Chad Hedrick, Will You Be My Valentine?

I love the Olympics because I don’t have to invest time following the participants’ form for months and years or really spend any more than the length of an event with them. The competition stands by itself and is fist-swallowingly exciting. Countries compete and individuals compete, dressed in increasingly alien-like clothes as they skate, slide or hurtle themselves through the air. (I just wonder if anybody’s pointed out the first 4 letters of the word “hurtle” to some of them) .

It’s amazing to watch the courage, skill and physical intelligence of the athletes at work (or play?), but most of all it’s thrilling to watch Chad Hendrick. Before his big performance yesterday, he seemed giggly, goofy, genial, frat-boyish, wholesome. Nice, but in no way sexy. Then, the most amazing transformation I’ve ever seen happen in one person took place. Honestly, I’m not talking this up for the sake of narrative; I’ve never seen such a marked and abrupt change in anyone’s face like that before. His formerly rosy, round visage seemed to become lean, grey and hungry. He looked driven and hard-eyed, like some primitive being, fuelled by testosterone and raw competition. God, it was sexy!

The whole “hooyah!”, roaring sportsman thing doesn’t always do it for me; it depends on the sportsman, and, usually, I prefer a sportsman to be gentlemanly too. Having said that, and, while I think that off-ice Hedrick is good-looking enough, on ice he is a mean, dangerous God, oozing sex appeal in a way that should, given its hothothotness, melt the rink around him. He looks like he’s been cut straight out of the raw material called Competitive Spirit (I think nowadays we call it “lycra”) back when the world was forming and plonked down in Turin to give us all a good look at Man’s Ambition. Here it is folks! Uncut and unmodified: Human Determination.

It’s frightening and fascinating but mostly it’s deeply, deeply sexy. And then he comes off ice for his post-victory media bit, and he’s back to being good ole Chad, bit dopey-sounding and less dangerous than a mittened kitten. It’s very unsettling for this particular housewife, let me tell you.

Next, the Russian skaters came on in the pairs, short program competition and stunned everyone with their spangle-costumed poetry. It was beautiful and flawless and highly DVD-burnable so I did just that, to hide away and look at whenever I’m feeling jaded and fed-up. Or to show the girls when they’re cranky and I’ve run out of tricks and patience.

I’m conservative by nature (small c, for the Brits, or “not a Tory”) and like to have a reserve, a held-back cache of tricks, collected in times of peace, to knock my children out of whatever over-tired funk or won’t-play-nicely mood they might be in.

If my language sounds militaristic, it’s meant to, because, make no mistake, it is a war. The Guidelines (there are no Rules; these children recognise no government or institutions) of Engagement are as follows: Head-on battles of will should be avoided because, frankly, we adults have neither the stamina nor stomach for them. We have tiny, formidable foes with all the live-long day to hold out. We have stuff that needs to be done and they know it so will try and wait us out. They have their pink wee hands on our parental-self-doubt buttons and our heart-strings entwined firmly around their little fingers so we (I like to think we’re The Goodies) have to engage smartly. We have to have an arsenal, think on our feet and cynically use our height to our advantage. The height that enables us to reach the DVD Play button, launch a sneak psychological attack and flummox our children with beautiful ice-dancing. Ha! Beauty! They didn’t see that one coming. Mwahahahahahaha! Wait, we are The Goodies, right?

So you can see how one just one night’s super-competitive+Olympic+Chad Hedrick vibe has brought out the crack commando mummy in me. Perhaps it’s done so nation-wide, or even world-wide. Maybe it should come with a caution: “The following sports broadcast may contain scenes of an influencing nature, particularly to impressionable housewives. Viewer discretion is advised”.

The Unbearable Whiteness of Peeing and Yogurt Pots

I was looking through my Favorites list a wee minute ago. One of my links, I think, speaks volumes about mothering in the trenches. It is called “Yogurt Cup Fun Activities” and I have it marked as a favorite!

Actually, after the fun has been had with the yogurt pot,I could pour my liquefying brain into it and store away until science finds a way to help me. The moral, obviously, is Never Throw Anything Away! One person’s used yogurt pot is the vessel for another’s ability to function as a grown-up. Treat with care and don’t mistake for a Fruits of the Forest.

Jane has cloudy, white urine and I’m not sure what to do. We’ve been here before. Last time, having spent the better part of a morning trying to collect a sample (a farce with more pratfalls than a Benny Hill sketch – if a custard-pie had entered the scene at any point it wouldn’t have surprised a anyone present), I finally got the precious golden liquid to the lab. But wait a minute! Golden liquid? Golden liquid? What happened to the milky colloidal suspension that she’d been piddling for 2 whole days before?

To noone’s surprise, there was nothing wrong and, not for the first time, I was left looking like a batty, neurotic, hypochondriac mother, easily remembered ‘cos of my silly accent.

This time, it’s on and off cloudy. I have tried to cross-reference it with Kate’s to rule out any benign dietary factors but when I start peering at Kate’s I see cloudiness there too, that nobody else can see. I now doubt my eyesight. And Dave has raised the certainly valid point that peering into the toilet bowl trying to divine something from the swirling mists is not the most scientific way to diagnose an illness, especially when the urine peered at belongs to a child who is yelling for more peanut butter sandwiches in a way that brings to mind the words: hale, hearty.

I know the method may be unscientific, but science is all about observing and tracking changes, isn’t it? And besides, two years ago I would have had to be talked out of a car pointing towards Urgent Care (“step away from the steering wheel ma’am”). I’m much healthier now and will probably only surf 3 or 4 alarming health websites for what probably won’t amount to much more than a couple of hours.

But still. And yet. The color of one’s effluvia must mean something. Today, all day, was cloudy with no clearing. Tomorrow, I’m hoping for sunny yellow. We’ll see.

Singing The Technorati Blues. Ooooooowawawawoo.

It’s gone again! Technorati nicked my button. What is going on? Are they playing hard to get? Am I going to have to go out and buy them chocolates to woo them back to me? I will! I’ll do anything! It may be illegal in Mississippi, but whatever it is I’ll do it. I don’t care, just stop messing with my head!

I have been sitting in front of this glowing screen so much, these past few days, I think I can feel myself physically changing. My legs are flopping uselessly about, unclear as to their purpose any more. My eyes, meanwhile, are growing enlarged like those of other nocturnal animals, but reddened and crazed and no longer able to focus on anything more than 3 feet away. My fingers are becoming elongated and my brain desensitized to caffeine. My sense of humor, left yesterday for the bar, telling me she needed some “alone-time” and God only knows what’s happened to my hair. When I finally emerge, blinking into the daylight, people will point and stare. “Whisper, whisper”, they will say, and feel pity. Perhaps they will give me some loose change.

So Wide Web of the World, pity a poor blogger in way over her hurtin’ head.

The Button That Turned

Success! Of a sort.

I got my technorati button installed finally but, as you can see, it too is thumbing its button-nose at me and has aligned up with Button Scotblog, in such a way that clearly tells me “We won’t conform to your sidebar rules. We won’t play your game! “The Rules” (pah!) are being re-written and a button revolution has started . Soon you will know the confusion and despair you thought only existed in your nightmares . Buttons of this blog, unite!”

So, there they sit and here I sit and we’re growling at each other. I think I fear them more than they fear me, but I can’t let them know it. I have to win the psychological battle. Only then will I stand a chance.

I’m thinking of lurking around the high school to try and find some cheap, uber-teckie labor, but there may be laws against this sort of thing. It could very well end in the headline “Wild-Haired Housewife In Schoolboy Stalking Shame: Husband Dismayed But Not Surprised.” Or something involving plastic-only utensils and smocks that flap open at the back.

Buttons. Bloody-Minded Buttons

“Do not offer me any help!”, I declared to Dave as I swept dramatically into his office one night. “If this blogging lark is going to work I want to learn it all by myself and become an Improved Person.”

Dave looked up, puzzled. “But I haven’t offered” he said.

“Well, just don’t, OK”, said I, slightly thrown and cross at that fact, but still able to sweep majestically out again. (The ability to maintain one’s composure and the correct mien are terribly, terribly important in life, don’t you feel?)

However, I may be ruing those rash words only several days into the project. I tried to add a Scotblogs link button to the side. It worked and was added, but for the love of all things holy (and I did invoke both God’s and Jesus’s names several types, during the process, along with some minor saints. Is there a Patron Saint of Blogging?) the silly button won’t go where I tell it to.

So there it lies, (look right and down a bit) kind of out of line with all the other neat buttons who know how to behave. Is it a Scottish thing? I’ll never conform to your html code, NEVER! And besides, FREEDOM! etc.

I’ve been labouring for hours at this, in between wiping runny noses, and feeding the hordes, and I even attempted it while a bit squiffy last night. The squiffed up brain, I thought fuzzily (and happily) may be just what’s needed for this particular problem. But to no avail. I have only one trick left to try and that is to drag a wee magnet across the screen and shout at it, in the hope of finally aligning my Scotblog button.

If anybody can tell me what a 404PHP template is and whether that will help me, please advise. My hair is standing on end and it’s affecting my cooking. MICHEEEEEEEEEELLE! Help me! Otherwise I’m going to have to hire a computer worm to crawl across the screen to physically push the sodding thing to where it looks purdy, so as I don’t look like such a dork: “Problemchildbride? Oh yeah!, (snigger) she’s the one who can’t even get her buttons straight.”

If I just can’t figure this out I’m going to have to swallow my pride and go sheepishly up to Dave’s office for help. I have a whole stomachful of swallowed pride as it is and Dave is quite used to seeing me appear in the doorway with a screwdriver in one hand and a paraplegic dolly or disassembled electronic toy that went “ping’ and “sigh” and stopped working, in the other. Me swallowing my pride is something we’re both used to and can be quite matter of fact about now.

S: “Can you take a look at…?”

D: “What did you…?”

S: “I just tried to…”

D: “OK, let me see…”

S: “Thanks.”

D: “Yup.”

Problemchildbride’s Dream Jobs

1) Window Washer at NASA.

2)Charley Rose’s research assistant. Or that of Terri Gross but not of Terry Wogan.

3) Head of Heavy Entertainment at the BBC. Light Entertainment is for wimps.

4) Captain of a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry in Scotland (for a day)

Dreee-ee-ee-ee-eam! Dream, dream, dream, la la la la

Breakfast Nostril Fun

Merriness at breakfast this morning.

People present: Kate, Jane, Mummy.

Game played: Who can flare their nostrils the best.

Winner: Me again!

To celebrate I did a boxing type chin to chest, one-two jab-jab dance round the table. ‘Cos competition is healthy, right? Right? It is isn’t it? Healthy, I mean. I AM a good mother! I AM. And besides, if I want to do early morning victory laps I can because I’m worth it – just ask L’Oreal. (I don’t usually listen to the voices from the TV, but Andie MacDowell and Heather Locklear seem to somehow be speaking directly to me. I mean I must be deserving of quality cosmetics and hair products, yes? I am, in some way, worth it, right?)

Children’s brains are plastic, so they tell me, (a fact that Fisher-price has cannily leapt upon) and, by encouraging lots of neural pathways to form, you are helping to create A Well-Rounded Child. I aim to round my children out with the ability to nostril-flare at will. Dave remarked that that is not a very useful tool to have in life’s garden shed, but the man clearly knows nothing. If somebody is saying something to you that you don’t like, a few seconds of acrobatic nostril flaring on your part will disconcert them and they will forget whatever it was they were bothering you with. In fact, they will probably walk away quickly, glancing behind a few times to see if you’re following, which, of course, you won’t be. And you may continue your day unmolested.

Nostril flaring: an undervalued life-skill. But, by golly, if my children won’t be champs at it!

Other, other reason for starting a blog (this will stop soon, I promise)

I like to write but don’t have a book in me. Or any poems. Not good ones, at any rate.This strikes me as a fun hobby where I can write and learn computer stuff as I go along. The theory is that, because it’s in a public space, the fear of people pointing and shouting “Lazy bones! Shame on your lazy, quitting bones!” will make me stick at it.

I’ll also get to look at a whole bunch of words I’ve stuck together in ways of my choosing and feel that “Ahh, there it is – actual material work produced” feeling of satisfaction. I’ll be producing something I can see, no matter the quality, which I hope wll improve.

Mothering, in contrast, while rewarding in all sorts of ways, is a work in progress where the end product (or child, as society will insist on calling it) cannot, obviously, be categorized neatly under subheadings and certainly cannot be edited (I’ve tried. It ends in tears). You never know if you are mothering correctly or even in the same neighbourhood as correctly. You’ll only know how well, or badly, you’ve done if your loin-fruit turn up for your funeral, and even then it might be because their therapist told them they needed to do it for “closure”. Blogging will, I hope, satisfy the need to see a finished something. Something completed. There it is; a whole heap of words. Piles of ’em. There.

Beard Victory

This morning at breakfast, the girls and I played a Who’s Got The Most Impressive Beard & Moustache Made Out of Their Head Hair? game. I won, hands down.

NB: The girls are 3 and a half, otherwise I would never agree to play anything so juvenile.

Other reason for starting a blog:

Just plain need to do something new. Eleanor Roosevelt said that to live well, one should try to do something that scares you every single day. I don’t have the time or stomach to watch Oprah, (who is indeed a scary lady; did you see how she savaged poor, lying James Frey?) so this is it. Putting thoughts out there into the wide blue yonder with all the ridicule and scorn that is likely to be heaped right back on me for doing it, will be my daily scary thing. Bear in mind I am a bipolar bear though and may just not be equal to it some days. This will be my discipline and my tool; my rope to climb back up the well on these days. Expect a soggier form of crap than usual then. Sorry.

Why? (In Which ProblemChildBride Tries To Figure Out … Why? Why Blog? Exactly Why?)

Until recently I had always only used the internet for useful things: airline tickets, hotel reservations, information retrieval and news gathering. AND THEN IT OCCURRED TO ME! In true S(P)aul on the road to Damascus fashion, the scales fell away from my eyes and I beheld the myriad beautiful USELESS opportunities the web affords! I weep as I type this in remembrance of the power of that life-altering moment.

Being from a small, Puritan and windy (although that is immaterial) isle off Scotland’s west coast, genetics and social mores have always told my higher brain to seek the utilitarian in all I did and not waste my time. “Was there a point to any given activity?” I would ask myself. I tried to figure out the most useful use of my time, and even managed to do whatever that was about half the time. But, hidden and lurking, was My True Nature which is a wee nature, surplus to the requirements of big Mamma Nature. It is of a useless quality. Redundant. Seriously, I don’t know how evolution ever coughed a nature like mine up. A nature like my True one serves no useful purpose, other than to breed and nurture a bit, which I’ve already done, so what now, huh? HUH? If I didn’t think Intelligent Design was the many colorful expletives I think it is, I would question why Evolution could have thought it was a good idea to let me roam around breeding.

I (and therefore you) have also to blame the UK social framework which allowed a child with such an etiolated True Nature as mine to live past the age of 5. (Maybe this civilization thing is counter-productive.) The government gave me milk from tiny milk-bottles at school play-times until Margaret Thatcher put a stop to it (a lady who clearly foresaw the rise of the Useless Type and wanted to nip us in the bud), I got regular, government-mandated immunizations and every attempt was made to prevent Mamma Nature from recognising my wee True Nature and weeding me out before I could grow up and propagate myself.

So, here I idle on the sofa that time forgot (and now I look at it, taste forgot this sorry sofa too) and now … here I go … I’m going to cast off the shackles of the useful, productive me (tinkle) and roll around naked and ecstatic in the new found complete uselessness of blogging. Behold! A new blogger is born and somewhere an angel has flown into some powerlines. Singed feathers everywhere.

By the way, I’m parenthetically dysenteric (which is a PC way to say i will be writing in such a way as to wholly irritate anyone who stumbles across this wee blog with rambling digressions like this one) because (handkerchief to brow!) I live my life in parentheses (gentle mopping) and so constantly lose the point of what it was i just started doing yesterday when i was looking for the scissors and then stubbed my toe and scared the children with my LOUD ejaculation (first rude-ish word of my blog! Proud beam!) and forgot what it was I was wanting to cut with the scissors……where was I?…

Blogging! Scary, scary blogging. Christ! (first BOTH rude AND holy word of my blog! Look mum! No hands!) It’s kind of scary to think that this frail wee wotzit’ll soon be sent off, floating through the ether to Blogland with no coat on, only a spotted knapsack on a stick and a note attached, saying “Why in hot, stinky hellfire did I think this might be a good idea?” My answer is, many reasons, which I’ll probably bang on about some other time. However, our Survey said “NNNN-NNNN! Likely wants attention”.

So then. First post. Crikey!

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