Monday, 27 September 2010

A Canadian compliment.

This morning I was out walking in the sunshine when an elderly gentleman slowed his car as he approached me, put his head out of his window, smiled at me and said,
'Two beautiful ones.'
Gross, I hear you thinking. Ooh, it's been a long time since anyone said anything like that to me, I thought.
Then I remembered I had my dogs with me who, by anyone's standards, are beautiful.
Bummer.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

iPad. Chapter 1.

I got an iPod for my birthday this week. Entirely because I have a lovely husband who has learned after years together to embrace my heavy hints. I was, however, still most pleasantly surprised to receive this most gorgeous of gadgets.  It is, quite simply, a plaything of delightful proportions. Or actually quite small proportions - slim, light and shiny....just like I want to be. No wonder I love it. Love at first sight. Or feel.


So......it's built for idiots and is pretty much plug and play. So I felt it, and ooohhed at it ,and charged it, and Googled 'best iPad applications' and merrily started to download anything that was....well...free. This, of course, includes pretty much everything that I have on my laptop already. BUT...it's now on my iPad! What a hoot. Solitaire has never been so good. And don't ask me about Sudoku - I'll babble uncontrollably about how much better it is on my iPad.  For one thing, I don't get a laptop hump with my iPad - I can lounge on my sofa holding my wafer-thin gadget in one hand, and my glass of wine in another. Perfecto. 


I have called this Chapter 1 as I'm sure I can bore you so much more about the hours I play endless games and (I love this) piano duets with my daughter on my lovely, lovely iPad.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A fall is coming.

Fall, or autumn as it is correctly known, is arriving here. Calling it fall is perfectly descriptive, but a little too literal for my liking. Whatever we call it, I like this time of year. Usually. Before I moved to Canada. Autumn in England goes from about mid September to mid November. It is marked by blustery days where your umbrella is whipped from your hand and turned inside out, and punctuated by crystal clear days where picnics are possible with warm sweaters and a hip flask to ward off the chill. Here, you have one week of leaves turning bright hues followed by a week where every single leaf falls on my drive. Last year, silly me, I went out daily with my broom (a proper witches type broom) and swept my path clear. My reward, more leaves and tennis elbow. This year I shall enjoy week one and perhaps take some photographs, and ignore week two.


Another sign we are in North America is that the shops are full of Halloween goodies, or should I say baddies? I'm not talking about your crappy UK Halloween decorations - I'm talking super-massive, aisle after aisle of outfits, masks, lights, tableware, garden decorations, etc. Ghosts the size of, well, ghosts to put at your front door, giant bats to hang off your trees, spider webs to tease over your shrubs and most prolific of all, treats to give to your Trick or Treaters. And here's a thing.....even people without kids dress up their houses. What's that all about? AND people bring van loads of kids, drop them off in our neighbourhood, and pick them up later. I presume this is because we may give out nicer treats (not me of course) but could it also be because the whole place becomes one giant ghost train designed to attract kids? In the UK when I was a kid a) it was penny for Halloween and a scraped out turnip and b) most people turned their lights out and pretended not to be in. Mr Young who lived down my street used to answer the door but then only actually give us a penny. Between us.  He was the Scrooge of Halloween - we would have preferred not to get his stinking penny on principle but it did buy you 2 Sports chews so every year we went back.


Last year I think I got away with a couple of spiders webs and some tiny plastic spiders. This year I am going to stretch to some pumpkins.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Happy Birthday to me.

On balance, it wasn't really a happy birthday. This is the balance - see what you think.


Cons - hangover; blazing rows (you notice I say rows - there were a few in different rooms of the house) with my Eldest; no decent fireman at a fireman's party I attended by mistake (they were all 60+ or 16); I turned 43.


Pros - I got an iPad and had nice sausages for tea.


Now the iPad is indeed a weighty Pro but I'm sure you agree that even that cannot beat back the trauma of teenage daughters and approaching my mid 40s.  So, this is how my day went:


- got up at 5.30am with stonking headache to drive Husband to train station :(
- got my birthday presents to open :)
- played with aforementioned present for hours :)
- got a crick in my neck from playing too long :(
- did no housework :)  but need to do twice at much tomorrow :(
- spoke to my Mam and sister on Skype :)
- went to buy groceries :(
- ate lunch alone in the car on the way back ( not easy eating soup whilst driving) :(
- had a lovely hot bath :(
- had first argument in the kitchen :((
- had second argument in bathroom :( 
- stormed out of house (I still storm despite being 43) :(
- went to pub to wait for Husband :)
- was told there was a firemen's party that night :)
- all turned out to be old enough to be my father or young enough to be my son :(
- drank wine. Bad wine :(
- read a book. Bad book :(
- got a minute apology for one tiny part of the argument :)
- realised my hangover was in fact exacerbated by the onset of another cold :(
- had organic and delicious sausages for tea with mashed potatoes and beans. Yum. :)


So, I think you will agree that on balance it wasn't that happy. Sadly though, it was a birthday.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

My decrepit body.

So, the plan is to increase the amount of exercise I do in what I suspect will be a vain and short lived effort to finally get fit and lithe. Having been a member of my gym since January hasn't had much of an impact other than I know a few people there now. The timing is predictable; just before another birthday.  The details of my plan are sketchy other than to get up, get dressed and turn up at the gym and do something that makes me sweat. Getting on a stool at the bar there does that at the moment. With that in mind I turned up at the gym this morning full of enthusiasm. As I entered the spin class at just before 8am I overheard part of someone's conversation which went something like this '.....oh you can never get rid of that. Once you hit 40 you have to have that whole thing taken away with plastic surgery.' She indicated the exact band of flab around her middle that happened to be what I wanted to get rid of. I'm 42.  My enthusiasm didn't have a smiley face any more.


Today's plan was to do 2 classes back to back - spinning then a class called 3 x Max. I've done them both before but never one after another. For the uninitiated, spinning is cycling on a stationary bicycle until your head pops and 3 x Max is a mix or aerobics, boxing, weights and abdominal work which you do to music so loud you can't hear any instructions so I spend most of my time out of sync with everyone else. A bit like a crappy dancer who is always off beat.


Spinning went well, i.e. I survived it. The woman next to me was a little off-putting as she did most of her hill climbs with her nose an inch from the handle bars and humming as she did it. Whatever gets you through I suppose.  Straight upstairs to the next class. I should have realised it was going to be hard when the stairs were a challenge.  Sweaty and red-faced I chose my place in the room carefully. Naturally I usually choose the back of the room so I can slack off now and again BUT last time I did that the instructor dragged me to the front as she couldn't see me. I don't think she heard me muttering 'that's the point'. No slacking off at the front of the class. Not only do you have the instructor staring right at you but you have the rest of the class looking at your behind. Incentive indeed.  I carefully positioned myself near the back and over to one side so I only had one person staring at my arse and I could hide now and again from the instructor except, of course, when she goes bounding round the room asking everyone if they are enjoying themselves. Good job she doesn't recognise my Fuck Off face.


10 minutes in and I realised I had made a mighty mistake. I really needed to escape. I strung out a loo break but slowly trudged back in. I couldn't leave for two very good reasons; I had bragged to people in the spin class that I was doing this class too (they were impressed), and someone else from my spin class was also doing this class. And she is at least 15 years older than me.  60 tortuous minutes later, having battled waves of sickness, managed not to wee myself during the Jumping Jacks, and cheating at the sit-ups, it ended. Even the stretching at the end was a tough and I admit I did it half-heartedly. I'm sure I'll suffer tomorrow but at the time I just wanted to get out of the torture chamber. 


Last night after a glass of wine or two I also suggested I might return at 6pm tonight for the Boot Camp. Ha!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Silence is golden, golden.

Today is the first day I am alone (other than 3 dogs) in the house following a spate of visitors and school holidays.  It's quiet and I'm a little lost. All my ironing done by 9.30am which, I can tell you, is nothing short of miraculous.  Floors washed, To Do list already half done. So it's obviously time for some mindless surfing. I've twitted and facebooked, read the news, searched for Good Presents To Buy People With Minimum Effort Required On My Behalf, watched an episode of Come Dine With Me and checked my Lexulous for the 25th time waiting for my sister to hurry up and have her go.  


After a house full of visitors it feels deafeningly quiet and rather boring here. I was just getting used to watching 2 teenage boys eat their weight in food every day, swap insults with their father relentlessly, watch more football than I ever wanted to do, and recycle a dozen orange juice cartons every day. Above all I miss spending time with my family. I want everyone to come and see me on a rolling basis so I achieve a nice mix of visitors and recovery periods.
I'd have to have them in a certain order, of course. For example, after having my argumentative brother here I wouldn't want my argumentative sister to come next - I'd want my nice sister to come, then maybe my mad sister. Mix it up a bit, throw in a friend now and again.  


So.......into a recovery period.