Monday, November 27

A thing that is papery and you have it with your dinner

15 days since my last blog.

If anyone except my family members have been reading this blog, I certainly don't think anyone will be now. I am bellowing into the void.

I need to keep a 'blog topics' notebook on me because I keep thinking of subjects to write on and then when I get to the site, have completely forgotten what they were.

My memory is not what it used to be. I worry that I'm getting alzheimers.

There's none in my family - I've checked that already, but the fact I seem to keep forgetting simple nouns implies all may not be as it should be. Words like 'bird-table' and 'napkin' completely elude me . I'm only 28; it can't be an typical getting older syndrome. It's surely not normal. Maybe I should start reading the dictionary again.

Ah ha - that was one of them. Favourite quote(s) and dictionaries.

I used to read the dictionary and a quote book daily during my sixth form years. registration every morning a friend and I would go through the quote book and dictionary in our form room, pick a quote we liked and introduce to it to our fellow class-mates. I 'd then commit the quote to memory and made an effort to use the word in that week's conversations to transfer it into my active vocabulary.

Apparently the active vocabulary count of the average person is a mere one thousand. Shakespeare's is/was said to be thirty thousand.

I'd put an exclamation mark after that fact if I agreed with exclamation marks but I don't so I won't.

I can only remember one quote now which is pretty abysmal. A good one though and I use it at all available opportunities whilst trying to make out that I have a store of further hundreds of them. Given my phobia of fame and celebrity and the fact I scathe on this topic regularly, it's come in handy. It's by John Updike (who by the way was great author of one-liners)

'Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face'

Remarkable foresight given that Michael Jackson wasn't even around at the time.

Anyway. Perhaps I should start re-reading my dictionary to help me remember simple nouns.

Alternatively I suppose there is the Chris Tarrant advertised aide de memoire that's on the TV at the moment. Some little gadget that looks like an ipod and helps develop memory. I'd tell you the name but I can't remember it.


Sunday, November 12

Food frights

I thought of writing a 'grumpy young woman' type blog this week but once I'd starting thinking it out, I realised I was running the risk of indulging in one of my never-ending narratives again. Writing this blog has really brought home that fact that I need to reevaluate my 'Why say one word when ten will do' philosophy.

So, I've delinenated my topic area and will instead focus on (one of) my favourite subjects.


I love food. I love food but often my enjoyment of food is spoilt by other people. Other people who don't understand how to handle food, how to respect food and how to interact with it. Despite whatever impression you may have formed of me from this website, I don't actually go around forcing my opinions on people and generally, unless I know someone very well, I don't go around giving a running commentary on what they are doing and inviting them to discuss what conclusions and issues their behaviour gives rise to. Whilst I might enjoy examining these things, other people - and god knows why - can take offence. So, in such circumstances, I fight the URGE. I smother my URGE and wait until I am in an appropriate forum to revisit the topic and release my thoughts.

This is one such forum. I can draw comfort when I find myself annoyed by a food faux-pas that, somewhere in cyberspace, I have noted my objections, I have delved into them and thus perhaps, my urge to purge will not be so strong.

There will be plenty more not featured here. I'll update you as and when I encounter them.

1. People who order melon as a starter.
2. Chips over which ketchup has been squeezed in a zigzag pattern
3. A hot drink with a meal
4. Melted butter running down someone's finger, especially if it carries on by dripping its way down to the palm area
5. The mispronunciation of 'Pinot Grigio'
6. Baked beans heated in a microwave
7. Jacket potatoes 'cooked' in a microwave
8. Anything in a microwave except for canned sweetcorn or peas
9. Hearing the mastication of food or swallowing of liquid
10. A used tea bag
11. Ordering garlic bread at a restaurant and being given a garlic baguette

12. Butter that has remanants of whatever the previous user was eating
13. People who won't split a bill but calculate what they ate and drank
14. People who order a cappuccino for their post-dinner coffee
15. Carrot cake
16. Tomato juice
17. Substituting real butter with plastic spread when cooking
18. Milk dripping off a spoon when eating cereal

No. I've not got OCD. Think of your own pet peeves. You will have them. You will have many more than you thought if indeed you have ever specifically thought about it before.

Tell me about them.

A problem shared is a problem halved.

Together we can get through it.

Together, we are stronger.

Friday, November 10

I'm in a meeeeting, darling

I've not been in a position to write anything since my last entry - which is a bit disappointing. I had hoped to be a more frequent visitor to this page but it isn't looking very promising. I seem to have become one of those people who talks about 'meeeeeeetings' and 'clients' and important 'proooojects' all the time.

I say things like,

'Sorry, I have to rush, I have a client meeeeeeeting'


'Sorry I'm late, the meeeeeeting went on for hours'

I feel vaguely ridiculous - like I'm playing at being a grown-up or something. I get this quite a lot which is confusing as I have been a grown up for quite a lot now and I have been going to such things as meeeeetings for many years.

I still feel like it's a completely anal thing to say and I sound like a pretensious prick though. It's so management and faceless.

The most ridiculous thing I have heard myself buying into is the use of a certain expression used at my work place. Instead of saying 'Are you free?' the utilised expression is, 'Do you have the capacity?'

The first time I heard it I sincerely thought it was 'Do you have any pasties?'.

Anyway now I walk around saying 'I have capacity at the moment - do you want me to help out on that project and attend the client meeting'.

What a tit.

Friday, November 3

Trying to avoid raising trouble

Now I'm not at this stage yet and don't intend on being so for some time but as it doesn't harm to be prepared, I've been mulling over what methodology I will evetually utilise when child rearing. as with everything I have to have a direction and a philosophy to guide me through so I have to get pinned which one I will be following.

I've narrowed it down to three types/theories/techniques - whatever you want to call them. I'll sketch them out for you and what I see as their respective strength and weaknesses and maybe I can get some feedback and input and then MAYBE I can finally make my mind up on which path I'm going to take.

OK. Starting chronologically, because that makes sense, is the traditional rearing technique, the 'Mary Poppins technique'. Think ITV's Supernanny and in extreme cases, Margaret Thatcher on a good day. This technique sees children as having and positively WANTING, strict boundaries in their life and has lots of parent-decreed rules that are not up for questioning and must be unequivocally obeyed. It supposes a hierarchy in the family with parents at the top and children at a lower level - perhaps the more liberal practitioners of this conservative technique will allow that, the older you get, the higher up on the scale you climb. Children, says the Mary Poppins technique, should not be treated like little adults, they are children and unlike adults, will actually harm themselves if left with too much freedom. They need boundaries so they can navigate their way more easily through the world in the difficult early years. It would be a household where bed-times were adhered to, kids would help with household chores, smacking might be used and kids would be punished for activities such as swearing, chewing gum, not eating their food, talking back etc. T.V is probably restricted and board-games and imaginary activities games encouraged.

Then there is the currently very much in vogue live and let live theory. I call this the hopeful gardener technique as essentially the adult steps back and allows the child to develop with as little interference as possible - and waits to see what happens. The adult has liberal views and probably believes the government should have as little influence in his life as possible. His viewpoint on child-rearing is a reflection of this distrust of state-power. He wants the child to find their own path, to learn from life itself through trial and error because this will make the child a stronger, more insightful, more independent and a well-rounded person. You can tell the child of a hopeful gardener if you see a child in Safeways wearing a princess outfit. That morning the child decided that being a princess was how he/she wished to express themselves. The liberal parent would of course encourage this and allow the child to become a princess so the child could learn from the experience. They might learn about society's response to non-conventional garb, or that it is better to be warm than pretty etc, or that they like dressing up and want to be an actress/transvestite. Children in the hopeful gardener house are on a parr with the adults, they are equal because all human beings ARE equal where you are an eight-year old human being or an eighty-year old. The child of a hopeful gardener is far more talkative and opinionated than the child of a Mary Poppin's practitioner as the hopeful gardener child is asked how they feel a lot and what they think and are allowed a voice in making decisions from what flavour crisps to buy to where they should go on holiday that year.

Finally, there is the nature's-guide technique. This is a newcomer to the child-rearing scene and is growing in popularity thanks to subscribers such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Britney Spears. It looks to the natural world for inspiration, and particularly to large mammals as our closet natural cousins and mimics the mother-child relationship especially found in nature. Nature's-guide practitioners believe that mankind has fallen from the path that we were born to and evolved from to our damage. It believes we have become distracted by technology, material objects and a confliction society. It looks for a return to a more simple, calm and comforting relationship between human being and believe that like in nature, children should be bonded physically to their mothers until the child chooses to leave or the mother's milk dries up. Nature's-guide parents strongly believe that a person can only succeed in creating strong and healthy friendships and relationships in adulthood if the first relationship they experience in life sets the standard as strong, secure and unshakeable. You can tell the child of a nature's-guide parent because they are often sat in the driver's seat of a 4x4 on a main road in their quest to maintain physical contact with the mother-person. Nature's-guide children also wear no nappies as these are the product of a modern, technological society creating obstacles between mankind and the earth. Apes have no need for nappies so nor do nature's-child, the ever present mother simply hovers the child over the nearest flower bed and returns nature to nature.

So which one do I choose? The Mary Poppins child is surely the child I would happily introduce my friends to, it is only the Mary Poppins child who could safely be taken to a restaurant, use a knife and fork and sit quietly, not disturbing other diners and not running around screaming and pulling faces. The hopeful gardener child, on the other hand, might have decided that that day they wanted to test missiling food onto the neighbouring table and often 'talking through' it and trying to persuade the gardener-child to stop, doesn't work. They are used to having their own way.

On the other hand I AM a liberal and I do not believe in authoritarian rule. Philosophically the Mary Poppins technique presents real issues but practically, so does the hopeful gardeners. So what about the nature's-guide? I do actually gravitate to this one. It would be arrogant I think of our race to assume that we have developed a better technique of child-rearing than centuries of evolution has spawned. It seems perfectly obvious and logical that the first relationship experienced by human sets the standard for their future life. Sociologist have demonstrated this time and again. But then, do I really want to have a baby dangling off my now-stretched tits for five years and do I really want to allow my home to become a happy shit-house?

Alternative and advice welcome.