Won’t Complain Any More About Techie Things After This Post. Honestly, I’ve bored Myself With It And I’m Hard To Bore

Well, as you can see, no technical progress has been made although I have dropped a stone in weight and am suffering from dehydration. My sidebar remains slipped; my header and footer are yet squint.

What I have been doing for the last hour is trawling other people’s WordPress sites with a stained overcoat and a cap in my hand crying “‘Ave pity on a poor blogger, miss!” “I cahn’t do blogging, see? And … my kiddies are stahrving … yeah, thassit! The kiddies are stahrving! Do it for the children, mister. Me? I can’t ‘elp myself, I’m a lost cause, but you wouldn’t see a pair o’ nippers go ‘ungry now wouldya? Mister? Miss?

I have, as you see, been solliciting shamelessly for a techie person to come and ‘elp, I mean help me. And now, for your pitying wonder, ladies and gentlemen, I present today, “Portrait of A Housewife Blogger Brought Low”. A matinee:

The following is part of a letter sent to another WordPress blogger.

“I’m a a berk when it comes to ‘puters and stuff. Truthfully, I’m an enormous berkyberkyLuddite. ‘K? I said it. But I am also a berk who is mightily impressed with how you have got WordPress to do the zippy things you have. And now a berk with an idea of how to somehow get somebody else to do it for me.

I live in default-template-land over at my site and would like to know if you have any clever friends who could help me out, with site design and the like. I would find someone myself but I’m not even sure I know what the hell I’m looking for and I’ve already searched the darkest corners of Google for them. What is the proper title, even, for elusive people such as these ? Lesser-spotted techietypes? Big-beaked whizpeeps? I can’t find anyone to help me and I will pay, like, money and everything.

Site-designers all seem to only work for businesses and my emails of enquiry have been met with the kind of silence only heard in deep-space or, question time at a slide-show entitled: “The Hidden Side of Middlesborough: Mildred and Bernard’s tour off-the-beaten-path. (Summer Hols. 1985)”

I am weary from tinkering late into the night only to accomplish the ensquinting of my header and footer, and the be-squinting of my eyes. (Everyone knows a woman’s thirties are supposed to be a time for avoiding wrinkle-forming activities) Do you know anyone who can help me?

I will open up all my files to anybody who will attempt this. I have nothing to hide and only the usual diseases so whoever is willing to take this on, they can be assured that I run a very clean site, my code is spotless, if muddled, and that they run no danger of infection of any kind. And they will get Cold. Hard. Cash. If I can buy myself out of a problem, by God, I will. It’s the early 21st century way after all.
My creative tide has ebbed for the day and, weary as I am of all the fruitless tinkering, I’m left high and dry with nothing to blog about but the folly and woe of blogging. So if you wouldn’t mind awfully, I am going to cut and paste large swathes of this email as today’s post. Pitiful.”

So was it written and, so have I blogged.

Problem-Child-Bride Grimly Tinkers On

Here, in an outer spindly arm of the Blogging Milkyway, I labour alone. There’s blood and hair and html code everywhere. I’m tinkering still, and it’s not for the faint of heart. When they find my body, I like to think the chalk outline drawn around me and my laptop might speak poignantly, poetically even, of the whole misadventure: the chalk laptop at the end of an out-flung chalk arm (“I hated it!”) and yet also gripped, vice-like, by my cold dead chalk hand (“But, how I loved it!”).

The crime scene investigators will probably also find a number of scrunched-up papers with the word “WordPress” written over and over and scratched out furiously with a biro. There will be Words Of Hate on those papers too. It will be an open and shut case for the coroner; a clear case of a housewife in way over her head. Pictures of my body will be circulated amongst the alarmed housewiffery community, on pamphlets entitled “What Happens When Housewives Meddle Where They Oughtn’t! Stick To Stain Removal – You Know It Makes Sense”.

But I must stop this gloomy thinking. I have real blog problems which need real-time attention. My header and footer are dislodged now too. Dave says they have been for sometime but, I hadn’t noticed, and he was too kind to point it out.

Right then, back to it. Faint heart ne’er yet won fair sidebar.

Today, I Tinker. May God Bless Us All

I have my sleeves rolled up, and am going to attempt the surgery needed to cure my slippage of the sidebar. I expect it to be tense, with anxious background violin music 1and a good deal of brow-mopping. Maybe John Hannah will be there.

OK, folks, I’m going in. Scalpel please, Dave. And better give me that wrench too.

“Octopus & 3 Blackberries”; As Verbatim As I Can Manage

Today Jane said: “Mummy, can I have a made-up story about an octopus and fwee bwackbewwies?”

“Sure”, said I, perkily.

Katie said, “Make it be a story in the magic woods with Raj, the tiger, and two wee girls called Rosie and Whitening (sic). With an asterinot.

“Yes! An astewinot in a wocket!” shrieked Jane with glee, hugging herself and hopping up and down.

“And the tiger goes to the moon on the rocket and … and … hurts his knee … but he was a very good tiger and ate up all his tea and he wasn’t at all fierce,” said Kate

“I see”, I said, not seeing. It was unclear where this was going and, also, exactly how I was going to untangle this narrative knot and move us seamlessly towards “andtheyallivedhappilyeveraftertheend.”

“No … no … but then he got naughtier and wouldn’t share his …things…and … and … said he’d eat Wosie and Whitening”, offered Jane with a new note of uncertainty in her voice.

“Are they still on the moon?”. I sought clarification.

“Nooooo, mummy! cried Katie, with no uncertain notes at all. “They’re in the magic wooooooods“.

“Oh. Is the octopus there too? I ventured.

“No, mummy. The octopus is under the sea and the bwackberries are there too”. Exasperated look from my first-born-by-a-minute. Not sure what today’s blackberry thing is all about with Jane.

This story did actually continue for a few minutes until it became clear that mummy was too idiotic to bother with, and everybody wandered away. The girls, for their part, were not in the least bit fazed by each other’s plot developments and assimilated them to their own with the kind of abstraction only 3 year olds and Fauvist artists can realize: huge, bold strokes; moon; magic woods; under the sea. In fact, I think what we’re seeing here is, clearly, a Fauvist crossover from painting to literature! Somebody call the New Yorker – this could be huge!

There’s not much in the way of character development apart from the tiger changing his stripes and turning out to be naughty after all. But, what the hey! Great new art movements are not built in a day.

Impromptu Housewife Haiku

Saturday Morning

Dust in a sunbeam;
Jane makes Lego blackberries
She works quietly.

I step on Lego;
Wincing, mutt’ring, hobbling, I
nearly say bad words.

Why, oh why, oh why
Do my girls not tidy up?
Being 3’s no excuse!

Kate, Jane and Mummy
Sing, fling Lego in boxes;
Happy, having fun

Vacuum clattering,
Sounds bad and needs inspection;
Lego slays vacuum.

My tea’s gone cold now;
Must clean the fridge but, really,
I’d rather colour.

***********

I know I said I’d refrain from poetry in this blog but felt sorta minimal this morning and still wanted to write something. Aha, a haiku! I thought. Or several! Thus, mooting and diluting the whole spare, brief, crystalization-of-a-thought concept of haiku.

I’m sorry! Won’t do it again. Promise.

Delegation. Or Thought For A Friday – It is Friday, Right?

My household management style is Delegation. Delegate, delegate, delegate. All day long I delegate small but easily accomplishable tasks to the girls (put jammas in laundry, make me a martini – that sort of thing), and all day every day I walk 3 extra miles shooshing them into doing those small tasks and often physically guiding them through: “Lift UP the dolly! Why have you gone so boneless? I know I grew you both perfectly good skeletons when you were in my tummy, and may fruitbats gnaw the nose from my very living face, if you’re not going to use them”.

Delegation. It looks so easy on “The Apprentice”.

Another Postcard From The Edge Of The Armchair Olympics

A lot of people don’t like the Olympians’ bios. bit of the Olympic coverage, but mostly I do. ‘Cos I like the “human story” better than I like inhuman ones – “Lassie“? What a load of old rubbish! (“Woof! Nnnn Nnnn!” What’s that, girl? The children are trapped in the mineshaft which is about to collapse and we need approximately 8 people and some anxious bystanders to get them out?” “Woof !”) At 31 though, I’ve still never managed get past page 100 of “Greyfriars Bobby“, on account of my hair-tearing and heaving sobs: why did your master have to leave you, good, dear, brave wee Bobby? God, the pain of that book marked my childhood just as surely as the letters on Bobby’s master’s cold grey gravestone. Wait a minute… (muffled sobs and large woeful nose-blow).

O(sniff)K. All better. ‘msorry. I haven’t been this publicly emotional since a childhood ballet concert when I was Purple in the rainbow and suddenly felt, with moments to go, that the pressure of trying to convey the quintessence of purple to the assembled parents was just a little too much. However, the show had to go on, legs had to be broken and I went on to be a purple triumph! I tell you I was like a sublime wee bruise, 1-2-JetEEEEEing-3-4 across the boards. But I’m not just boasting. I know that’s true ‘cos my granny said I was really, really good and that I’d really captured what it meants to be purple. Happy days, happy days.

Olympic bios. then. Tugba Karademir’s story is a great one. The first figure skater ever to represent Turkey, her comfortably middle-class parents left their homeland for Canada, where it was easier for Tugba to pursue her ice-skating dreams. Once there, her dad had to take multiple menial jobs to pay for the skating-tuition, struggled with the language and culture, and eventually had to return to Turkey to try and make some money. Karademir won’t win but she got a PB in her short program and skated a clean long program and I’ll bet her parents’ hearts were exploding watching her represent her country at the Olympics after all their sacrifices to get her there. It’s hard to imagine the pressure she must have put upon herself too and just fascinating to watch the whole human story unfolding on the ice. Without the bio. I don’t think I’d have been right there willing her to land every jump and twiddle every spin.

On the other hand, I don’t want to hear too much. If third man in the Swedish men’s 4man bob-sleigh team has had a harrowing time with his ingrown toenail, call me stony-hearted, but I don’t want to know. Nor do I want to be unexpectedly plunged into a segment called “Groin Strain: My Struggle With the Adductor Magnus”* as I settle in for an evening of extreme human achievment in sports. Can curling be said to be an extreme sporting achievement or just extreme janitorial achievement? That’s a puzzler. But curling eh? Makes me proud to have a Scottish heart beating within my breast!

And they, the NBCizons, often take it too far. Irina Slutskaya (dear me! These crrrazy Rrrussians and their crrrazy names) suffers from vasculitis and has to skate to pay for her mother’s treatment for kidney disease. Dramatic enough, one would have thought, and not in any need of gratuitous embellishment, but NBC also thought we should know that her tongue piercing was a sign of her “spirit within” (NBC news). Would that make my brother’s eyebrow piercing an immodest display of the spirit without? I hadn’t known he was such a himbo. Does his wife know?

Right, the ladies’ freestyle skate is on and Slutskaya, Cohen and Arakawa promise to put on a fantastic competition. And who can’t love Emily Hughes? Am putting Problemchildbride on ice for the night and am off, with a gleeful single toe-loop across the kitchen, to the Sofa Olympics.

* My own current sport,hobby or pastime injury is still a rather painful slippage of the sidebar. I’m resting it at the bottom of the page for a bit before I perform some aggressive html surgery. That’ll happen right after I read “Aggressive HTML Surgery For Dummies”.

Badly Drawn Housewife.

I woke this morning in some confusion, first general, then particular. “Why am I spooning with a golden labrador? I thought as he gently licked my ear. “I don’t have a dog”, was the follow-up thought, and swiftly on the heels of that: “Steady there, Problemchildbride, don’t jump to any wild conclusions. Try a quick peek at your environs and if anything looks too wierd, close your eyes again really quickly until help arrives”

Peek attempted, accomplished and, of course, there was no mystery. I had simply woken up upon the sofa of Friends Nigel and Anita. By the apalling, but not unfamiliar pain, in my head, I concluded some alcohol had played a part, somewhere in the conditions in which I found myself*. The dog was Striker and it was only as he sighed and blasted me with doggy morning-breath that I fully came awake and realized I was not 18. I was a grown-up and what’s more, a mother. The children! Panic seized my soul. Where did I leave them? I’d put them somewhere only yesterday, I was sure of it. Oh, bed. I’d put them to bed, that was it. Phew! Rike was babysitting and staying at the house and was going to get them up in the morning too because Tuesday is my night out for Team Trivia at the pub, and Wednesday, my lie-in day. I usually manage to accomplish that in the right house (it’s really quite impressive; you’d be impressed, you would), but last night had been a little different. Why?

A friend of mine has had a baby and, while out anyway for the quiz, I wanted to wet the baby’s head (for non-Brits, this is a figurative and, naturally, alcoholic way to toast the new arrival, or the perfect excuse for drinking way too much on a Tuesday). By God, we damned near drowned the poor wee thing. Figuratively.

It was a fun night with fun people and we won 3 of our rounds which meant 3 free shots. Dave’s out of town and so at going home time (which was much later than usual because a whole bunch of us lingered) there were very few people left able to drive. I was supposed to be getting a ride with Friend John but Friends Nigel and Anita were concerned that Friend John was away with the fairies and in no condition to be driving anyone anywhere. They live only a few blocks from the bar and so I was to spend the night on their sofa. That was the sorry tale. That was my sorry condition.

I skulked home and couldn’t meet my children’s eyes as I encountered them at the door. Rike loves it when I get drunk and is a very sweet girl. She didn’t seem to mind my poor behaviour. The girls were confused. Where has mummy been? Why is mummy clutching her head like that? I’m pretty sure they knew mummy was lying through her lying teeth when she said she’d been at the shop. I’m pretty sure they know I was a bad mummy.

I feel like a scribble on an otherwise neatly typed page. I feel like a badly drawn housewife.

*There was a whole other moment of alarm when I feared I’d lost the use of my legs, but that just turned out to be Princess, the other dog, fast asleep on my lower limbs in an uncomfortable looking way.

Back To My Front Row Seat In Technihell.

Something has mishappened. Once again, my sidebar stuff is refusing to behave. It is still at the side, I’ll give it that, but now it has slid all the way to the bottom of the page. Why? How has this happened? If I don’t post tomorrow it’s because I’m wearily and blearily staring at the screen, trying to discipline my errant sidebar back into place. Is there a bootcamp or a reform school for sidebars? And why do I get the feeling it’s sticking its little e-tongue out at me when I’m not looking?

?

Whinny, Or A Modest Proposal

Much of this morning was spent being a horsey for two budding gymkhana stars. It’s harder than it looks, not least because the horsewomen in question are bigger than they used to be on account of my feeding them regularly, as advised in all the best parenting books. But I have to question this. Surely skipping the feedings for one little day here and there couldn’t do much harm. I touched upon this thought in an email with Friend Danny this morning and have been ruminating on it some, this afternoon.

I mean, when we give our children 3 meals a day just because we can, aren’t we being a little Western in our thinking? A little narrow; a wee bit too much enamoured of what some old dead white guys thought? Wouldn’t skipping the odd day, rather than depriving young minds and bodies of essential nutrition (pff! who dreamt that stuff up anyway?), wouldn’t it instead build backbone? Couldn’t it be a teaching device to show the girls that, in life, there will be lean times; times when the heart and courage fail; when there’s a paucity of spirit and good will in the world; when as a student you’ll forget to do the weekly shop but spend all your money on cheap wine and “The Socialist Worker” and be left with ‘nary a Heinz baked bean to get you through the weekend.

For those times, and more, wouldn’t a little gentle starvation provide the children with invaluable life lessons? Of course, the starvation must be approached in a loving, gentle way and, as the offspring cling to you and plead through their tears to “please feed me mummy, please!”, care must be taken to explain to them why this is “for your own good” and that “one day you will thank me”. It’s very important to remember that bit for that is What All Parents Say and if you don’t then you’re not worth your parent-or-guardian salt.

These are just thoughts I’m throwing out there, you understand, but if I were to spark an international revolution in child-rearing theory, hey! I wouldn’t shirk my responsibilities! I’d go on Oprah!

Now there will always be the naysayers who’ll try to claim that problemchildbride is just thinking up excuses to be a slacker mummy. I say to them, NO! I’m just a tired mummy with a good heart and a very sore back. Trotting should not be this tough.

Neigh.

******

I Can?t Be Held Responsible For Anything I Say.

February 21st, 2006

(This wee addendum was posted after I wrote the above).
For anybody with their phones in hand and the Yellow Pages open at Department of Child Welfare, the last post was meant to be a gentle satire in a (very loose) model of Jonathon Swift and his A Modest Proposal. I am not in any way advocating the starving of one?s children. Well, not unless you?re having a really bad day.

Somebody asked me if I was, in fact, joking. I couldn?t figure out if they were joking. But, rest easy, gentle readers, I am not a monstrous mother, really. On most days.

A Fortnight Old! And Still As Pink And Wriggly As When PCB Was Born. And Wrinkly. GooGoo!

Today, Problemchildbride turns one whole fortnight old. So far it has been fun and kind of soothing. Whatever it is that builds up when you’re home with small children all day, is being let out. Call it Understimulation of the Grown-Up Brain Parts, Inflammation of the Patience Gland or just call it Aaaaaaaaaaagggghhhh! Whatever it is, it’s on the wane and figuring out my way in the blogosphere has helped.

I don’t mean to complain. I like my life and I love to stay home with the girls but, just to have a little balance to a day otherwise filled with scraped knees, cleaning up spilled paint and the like, cooking, arbitrating complicated Lego ownership issues and then nearly breaking an ankle on the same abandoned Lego 3 minutes later, is a welcome development.

Jenn. of “Breed ‘Em and Weep” commented on my blog! This is some serious blog starpower, right here in my commentary box! I thoroughly recommend checking her site out – the link is over there —> on the right. Her writing is funny and beautiful and she is actually proper – a real screenwriter and everything. If my blog is the pre-school Christmas play, her’s is a sold-out production on Broadway with cream and gold programs and ladies in pearls and Manolos. She’s big-time. And it is very, very cool that she visited my spindly outer arm of the blogging Milky Way. I’ll probably show off about it insufferably for the next wee while but I’ll warn you in advance when I do.

****

Dave is out of town ’til Wednesday. He left for Minnesota this morning. If he’s away for less than a week it doesn’t really bother me at all. The only thing I do differently is to sleep with a brass fish under the pillow. However, if it came to it, and I had to bash a burgling perp. over the head, with the dorsal fin on that thing, I would almost certainly be up on murder charges. The perp’s well-to-do-family (he would most probably (have been) a preppy perp. acting out in a “cry for help” fashion, because dying his hair or getting a piercing like other angsty teens would be “too clicheed, dude” for this special boy) where was I? Oh yes, his wealthy, old money family would hire a clever lawyer and the jury convict me. I would then moulder in the California State penitentiary until somebody else sued the brass-fish-making company after suffering a freakish fin-accident, thereby proving that it was poorly designed in the first place with dangerous fin flaws.

In a retrograde judgement, I would then be released straight out into a banner-waving hostile crowd (“Fish Don’t Kill People, People Do!”). By then, my children would have grown up and know me only as a source of deep family shame, never to be spoken of. Then I would probably move on (sadly) with my life by getting lots of cats and wearing huge straw hats even in winter. Children wouldn’t be allowed to talk to me, nor yet beloved pets sniff me. Then I would die. None of it would surprise me in the least.

So, sleeping with a brass fish is probably not worth it in the long run. And besides, if ever we hear an odd noise when Dave is home, it is invariably me who goes on the lonely, breath-holding, torch-snoop, and always, always sans fish.

Any more than a week though and I begin to miss Dave a lot. Things start to feel odd without him and I don’t like it. Once a day on the phone for a quick chat, no longer cuts it, and we’re neither of us great phone people anyway. But this time it’s only for a few days so what in Yahweh’s name am I blethering on about?

I had planned on going to a party tonight to celebrate the 7th birthday of a local bar, but now I think I’ll skip it. There’s a back-log of films that I want to see and Dave doesn’t and now is the time to watch them, while he’s away. Carpe DVDiem!

More Fiction 101

Here is another 101-word story for the competition (see yesterday).

Gnomes

(by Sami Zahringer)

“I’d like to return these gnomes.”

“What’s wrong with them?”

“They give me the creeps”

“But, they’re marked clearance. All sales are final.”

“Look, I don’t want the money. Can’t you just take them away?”

“Well, no. We wanted to CLEAR them, to make room for new, more modern garden ornaments.”

“But what am I supposed to do with them? They’re spooking the cat who’s already incontinent and they remind me of a childhood trauma.”

“‘Nuff said. I was done wrong to once by the pixies. Take this free shovel and do what you have to.”

“God bless you!”

Tonight, I Write; Fiction 101

Tonight I entered a short story competition in our local free paper, the Ventura County Reporter. The contest requires the budding tale-spinner to write a short story using 101 words or less. They listed some adjectives to set us thinking about what sort of stories we could write: “witty, sad, beautiful, heart-warming, ironic or just plain silly”. I ignored those and instead plumped for, variously, “sinister”, “inane “, and “daft-as-a-brush”. An odd mood tonight, then.

So, as I was cheating on my blog with some floozy of a newspaper competition (I was feeling misunderstood, lonely. Look, it meant nothing! And besides I was drunk at the time! Honest BloggsyWoggsy, there’s noone for me, but you.) I thought I’d soothe these livid pages with the evidence that me and the newspaper are “just friends”. However, i did go back and enter again, and again. 4 times in all. So when it comes to blog fidelity, i guess I’m no better than I ought to be.

Here it is in 4 short stories:

Pupils
(by Sami Zahringer)

Mrs. MacGregor stalked confidently into the classroom. Only another year and she could quit supply-teaching for good. She looked at 30 bowed heads and wondered what the humming was. She shivered; she’d never liked Ojai.

“Turn to page 13 please”, she said.

The children, heads still bowed, didn’t move. The humming grew louder.

“Now class, please!”

30 heads snapped up, the humming now becoming unbearable. 60 eyes stared at Mrs. MacGregor. Terror clutched her heart. God in heaven – these pupils had no pupils! They rose. They approached.

15 minutes later, there was no humming. 30 heads bowed.

*****

Llovely Llama-Lland Llonging.
(by Sami Zahringer, Housewife and Part-Time Llama Fancier) Inspired by Friend Tom

Gentle, wooly creatures, llamas, with fabulous sensesof humour – llaugh a minute. Only, here in camel-controlled Llama-Lland (seized in October by a vicious dromedary junta which laid waste to the lland), I am ghettoized with my fellow humans. We call to them through the bars but their ears are too furry to hear us. We cannot email them ‘cos they can’t type; it’s the hooves, you see. But Oh! Just to run free with them in the fields and woods. Or perhaps with just one special llama: ?Douglas! Oh you silly! Giggle.?

****

The Tale of George, Old Geyser of This Parish
(by Sami Zahringer)

As a young trickle, I was faucet-loose and splashy-free. I didn’t keep the water pressure on myself, needed to succeed in professional geysering. Now, I lack the drawing power and rave reviews of your Old Faithfuls, and can only get pro-bono faucet-work at zoos, sometimes parks. Reputation is everything in this business; Get a good gig in Yellowstone, you’re in steady work for life. For a jobbing geyser like me, life is duller. But when I see the surprised faces of groin-splashed zoo mommies I know I still have the
old magic. I’m not bitter.

****

Jeremy Nutby Thinking. Thinking. Thinking
(by Sami Zahringer)

Jeremy sighed and sank into the sofa. Weatherman school wasn’t all he’d hoped it would be.

Tomorrow, he had to present an essay:”The weather I Saw on My Christmas Vacation”. Today, he’d had back-to-back smiling classes and a test on teeth-flashing. His jaws ached.

Dad had called to ask, again, where he’d gone wrong and “What’s so wrong with a career in chiropody? It always put food on the table!”, also muttering “noble Nutby tradition”, “turn in his grave” and “ungrateful”.

Jeremy’s life was looking cloudy with a chance of showers. He stared at the gun.

   

Valentine’s Day Massacre (A Re-release, Updated With Happy Ending)

The girls had a Valentine’s party at school yesterday and much of the previous evening was, for me, spent doing devious tricks with fishing line to make a heart mobile with all the children’s names on wee hearts. It seemed like such a good idea at the time and happy was I, as I tied tiny knots around twigs and such.

The next day at pre-school, things weren’t so light (or indeed love)-hearted. On the way into the building, the wind whirled and dervished my delicate mobile all to a sorry, knotty mess. The next, tense half-hour was spent on the floor with some scissors and Plan B, muttering “This too will pass”. My dad, bless his hairy, Scottish soul assured that it only took half, rather than the full, numbing hour it would have taken had I had to do it myself.

In the end, the girls came home with lots of tiny wee V-day cards, which apparantly any mother in the know, any mother in the secret Valentine for the Under-4s loop, can purchase for $1.99, and in fact did. All the mothers except me, who failed utterly to realize that this was what was expected and, for that failure, I now look like the rubbishest mother of any Green Room child, I think, ever. Instead, I opted to provide a heartbreaking representation of the tangled, unfathomable nature of love, and in full view of the innocent children, took a pair of scissors to the “heart-strings”, if you will , and left the horrific, warped mockery swinging eerily from the light fixture.

Tonight, I’m prefering to think of the incident as a timely lesson for these children, as yet untouched by life’s mysteries and blissfully ignorant of the essentially tragic nature of love. “Hey, get those thumbs out of your mouth and listen up kids: life is hard and the sooner you learn it the better”. And if I can leave a metaphor of tortured and lynched love, turning slowly in the breeze of a pre-school classroom, by God, I will. I’m calling the piece “The Agony”. I think, at 3, they’re old enough to handle it. In fact, I think they’ve had it too easy for too long. Lesson 2: An Examination of Supply-Side Economics, using the medium of Play-Doh. What would we parents do without Play-Doh, eh?

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My dad, who was here on vacation for a couple of months, went back to Scotland yesterday afternoon too and I cried, causing Katie to get upset and cry too, so all in all Valentine’s Day was turning into a bit of a massacre. Then my lovely, funny husband came home and we went out for a lovely, funny dinner in a grown-up, serious restaurant that didn’t offer us any crayons at all. It was the chocolate on the aesthetically dodgy strawberry that was my Valentine’s day.

Postcards From the Edge of my Armchair Olympics

Before I launch into breathless enthusiasm about today’s Olympics, be warned! This post might be hexed, for there is something rotten in the state of (not Denmark this time although they seem to be trying their hardest there lately) my email boxes. I have the inbox of the beast: 666 unread messages. I’ve got to clean that sucker out.

Yahoo has pretty good filters and I haven’t been bothered too much with spam. It’s really just lazy me, skipping stuff and failing to delete. Many of them are from BizRate, so take a tip from me, never rate any Bizzes, no matter how much they beg you to and tell you that you’ll be “improving online trust”. First they will load your computer with their stodgy cookies and then they will email you with all sorts of fabulous offers from their Biz members. To the point of devilry, it seems. 666 (eeek!)

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“Clean, perfectly rounded and full”, said Buttons (really, Buttons) of the female half of Chinese skaters Shen/Zhao, which, it has to be said, is how all men want their women. But the other night, that very same Buttons ripped holes through all the Chinese performances, two of which ended up placing, following the short program. I guess the lesson to be learned there is to never trust the opinion of a garment fastener. That probably holds true in most other areas of life too. For example, I would never entrust my dental health to a safety-pin, no matter how reasonably priced he was.

Very exciting pairs free-skate competition tonight! Everyone is out there giving it their all with these sharp blades cutting through the air, often at nose-severing, ear-shearing height. It’s amazing! The Americans are 3rd as I type this, with the Russians still to skate, but … what’s this? Apparantly we’re popping back to the women’s half-pipe for a bit. There are some very cool ladies out there doing things called “cripplers” and other mad stuff. Hannah Teter of the US just did a 900 degree turn which put her into first place. I’ve got to go and watch this. Back in a wee while.

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Back again. In case anyone is keeping track of the fickleness that is woman, it’s all over with Chad and me. I lost my heart to Jeremy Wotherspoon in Tivoed Torino at about 8:15pm tonight. He didn’t win, but, I thought to myself after seeing his interview, there slip-slides a man who can be sexy both on and off the ice.

Totmiyanina/Marinin, the Russian pair who won the figure skating, were just the most beautiful spectacle tonight. Their performance, and others’, was marred only by Buttons & Co’s commentary. At one point in he actually said, ” even though she is so slight, she has shown that she has a heart as big as the ice-rink”. He was talking about Zhang who got up and carried on after falling badly on a quadruple throw thingy, showing lots of pluck and Olympic spirit, so why did he have to make it sound like something written on a card that Hallmark would have trouble shifting. He actually said that. Although I actually split his infinitive but I feel that, all things considered, mine was the lesser crime.

Right. To bed. Night night, then.

Singed Feathers Everywhere*. Hebridean Mother Living In WierdyBeardysville, USA