to do) and then if I am of the same mind when we come back on Sunday, on Monday I am going to phone the consultant and thank them, but say that I don't want to proceed.

It's an odd feeling - of relief on one hand, that we can draw a line under it and move forward with adoption.

But there is also sadness. In ten years, if we don't conceive ourselves, or if we adopt and it isn't as successful as it could be, WILL we look back to this time and wish that we'd taken it forward?

I don't think it's possible to say until we get there. I have passed through grief - the gut-wrenching, pain-in-the-chest kind of emotion that comes out in those terrible gulping sobs that you can't suppress. That happened a while ago, regularly every month, when I got my period.

Each time I started to bleed, it was as if I was mourning the child that could have happened.

Now, I have no expectations. If it happens, then that's a bonus. If it doesn't, then that's fine too. It's a peaceful place to be.

B's perspective?

He said:

"I've been thinking about you having a laparoscopy. They say there's a 0.3% chance of it going wrong. I can live without kids of our own. I can't live without you".
We are together in this, whatever we decide, and whatever happens.

And that, plus the fact that I am sticking by my principles, is the most important thing.

Thursday, 21 April 2005

Conversations with my mother #47691

Me: So we went to the hospital to see the gynae this afternoon.
Ma: Did you dear? What did he say?
Me: He offered me a couple of options ...
Ma: MOSS! MOSS! DON'T DO THAT! What were they dear?
Me: [holding phone at arms length from ear] Erm ... well, either drugs to make me ovulate, or a laparoscopy to see if my tubes are blocked. Or both.
Me: Shall I call you back a bit later?
Ma: No, no, it's okay, only the puppies are getting more confident and they've been going further away. [takes breath]. I took your father to the hospital today to have a doppler test on his leg and they are talking about there's a good girl, come here then, lymphoma.
Me: Ah.
Ma: I don't think he really took it in, so I haven't made a big deal about it.
Me: It doesn't necessarily mean cancer though, does it?
Ma: Don't bring that in here, flowerpots live outside.
Me: Sorry?
Ma: No, I don't think so. We'll have to wait and see.
Me: Okay. Well, we'll see you on Friday, anyway.
Ma: Yes, good. I've got eight little chicks!
Me: From the incubator? [which was gestating on the top of the dining room table last time we visited]
Ma: Yes, they're lovely.
Me: Where are you keeping them?
Ma: On top of the Aga, in the plastic box the council have left me to recycle newspapers. It's just the right size.
Me: I'll see you on Friday then ....

Wednesday, 20 April 2005

crunch time

I've been back to see the gynae consultant today.

Apparently all my hormone levels are normal - this is good.

They have therefore offered me two options, in combination or separately:

  1. Take clomid for three months and see if that stimulates ovulation to such an extent that I produce sextuplets
  2. Have a laparoscopy to see if the endometriosis is hindering anything vital

A friend of mine has had clomid and didn't react well to it. I suspect I might be the same, because any reproductive/hormonal medication I have ever taken has had seriously delitirous effects on me.

Not keen, to be frank.

I had a laparoscopy eight years ago for the endometrial pain I was getting then, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. Also, according to the leaflet they gave us today, it carries a 0.3% chance of them perforating the bowel or the bladder, which I understand leads to general unpleasantness.

Not keen either.

It's crunch time.

Either we go forward with this, which has no guarantee of us conceiving and is not going to be pleasant or comfortable.

Or we call a halt and focus on taking the adoption process forward.

A very wise friend of mine who is going through the same process, but who is not so far along it as us, has just offered me this advice:

"Try to picture how you will feel about the decision you make today looking back at it in ten years time".
The only possible solution this evening seems to be to eat fish stew and have a large glass of wine; which is what I am going to do.

Tuesday, 19 April 2005


I am SO pissed off, this is a bit of a rant.

Another lampey who works in roughly the same geographical area that we do has been slagging R off to our clients. This chap took a nine month sabbatical and expected the work to be there for him when he decided to come back to it.

He is telling our mutual clients and aquaintences that we have 'moved in and stolen his clients'; we haven't deliberately approached anyone - but we'd have been bonkers in spades to turn down work which we were legitimately offered, by clients who approached US, rather than the other way round.

So one particular client (the main guy who employs this chap) came up to B last week at another gig and said that although he didn't have any criticisms of R's performance, he didn't think he was quite right as a member of their team, and they'd see how his job this week went, but they wanted someone with more 'flair' if they couldn't have B himself.

R's only worked for them once so far, been very technically competent and not NEEDED any 'flair', as he's not been hired to design anything, just to provide technical back-up.

Besides which, he has flair coming out of his ears, when necessary.

Yesterday he went in to his job and found that there was what should have been a minor issue with the lighting desk - it wasn't communicating properly with one of the moving lights. This could have been solved by loading an up-to-date version of the desk software (called a 'personality').

However, the desk had been 'cleared down' - ie, wiped, and the floppy disk with the up-to-date personalities, that was there when he was in the week before last, had mysteriously disappeared.

He did everything obvious, before phoning B and working through all the less obvious things that they could think of. This wasn't helped by the head lighting tech onsite coming in and 'helping' and undoing a lot of the stuff he'd already done.

In the end, the head lighting tech phoned this other lampey, who fixed the issue over the phone in quick-sticks - it was just a case of loading a different personality; this personality was named differently to how it normally is on this particular kind of desk.

I am suspicious, particularly of the disappearing personality disk.

And then today, very shuffly-feeted, the venue have phoned up and cancelled R for a job they had booked him on in June.

It stinks.

It turns out that there have been some kind of political shennanigins behind the scenes at the venue, that we have got embroiled in as innocent third parties.

The thing that is really pissing me off is that rather than being honest with us, the venue manager fed B some bullshit about R not really fitting in with his team. They are an ODD team, to be fair, but R is one of the most personable people I know, doesn't have any nervous twitches or personal hygeine issues, or turettes in front of the end clients ... and when he worked for them last week, the end client came up and asked for his contact details.

I could go on and on, but I suppose it would be better for my blood pressure to go and have a lie-down under some nice, soothing, wet newspaper.

think about it, for a better world

Things to teach your god-children for fun:

  • how to spit properly, and actually hit things
  • that Power Rangers are 'pony*'. When asked what 'pony' means, say that it is a term that grown-ups use to describe children's TV programmes that are created as an excuse to sell toys and they should be sure to explain it to their teacher
  • how to crow like a cockerel REALLY loudly as soon as it gets light
  • how best to explain to their Aunt that their cousins look like the Midwich Cuckoos
  • that giving ladies chocolate makes them happy
  • that if they put their sausages on their head during dinner, the Sausage-Head-Eagle will swoop down and take them, and their head, away
*Pony and trap - cockney rhyming slang. Think about it. Or look here.

Monday, 18 April 2005

rainwater, good for the skin

As weekends go, I've had better.

It's rained quite a lot.

That's fine.

The rain has been coming through the roof in to our bathroom.

Less fine.

I first noticed it in the middle of the night when I was sitting on the toilet having a wee and trying not to wake up properly.


We have had to dismantle all the cladding that the previous occupants put up in the bathroom, presumably to cover up the damp patches and the terrible, terrible job they had done of sorting it out.


But IN A WAY good, because we have been planning to do it anyway. Just not right now.

Now, rather than the water coming in and seeping all along the cladding and waterfalling from the ceiling and down the walls, it is dripping (pouring) through one place, that at least I can put a bucket under.

This happens to be right in front of the sink, which I suppose is a minor improvement on right over the toilet.

The roofing guy who lives on our street is coming to have a look at it this morning and the insurance people want a quote from him.

Our lodger is putting up with it womanfully, although the cats are a bit stressed - they tend to come and let me know when it's raining anyway, which is very ego-massaging, as they seem to think I can make the sun come out. I am a bad cat-mother today, however, as I can't even make it stop raining inside.

I am going to put a sou-wester on now, and clean my teeth.

Thursday, 14 April 2005

top hat and tails

Tale told me by one of our mates whilst were were on holiday. Told to her by one of her mates, who was the woman in the story - names have been changed to protect the, err, innocent.

Sandra and her boyfriend, Shuffle, are in a club in a small town in southern England. They are both involed in animal liberation activism on the fringes of the law, him slightly more than her, which she finds a bit un-nerving.

As they are boogie-ing away on this night, his phone goes off, and she can hear their friend Eddie on the other end, frantically saying "Shuffle! Shuffle! I need your help man! Where are you?"

Shuffle says "I'm in a club man! Hold on ..." and goes somewhere quieter to take the call.

Sandra goes to the bar to get another drink, and then Shuffle comes up behind her and says "Can you go and open the back doors of the club and wait for Eddie, while I go out and meet him?"

She asks him what's happening, but he doesn't reply, so she duly goes off to open the back doors while he goes off in a different direction.

After waiting by the doors for a few minutes, wondering what is going on, two figures run down the ally towards her, one of them carrying something. She realises that it is Shuffle and Eddie. Eddie thrusts the bundle he is carrying in to her arms, panting, and runs on.

Shuffle pulls her back inside the corridor and closes the doors.

She looks down and sees that, wrapped in a coat, she seems to be holding a tophat.

It is rather heavy, and the reason for this is that it has a rabbit in it.

Apparently Eddie had been at some sort of function where there had been a magician. In the middle of the act, he had stood up from his seat in the audience, shouting (rather clichedly, I thought) "Hey, you! You're oppressing that rabbit!", jumped on to the the stage, swiped the rabbit in the middle of it's fifteen minutes of fame and legged it, pursued by the magician in cloak but sans tophat, the magician's mandatorily scantily clad assistant, and a small but enthusiastic part of the audience.

He'd evaded them all by dodging down a back alley and made his phone call to Shuffle, who had now taken responsibility for the poor rabbit.

Sandra smuggled it out of the club under her coat without any trouble - I suppose on the grounds that no-one would think that anyone would ever be taking a rabbit out of a nightclub, and anyway, they only ever search you on the way in. And the next day they took it to an animal sanctuary, where it was re-housed with a large lady rabbit named 'Butch'.

Our sympathies were definitely with the rabbit, who must have been really confused - someone with us commented that it would make a fantastic film short, shot from his perspective.

Wednesday, 13 April 2005

join the unitarian jihad

I came across this article in the San Francisco Chronicle via various bloggers earlier in the week, preaching for a Unitarian Jihad.

Then I came across this page which will generate you a Unitarian Jihad name. (via Mistress Matisse)

From now on, I wish to be know as:

Sister Nail Gun of Looking at All Sides of the Question

Get yours here

coming out of the closet

Who should you vote for? (Found courtesy of Shot By Both Sides)

As a sucker for quizzes, I couldn't help myself - the test results are presented in a handy-to-interpret bar chart, and gave me the results I pretty much expected.

I can't really get all that exercised about it all though and keep breathing a sigh of relief that we don't have a tv and don't buy a regular paper, and are therefore not being subjected to media ranting on a daily basis.

Our lodger is busy canvassing for her candidate and I kind of envy her youthful enthusiasm and lack of cynicism.

The results are presented nicely though:

Labour -52
Conservative -37

Liberal Democrat 62

UK Independence Party 10

Green 3

You should vote: Liberal Democrat
The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Tuesday, 12 April 2005

get a grip

Not a good day.

I didn't make The Talk. Instead I had a panic attack.

I am really, really cross with myself. I've been doing so well, and despite my doubts about my familiarity with the subject matter, I was looking forward to the event - groups of ten year olds out of their classroom and doing something interesting are fun. It wasn't that bit that made me panic - it was the actual getting-out-the-door bit. The panic gets triggered when I feel that everyone is relying on me, so I have to do what-ever-it-is. Despite the fact that I know what the trigger is, and have done a lot of work on it, I still sometimes have real difficulty managing the feelings.

On the plus side:

  • I got out of bed, got dressed, had breakfast
  • I managed to load the car
  • I actually got in the car
On the minus side (and this is the bit that really counts):
  • I didn't actually manage to start the car and drive to the venue to do the gig
I only sat in the car crying for ten minutes after I'd decided I couldn't physically make myself go any further. This is a massive improvement even looking back to the summer, when I got hysterical a couple of times and had to go and sit in the wardrobe*. B has phoned the organisers and told them that I am unwell - citing flu, which is easier to explain than panic.

I feel like a failure.

I feel that I am not contributing financially to the business. Running the office and doing the website is all very well, but at the end of the day, we need to average twenty to twenty-five days a month paid work between the three of us to keep us in the style to which we'd like to become accustomed. If I can't be relied upon to go out independently, then that puts more of a strain on the lads. At the moment, if I was employing me, I would be having serious doubts about my suitability as a member of our workforce.


I am going to stop wallowing in self-pity, get my finger out, revamp the website and do some marketing now.

*Quiet, dark, private, empty of people with expectations of one. Disturbingly however, also smells slightly of cats.

Monday, 11 April 2005


I AM working. Honest.

  • I have meditated and sent out distant reiki
  • I have paid B and I last months pay ... put on hold because of our cash-flow and bank-account transferral issues (now, hopefully, fully resolved)
  • I have paid the PAYE people so they don't come round and steal my kneecaps
  • I have reconciled the bank and updated the diary
I am now revising our website, updating it with new photos, putting the new logo in and making it look generally more swish.

Kind of.

I am also listening to this fabulous Canadian country radio station, drinking a pint of tea with four sugars and eating my way through the packet of rich-tea biscuits that seem to be the only vaguely snack-ish food in the house.

I want to be sitting on the sofa watching Gone With The Wind whilst eating chocolate cake ... but if I do that, I can't pretend that I am doing something very busy and important and therefore don't have the time to go through my notes for tomorrow's trial by ordeal.

Excuse me, I need to go and dance around the office to Harper Valley PTA now.

Sunday, 10 April 2005

bunny games

Ma phoned last night and had a brief chat with B.

B: How are things then? How are the puppies?
Ma: They're fine. They've been out on the lawn all afternoon. They caught a rabbit and have been playing with it.
B: [vision of puppies and rabbit playing hide-and-seek a la 'Bambi'.]
Ma: They ate some of it and I was keeping an eye on them, but then I had to go and do something else, and they brought it in and buried it behind the television.
B: Ah [pause]. I'll pass you over to Ally now.

Friday, 8 April 2005

surely it won't be as bad as I think?

B has dropped me in the proverbial. He has a regular gig with a local Education Action Zone to present info about light at a science day for ten year olds ... only this year, he and R are already out on another job. So he asked me was it something I'd be prepared to do, and foolishly I said yes.

I am spending this weekend learning the basics of physics-relating-to-light and Tuesday and Wednesday presenting the information in twenty minutes bites to groups of eight or ten ten-year-olds in a non-classroom situation.

I am bricking it.

Thursday, 7 April 2005

just flipping well get on with it!

As you may have noticed, then, we are back from our Grand Tour Of The Far South. It's taken me all this week to get going again, despite the triumph of coming home to find that we'd sold thirty-odd books and bits of kibble on ebay.

After a mammoth parcel wrapping and posting session, the next thing that I did was make an appointment with the doctor, told him about my grand fish-oil plan and asked him about coming off anti-depressants. He was incredibly supportive. We've worked out a six-week winding down period that he says should produce no ill-effects, and he was also really positive about our adoption plans. Quote: "I don't think you will have any problems at all with adoption. Just be honest about your situation, and when they write to us for a reference, we know you very well". Unquote.

The Baby Catalogue came this morning, and we have identified some children that we are interested in. We are going to ring up for some more information about them later on today. I am trying not to get too obsessive about this, however one looks at it, it is a long process.

Work-related stuff I can now emphatically not put off any longer today includes:

  1. Chasing the financial advisor, to get them to chase the bank, to get the them to chase the surveyor, so that I can tell the estate-agent-from-hell whether or not we are going to be able to proceed with buying the office that smells slightly of drains.
  2. Chasing people who owe us money - always good for a laugh.
  3. Writing a training plan, as we have finally found a government agency who is prepared to give us some match funding for training instead of just talking about it and swearing blind that there is funding available, but not until [an unspecified and fictional time period away].
  4. Trying to work out why B's laptop can't see the main machine on our mini-network, despite the fact that everyone else is able to see him.

To achieve this, I have made a pact with myself that I am not going to look at my blog-stats until I've worked through the list :).

Wednesday, 6 April 2005

rescuing punch boy

I realise there is a limit to the number of 'humorous child stories' one can post; however, this one's fabulous. As we were leaving our friends' house last week, their five year old bounded down the stairs dressed in his lion costume and proffering his father a pair of antler horns on a headband ...

"Daddy, daddy, put these on. I'm Super Lion and you're Super Reindeer! We've got to go and rescue Punch Boy. He's lying dead in the graveyard and unless we stop them, the Bad Gods are going to steal all his skin!"

Tuesday, 5 April 2005

the crazy and the bizarre

Rhys has taken up the book stick and run with it, with an interesting choice in the 'crush on a fictional character' category ...

Which brings me to a conversation I had with B whilst we were driving around on our holiday:

B: Velma from Scooby Doo is SO sexy.
Me: What?
B: She's really sexy
Me: You mean Velma-The-Cartoon-Character?
B: Yep, she's such a geek and really horny.
Me: Uh-huh.
B: But I think I'd go for Betty Rubble if I had to choose - she's REALLY hot.

taken unawares

I get back from holiday, I log in, and I find that Sheweevil has set me some homework ... finally, here are my 'Book Stick' answers:

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?:
Probably too many to mention. However, Francis Crawford of Lymond, the creation of Dorothy Dunnett, turns my knees to water! He's the ultimate Renaissance Man, educated, literate, enquiring, ruthless and sensitive. He can sword fight whilst quoting the greek poets, is flawlessly dressed AND there are a whole six volumes of him.

I will also confess to a crush on Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy L Sayers' detective hero.

The last book you bought is:
The Road to Nab End by William Woodruff. I am trying to read more stuff that isn't science fiction.

The last book you read:
Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Seigfried Sassoon . Depressing but absorbing account of life for a young officer in the trenches of the first world war.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

  1. Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett - The finale of the Lymond series.
  2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Ender is a small boy who joins the 'battle school' - a space station school that teaches children strategy and tactics for a war that the Earth fears is coming with 'The Buggers'.
  3. The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White - Always by my bed. It's strangely soothing to read about the mating habits of hedgehogs whilst trying to get to sleep.
  4. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson - A novel about data havens and cryptography.
  5. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin - My all time favourite book. It is set on a planet where the inhabitants are gender neutral and uses that to explore gender roles and stereotypes, as well as being a brilliant read.

Should they choose to accept it, I pass the baton on to Adrian and Rhys.